Somerville with Townie Tim: Not crossing the river

As your resident gentrifying townie, Tim, there’s something I consider one of the most important aspects of being a “SomerVillain”: the refusal to leave “the Ville” for any social reason. I like to call this my “Never Cross the River” rule.  Here in Somerville, there is a pride surrounding the social sustainability of our community. Sure, there is the occasional wedding or Sox game, but generally, I like to keep north of the Charles for all my fun-having needs.

When I moved to Boston, I had friends living all over the city. Every weekend there emerged this expectation that I’d be able to meet at various spots around town like some sort of nomadic socialite. Every trip outside Somerville involved at least three of the following: bus, train, ride-sharing services, parking and/or walking. Sometimes you had to stop and evaluate the entire experience of going out. Is the Lyft to this place on Comm Ave really worth the equivalent of two large pizzas? Is the time to get to this bar in Jamaica Plain worth three-quarters of an episode of Narcos? There are about 200 restaurants in Somerville, and not one of them is as good as some random place my friends want to meet?

I would not be giving you this advice if I had not considered it thoroughly. Cost and time are one thing. Diverse and exciting experiences are another. We should be pretty careful before we institute a rule that could limit our social options. If I am going to suggest that you take my advice and refuse to leave Somerville for a night in Boston, I should be honest about what you are potentially missing. In truth, it’s absolutely nothing. I’ve been all over town and except for the aforementioned special occasion, there is really no reason to find yourself south of the Charles River. Friends choose places to meet for arbitrary reasons. Bars and clubs attract people through similar methods. Your ability to discern between good and bad food is significantly worse than you think.

Now that we have decided that staying in Somerville is the best option, where does that leave your friends? I’m glad you asked. You are going to have to make some new friends, and those friends are going to live in Somerville. You should treat your old friends the same way I treat my friends in Atlanta: see them sparingly and communicate at a distance. Last Labor Day, my Southie friends and I went on a great hike in Burlington. I expect it will also be great when I see them again next Labor Day. I’m not saying that you drop off the map — just to pull back the expectations. Take it from your friend Townie Tim: Once you institute the “Never Cross the River” rule, you’ll be happier, richer and have far more time on your hands.


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