Tuesday, October 24, 2006

TOUR DIARY: BOSTON

There's a new place in my heart and it's squishy and it's where Boston will now live. I love Boston. I flew in from Seattle, taking the full course of the flight to, I believe, successfully sell my seatmates on the book. Then, after some wandering around chaotic and LaGuardia-esque Logan Airport, I got a cab ride to the Bostonian Hotel from Ben Affleck's character in Good Will Hunting.

On the advice of a friend, I wandered that evening around the North End, seeing the Old North Church (Paul Revere's ride) and a bunch of places where Ben Franklin allegedly did things. Next morning was an hour on the phone and the air with Wisconsin Public Radio followed by bookstore drop-ins. And all the stores I went to, turns out, were quite well stocked with Conservatize Me. I mean, yes the streets don't follow any discernible grid or really any geometric construct. But, I don't know, it really feels like you're somewhere.

I got on the T train, found out I was going the wrong way, got on a different one, and was in Cambridge before I knew it. Cambridge! Where Harvard is! I know! I was stunned and thrilled to find my book in the Harvard Bookstore and something called the Coop, which is pronounced like a place you keep chickens and not a hippy grain sharing system. At 3:13 I decided to get back to the hotel and get some relaxing in before the night's reading. I had hoped to be back at the Faneuil Hall hotel by 4:30 or 5. But it turns out Boston is not like Seattle where you'll be on buses all day long. I was relaxing by 3:40. Zoom zoom.

The reading at Boston University's bookstore (run by Barnes & Noble) was a good time. As it often seems to be, it was a mix of politically aware baby boomers, young hipster McSweeney's fans, and two to three elderly people. I don't know why I tend to attract this crowd but the patter repeats itself in nearly every city. That's why it's a pattern, I guess. Making matters cooler still was that people bought books. Even the hipsters! I've noticed that in some cities, folks will come up to me after and say "It sounds like a great book! I can't wait to check it out from the library!" And, you know, uh, that's fine, I guess. And not everyone can or even wants to buy the book. But I can see now why the righty books sell better. Because that audience doesn't work in social services. They work in the for-profit or even the for-a-lot-of-profit sectors. They buy the book.

On to DC today where I'm hoping to drop in for a visit at NPR Headquarters. I wanted to visit there when I was researching the book but The Experiment was taking place and I would not allow myself to do so. So I just stood outside humming the All Things Considered theme song, like Spinal Tap singing Heartbreak Hotel at Graceland.


1 comment:

pseyler said...

Ah, you do make me smile! I am glad you love Boston so very much. I was young and ignorant when I visited and went to Cheers and stupid things like that. I hope to return and to redeem myself. Safe and happy travels to you....