COLUMN: Taking the Chance to Turn Left
The Heart of the City
Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 23:10
Some runners are beautiful to watch. They lope gracefully, arms propelling them forward as if they are simply gliding over the pavement.
I am not one of these runners. My normal porcelain complexion turns the color of a stop sign, and I breath like a thoroughbred who has just run the Kentucky Derby, all while fighting to keep my arms from flopping in a way that resembles a T-Rex.
In the past few weeks, my runs have been more difficult than normal. Usually, I find my runs to be meditative at best and, at worst, I at least feel like I get a satisfying workout. But lately, I have gained nothing but frustration and my strange stop sign/Thoroughbred/T-Rex side effects.
On Friday, I laced up my sneakers with dread. I was exhausted from a long week of midterms and knew I was in for another battle around the Res. As I came out from behind Walsh something came over me and I decided to do something I had never done before.
I turned left.
Never in my time at BC have I gone the opposite direction around the Res. I know my route like the back of my hand, including the points where it gets difficult. Turning left made all the difference—my usual laps were flipped upside down and I finished my run with ease.
Inspired by this change in my workout, when I went to run on Monday, instead of taking my normal right out of campus to my path around the Reservoir, I turned left again—this time down Comm. Ave into the city.
There is a sense of productivity that comes with running from BC to Boston. You see so many characters and establishments that belong to Boston and are all just a few miles outside of our bubble.
That being said, the average BC student probably does not get into Boston enough (not a revolutionary comment in a Metro section, I know). Even those who do go in frequently tend to hit the same predictable spots—Newbury St., Fenway, Faneuil Hall, and the North End, to name just a few.
We like predictability and routines. I ran around the same reservoir, in the same direction for over a year now, and never once considered the difference a change in direction or a change of routes could make.
Next time you go into the city, turn left.
I’m not asking you to literally become an ambi-turner (I know, you’ve been waiting for me to make a Zoolander reference since you read the headline). Rather, I encourage you to try the unexpected places.
Try eating out in the South End instead of the North End or going to the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum instead of the MFA. Just the other weekend, instead of getting my Mexican food fix from El Pelon, I decided to explore some of my personal uncharted Boston territory—East Boston.
Angela’s Cafe was a little hole in the wall that served up an authenticity almost as delicious as the traditional food of Oaxaca itself. I was reminded that it’s the people who make the city so interesting.
We often lose this by going to the commercialized or overcrowded areas that have become hallmarks of Boston. Little changes to the normal BC student’s repertoire of “Boston hot spots” can completely change your perspective on the city.
As BC students we need to continue to forge the link between our school and the city our name comes from.
A simple run reminded me how close we actually are. Boston is ours to explore, but even a city can become small if you are constantly returning to the same expected places.
Try turning left, it could make all the difference.