People of Boston: Part 4

Last Tuesday I met a guy in Copley with whom I spent far too much time talking about Russia. He was from Russia and had immigrated to the US in 1988. He told me the great thing about Moscow is that it’s such an enormous city (population of nearly 12 million) from which one can easily escape into nature. He said that if I ever find myself in Moscow and take a tour (I don’t remember the specifics) I should ask about the china set that a certain Queen destroyed for some reason. Also about the disproportionate number of Velasquez paintings there. The next person I talked to was a kid who spends most of his time volunteering for democratic politicians. He was extremely arrogant, but not terrible to talk to. He went on about different local elections in Massachusetts. He was carrying a large backpack. I don’t know why.

On Sunday afternoon I met a guy who began telling me his life story. He’s retired now, but he said he used to be the chief economic adviser to the president of Pakistan, after which he went to Ghana, then Thailand, then Indonesia. He showed me an old photograph he keeps in his wallet. It was a man and a woman standing in front of the Acropolis. He asked me: “Do you recognize anyone in the photo?” I responded: “No, should I?” “If you know anything about Italian actresses you should.” Apparently it was his wife, who has since died of cancer. He told me her name was Sofia. “Do you know what Sofia means?” “No” “It means wisdom…She saved my life twice.” So then he went into a long story about his medical problems which lasted a while. I was fascinated by the travel and economic aspect of it, not so much by the names of all the organs he has had removed. Apparently this is what this man does these days; walk around Cambridge and talk to young people. He spent 30 years working in a local university, but not as a professor. And now he wanders…

Later that day I heard a loud noise in Harvard Square. It had come from the other side of a large newsstand, and heard a man screaming in pain. I wasn’t able to take a closer look until about an hour later where I found out that a taxi had driven into the side of the newsstand. Apparently there had been two injuries, and by the time I got there it had settled down to pure cleanup. During this scene I ran into that democrat kid from before. He explained to me what was going on, though he himself had only come down after the crash. He said some more things about politics that I don’t remember. I soon walked away to the train so I could get home. There were about 100 people standing there when I left, as I descended the escalator (‘descender’?) into the cacaphony of electronic noises, footsteps, and musicians.

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