Dear New England Part II

Erika Ayn Finch
Jun 2, 2018 · 5 min read
Photo by Erika Ayn Finch

Hey there, Boston. It’s me again. I have a few more Cali-girl observations for you…

Let’s begin with stripes. Thank you so much for recognizing the awesomeness that is stripes. Striped shirts and striped dresses and striped pants and striped stripes. You know what it makes me want to do? Buy more stripes. I’m glad you recognize that they are a worthy addiction.

But the “facility fee” at the TD Garden? Get real. How do you justify two $15 behind-the-stage Bon Jovi tickets for a total $75 after your fees? Or how about two $325 U2 tickets for $775? You should be ashamed. You make Ticketbastard’s fees look reasonable. Thanks for making me reconsider all of my summer concert plans. Jerk.

While I’m bitching, let’s talk about restaurant seating. What in the hell is up with the backless stool trend? If I’m dropping dough on brunch (Boston’s favorite excuse to day drink), is it too much to ask to be comfortable while doing it? Is this because you want to turn over tables quickly, because if so, you’re succeeding. I learned from watching more seasoned Boston patrons that I’m supposed to sit on top of my jacket (weird), but what about my handbag? Where does it go? I don’t care how cool those rustic-chic, gas-pipe stools look, I’m going to be pissed if I have to put my bag on the floor. Take note.

I’m still enthralled with your sunsets. And I recently learned that the cannon boom we hear every night doesn’t come from the Coast Guard like I originally thought. It comes from the USS Constitution. Yep, the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel that is still afloat announces sunset every day by firing a cannon. When we first moved here, that boom came not long after 5 p.m., and we heard it through closed windows. These days, we don’t hear it until 8:15ish, and our windows are wide open. What a way to mark the passage of time.

Speaking of the USS Constitution, there was the day that I was on the phone, interviewing some Sedona New Age hippie about the life-altering effects of mainlining organic, gluten-free, fair-trade, free-range cacao and the Connie (as we locals call her) suddenly appeared outside my office window, giant American flag flapping behind her stern. My line of questioning missed a beat. “Sorry Willy Wonka, but a warship from 1797 is outside my window, firing her cannons in the harbor. Pardon me while I lose my shit 2,600 miles away from you. Now, what were you saying?”

Thank you, New England, for turning me into a history nerd.

Thank you for open-air markets that sell everything from cheap, enormous, juicy strawberries to homemade ice cream sandwiches to pop-up beer gardens to exhibits on the future of sustainable housing.

Kudos for the coolest public art I’ve ever seen. I’m talking about those vintage neon signs placed along Atlantic Avenue for the summer. I heart those.

Thank you for reminding me that diversity is beautiful. I’ve heard Boston influencers complain that the city isn’t doing enough to encourage diversity. But I took a class last week, and the five of us represented Ghana, Kenya, New Zealand, Connecticut and California. If you don’t think that’s diverse, go live in northern Arizona for a few years. It’ll change your mind.

And hooray for parks seemingly everywhere. Parks filled with live music and cool green grass and children squealing on swing sets and lovers napping under trees and squirrels that are too brazen for their own good. Sitting on a park bench and practicing my observation skills while listening to music on my iPod (yes, I still have an iPod — don’t give me that astonished look on the subway) is a new favorite pastime.

By the way, that iPod was my best friend in California and Arizona. In Boston, it’s an appendage. Your noise was quaint in the beginning; it made me feel like I was in an episode of Sex in the City or Seinfeld. Now, it makes me feel like I could climb out of my skull. You never shut up, Boston. For the millionth time in my life, sweet music whispered in my ear has saved the day.

And in those parks, on the sidewalks, in the elevator of my building and everywhere in between are French bulldogs. There are more French bulldogs than boat shoes in Boston — it’s like a cult. Frenchie parents spot one another across the park and are instantly fast friends.

I have to admit, I want in.

My other newest obsession: seltzer. New England treats seltzer the same way it treats craft beer, with reverence and passion bordering on fanaticism. Ingredients and brands are hotly debated. There are release parties for new flavors and limited editions sell out quickly. I’m personally a Spindrift girl, but I’ll listen to your argument for Polar.

When I last wrote, I told you that I loved your weather. I still love it, but I’ve decided it has some real bipolar tendencies. One day it’s 80 degrees and 80 percent humidity. The next day, it’s 55 degrees and raining. The following day, 80 degrees with dress-defying winds. This is freakish for someone who is used to looking at a June seven-day forecast that ranges from 97 to 98 degrees all seven days.

The frequent weather alerts are highly entertaining, too. In Sedona, we received “fire weather” alerts. In the past three months in Boston, there have been alerts for snow, wind, blizzards, rain, high tide, flooding, thunderstorms, fog and humidity.

One day, the forecast was “raw.” What kind of shoes do I wear for “raw,” Boston??

When I’d meet East Coasters who proclaimed that there was no such thing as “weather” in the West (usually accompanied by a superior sniff), I thought they were just being bitches. Now I get it. And I like it. The weather keeps me on my toes. My skin loves the humidity, too. My hair thinks it’s a shit show. (I miss my bangs.)

Dear New England. It feels like you could easily be my people.

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Erika Ayn Finch

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Boston based writer and editor, owner of, crazy cat lady, world traveler, foodie, francophile, U2 fanatic and all-around smartass.


Stories and writing that resonate - with an emphasis on fine words & fun writers.