I am here in Boston, the cradle of the revolution, and it is raining. The past two days have been sunny yet cold. My room is an an old brownstone in Brookline, a neighborhood to the West. I took the “cheap room” which means my bathroom is located outside my bedroom. Our house is old here and I am afraid that some sort of poltergeist may choose to cross my path as I make a midnight sojourn to relieve myself. No ghosts so far.
Boston is special, or at least, at one time Boston was special. It was “the” American town. New York was home to mercantile sissies. Virginia to gentlemen planters. But in Boston? Take your tea and drink it with salt water, limey bastards. The British are so gentle, so verbose, so refined, yet somehow having the gumption to stick a bayonet in the lot of them over some taxes seems bold. It seems obscene. It seems dirty. In a sense, it is American.
Sam Adams, the revolutionary, who had to borrow suit to attend the continental congress in 1776 in Philadelphia because he was such a rotten, filthy, dirrrty scoundrel — he’s an American. We are a people who take pride in being unrefined. A glorious thing to be. This is the land of “Girls Gone Wild” lest thee forget. And who are we? Heathen.
‘Tis this principle that makes Estonia a trusted party you see. Heathen. Unruly democrats. We feel you Estonia. We really do. People here know you too. They tell me you are a “happening place” — can you imaginme! Meie Eesti a “happening place”?
Yet who are the least faithful? The Western Europeans. For so long the prime example of how superior they were lay to their east (or in Finland, to their south). Yet suddenly the easterners are more interesting. Denmark? Zzzzzz. Estonia? A happening place.
But I am here all alone in my lonesome. My wife is in Tartu. My daughter is in New York with my folks. And I am alone in this clean, red brick city where they like baseball too much. I keep an eye out for someone to talk to, perhaps Matt Damon or Ben Affleck on the T. But, alas, no one here but me and some young Irish people in khaki pants.
America is such an interesting place. Here we are, arguing over Don Imus and his racist comments for disparaging the curly haired, tattooed ladies of the Rutgers basketball team as “nappy headed hoes.” Pick up the Wall Street Journal. The shamefulness persists. “Affluent liberals” are to be despised. “Wealthy conservatives” are to be respected. So if you get rich and pat yourself on the back, you’re a great person. If you mention the poor? You’re engaging in “class warfare” and, oh, by the way, you like the French, loser!
Meanwhile, somewhere between Endor and Tatooine, our troops are fighting in Iraq, or is it Eye-Rack, and Afghanistan. Oh well, whatever, nevermind. It’s times like these that make me think the British are lucky. They exist just because they exist. They have no mission other than to sup tea and make more comedy programs (and palatable pop records, I might add).
Us? We have some sort of idealistic mission statement. Which means that we are damned to make mistakes.