Monday, June 20, 2005


I fell in love with Cambridge again Saturday afternoon. This was the scene:

In the pit by the main entrance to the Harvard Square T stop, several Muslim teens are rapping serially, very serious, some quite good. (The best, for whatever reason and whatever it means, are those in modern garb, not traditional Islamic gear.) The topic is the world as seen from the perspective of urban youth and urban youth as perceived by the world. They are angry but passionate.

After a while, I must go. On my way around to the T entrance, I pass by someone in a bee costume. His back is to me, wings folded behind his yellow and black belly, as he speaks with a friend.

The killer conversationalist bee behind me, I’m about to make the tight U-turn into the T when I notice that the guy in front of me, his arms at right angles to his lean, tall body, is holding a sword. Three other youngish people behind him are holding props as well, suggesting they are on their way to a rehearsal of “A Man for All Seasons,” or perhaps a bootleg “Spamalot.” The guy with the sword looks impudent and funny, as sharp as his sword. But he is bent forward at the waist, appreciating the scents being hawked by a middle-aged Avon saleswoman.

This overlapping life is pleasant, and I leave blissed-out, feeling — despite the aggrieved rhymes of the Muslim kids — as though everything in this small part of the world is at peace, or at least on the right path, or at least fighting the good fight of understanding and civility.

There are other takes on Cambridge, but for some reason I tend to see the good.


wrecking_ball said...

The only thing missing from this scene of urban utopia is a musical number. Perhaps a refiguring of "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" in which the dime in question is needed by our protagonist to fight the rising costs of lunchtime inflation. Will the Bee help him out? Or will he be obliged to breakdance in the Pit for spare change?

Indri said...

A-ha, she mentioned breakdancing. Does she know?

Scape7 said...

I'm not even sure I know.

Indri said...

I heard the story about your best man speech.

Scape7 said...

My best man speech? It barely counted as a speech, for which I've already apologized to Mike. Nearly all I remember about it is its brevity, but it was surely too short to include any references to breakdancing.

Indri said...

Mmmm. As I understand it, breakdancing was about all it covered.

Forget I said anything. My ponytail's too tight and it's making my head hurt.

Scape7 said...

I hope the ponytail got loosened before any permanent damage was done. The speech may well have mentioned breakdancing or, for all I know, fixated on it. But you may also be confusing my best man speech with the film "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo" (1984), something I do all the time.