Following the yuppie path

It’s funny (or maybe it isn’t) but although I spoke about it ad nauseam while I was still there, I find myself less willing to write about the insane part of my stay in Mass. I am going to let it go for now, and write about what I want to write about.

When I was looking for a new place, things looked, well, bleak. I needed to move soon, but not too soon (I was sure the currents weren’t going to refund me a dime, and I was paid up till the middle of November so I wanted to leave but hated to lose the money), I knew my foreclosure was finding it’s way to my credit report, I needed to pay as little as possible without getting so far out that transportation costs were going to make up the difference AND I was trying to rent with this giant, nutty dog. Ok, well I don’t think of him as giant, but when compared to the 35 lbs limit I kept running in to at apartment complexes, well, he seems giant. Oh, and trying to do all this while working.

Also, it seemed like every time I had a lead on a place, it was rented before I could get to it. I almost rented from a guy who thought God wanted him to rent to me (this will tell you just how desperate I was feeling).

Finally I spoke to someone who had a place and who’s question about the dog was merely, “Do you have apartment insurance?” She said as long as I had it, we were good. She didn’t even care about breed or weight (although to tell the truth I had taken to saying he was a Lab Shepherd mix – I know, scandalous, right?). Of course, the day I was supposed to go look at it I got stuck at work, so I called her back the next day and she told me it was gone, but she had one in Lowell (which is even better for me). I asked when I could come meet her and she said later that day. My coworker, L, came along to ask lawyerly questions. My mindset, was, essentially, if I’m not terrified of the place, I want to sign something immediately.

We got there before she did, but there was a maintenance guy in the apartment who showed us around. The carpet in the bedroom was a very ugly, dark brown shag and the kitchen only had 3 little cabinets, but hey! there was a bathroom all for me! And closets! And also a nice little yard for when I don’t have time for a walk. It was very close to work, too. So, the very friendly guy is really selling the place, telling me how great it is, answering K’s lawyerly questions.

One of the first things I do when I move to a new place is map out my running route. When I asked him about running in the area, he was very enthusiastic about the nice running path along the river. Jack said, “It’s a nice path, you know, down there where they built all those new fancy condos.” I admit that I wasn’t really listening all that closely as he told me this, like I said, they had me at the word “available.” But his words came back to me tonight.

Bodhi and I have been out nearly every night since we got here 10 days ago. When I map out a new route, I sometimes drive it or part of it but I also like to just walk it out, kind of pick a direction and widen my circle on each trip. I did look at google maps before heading out the first day and I kind of thought I knew where he was talking about. We walked toward the river and found a nice path, but it dead ended at a major road.

Tonight I checked google maps yet again and realized that when I thought we were walking by the river we were only going by a canal. We needed to go much further, it seemed. I liked the way the sidewalk looked in the picture though, so I decided we’d try again tonight. It’s amazing how much energy a couple of days off work will give you!

For the first time we walked on the UMass Lowell campus, briefly flanked by a little gang of skateboarders, about 6 gangly guys skating down the middle of the road. This was extremely freaky for Bodhi, who kept running in to my legs and hitting my hand with his head as he watched them  frantically. I was glad when the got off the road to take over the top floor of a parking ramp. We were walking along at a good clip when suddenly the sidewalk…just…disappeared. I don’t mean at the end of a street or at an intersection, but just midway down a block it stopped and suddenly we were walking in gravel. Uh..ok. It was dark, there, too, and a tiny bit spooky, but not for very long.

Next we came up to this tall building…it wasn’t a very nice looking building, but there was something about it… Then I got it. This was one of “those fancy condos” made from old warehouses or mills or something.

1910 - before the fancy condos

We walked past one building then I saw that between the buildings was something that looked like a park. We headed through the dark alley (no, not like scary dark – just slightly dark) and came out into a very nice looking park. There were benches, fences and patterned bricks for the sidewalk. As I was looking around to see if the fence went all the way around, I saw a person off to the right. That was when I realized that in front of me, between the trees, was the Merrimac. It’s a decent sized river at that point and when we got to the rail I didn’t care any more if there was no way out. It was totally worth it to look out at that wide span of fast moving water.

I took this the next day

Luckily, that was not the end of the trail. The trail went off for some distance, river to the left and benches and streetlights to the right. Not like, tall vapor lights, but old fashioned looking street lamps. As we continued the greenery to on the side of the path became a bit more unruly, but over all, it was well maintained. It snowed here last Saturday and though there were patches of snow on all the other sidewalks we had been down, there were none at all here, along the river. There were also very few people, that first guy, looking out over the river and a couple of skateboarders.

On our way back, I noticed the occasional light on in the apartments towering on our left. I was thinking about the people in those condos. I bet that most of them either live lives that are too busy for working out or that when they do they go to The Club or Mill City Fitness a few blocks away so they can work out with their iPads and phones connected to the wifi (no judgement here, of course).

I was distracted a moment texting my girl on the walk back and so missed turning on the path that we came down originally (see, texting while navigating, baaaaad) and so we walked a little further – how lost could I get? The river was directly to my right, at worst we might have to backtrack a short distance. We came to an even bigger park-like area, more benches, more lights, more decorative bricks. And as we wound our way out of this area we came up and out to a parking lot – and right to the place where the sidewalk ended before. Suddenly it was all clear to me. The side walk only ended if you kept going straight. If I had turned to my left – if I lived in one of “those fancy condos” I would have found a lovely sidewalk to take me right down to the river.

Said sidewalk

As I was doing my google maps research I realized that the area I am living in now is the one area that the first cab driver I met told me not to live in – the Acre. It comes complete with it’s own Coalition for A Better Acre. I totally get now what Jack was telling me about the nice path made for the fancy condos. Something tells me it will be well plowed into the winter. And I will totally be taking advantage of that nice path for running until the weather stops me. Not like their going to ask me for my yuppie badge, right?

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