In response to Blog 18: Feelings this holiday...
I am isolated this Christmas. Last year, I moved from a modest but spacious family home on two lovingly landscaped acres in the Chicago suburbs to a 450 sq ft studio apartment in the Boston Navy Yard, every day walking three miles to and from a stressful job in Cambridge.
The apartment windows overlook an alley—at 10:15 in the morning a middle-aged, otherwise fit and well-dressed man steps into the alley and align himself against the wall. Methodically, he places a rubber glove on his right hand, pulls a package of Marlboro cigarettes out of this pocket, removes a smoke and lights up using his gloved-hand only to facilitate his addiction. When he is finished drawing its last embers, he drops it onto the uneven brick pavement, maybe into the pool of water under the breached gutter main, and just as efficiently removes and tucks away his glove and disappears around the corner with determined footing.
I did not bring my car. On workdays, my commute takes me by the USS Constitution, the locks by North Station, and the Massachusetts State House where two years ago I testified before the Senate in the aftermath of the national fungal meningitis outbreak that left nearly 100 dead and thousands exposed to contaminated drugs.