A study in making the big city small, as illustrated by my experience in three neighborhoods:
When I lived in Boston’s worst neighborhood (disclaimer: fact might be unproven), I used to see a few people a few times over. There was that guy who sat on his cement porch playing guitar while his leashed-cat prowled. Also, a woman with long, red ringlets -the most amazing hair! Sometimes, as I keyed into my apartment building, I’d spot her walking down the hill towards Brighton Ave., locks carefully held in place by a headband/earmuffs. Once in a while, I’d see her on the B Line. I wondered where she lived.
Not So Big
In the Savin Hill neighborhood of Dorchester, neighbors say hello. It took me some time to get used to this, as it NEVER happened in Allston. One night, I saw a young man steal a Pride flag from the porch of one of my neighbors. I stared, not exactly sure what I was seeing as he leaped past me, holding the flag high, streaming, as he raced down the street. Additionally, at the Savin Hill T stop, I developed a family-crush on a couple and their young son, combinations of which I’d see on the Red Line in the mornings. Sometimes we smiled at one another.
Kind of Tiny
My friends might be tired of hearing me say it, but rarely a day goes by where, commuting from JP to Cambridge, I don’t bump into a friend, a friendly acquaintance, or my own partner walking past when I least expect him. I see community members from JP and Cambridge out of context -in Boston and Somerville- and yet I still recognize them (which is an impressive feat for me, since I tend to forget faces.)