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My lovely, ugly neighborhood

I have a love-hate relationship with our neighborhood. I adore our house, and (most of ) our neighbors. I love that there is such cultural and racial diversity. I like that there’s a playground just a couple of blocks away, and even, inexplicably, enjoy the fact that within several blocks of our house on either side are giant, constantly-used softball and baseball fields, whose floodlights light up the sky most nights seven months out of the year.

I like that it’s only a five minute walk to my favorite coffee shop, and another ten minutes from there to a T stop. It takes ten minutes flat to drive into downtown Boston when there’s no traffic, and the restaurants and bars and bookstores of Cambridge are minutes away. Not that we get out to them that often…. Still, I like feeling like we’re close to the action.

But I don’t like the fact that there is litter — mostly scratch tickets, fast food containers and cigarette butts — blown up against almost every chain link fence. And I don’t like that there are so many chain link fences. I hate that there aren’t more trees. And I hate that we have to compete with our neighbors for parking spaces on one side of the street when it snows. (Two cars + no driveway = suck city.) I hate that every once in a while drunks from the bar up the hill stagger down into our neighborhood to be loud and, perchance, to puke.

We hope to move at some point within the next few years to someplace a little greener, with better schools. Maybe in a year, maybe two or three. The T is eventually going to be extended to our neighborhood, which could give our property value a nice bump. We’ll see. In the meantime, it’s not such a bad place to live. Even if it’s not always the most aesthetically pleasing.

Here are a bunch of pictures I took (on a crappy little camera) within a two block radius of our house the other day, as spring was busting out all over. They capture, I think, some of the essence of our little corner of the greater Boston area.

In front of our house.

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Read about my forthcoming novel, EDEN LAKE.

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