Charlie and Me on the Streets of Boston

October 15, 2014

Prompt: Tell me about a mistake you made that ultimately opened a new door.

I love Boston! It’s such a great city, and I lived there some years ago, when I was single, taking graduate courses part-time. Driving around on a crisp Saturday afternoon, I headed through Watertown on my way back to Waltham, where I shared an apartment with another teacher. The only obstacle was the rotary.

There‘s something about a rotary that scares me…. As long as you pay attention, you can get through without getting lost or trapped. I was feeling confident, and I swept around the circle, but  couldn’t find the turnoff to Watertown, which was less than a mile from where we lived. I went around several times, staying  pretty calm…until I started thinking about Charlie.

The Kingston Trio had a great hit, “Charlie on the MTA” (Metropolitan Transit Authority) in which he boarded the streetcar for work, but couldn’t get off because he didn’t have the nickel to pay for the ride. His wife would come everyday and toss him a sandwich through the open window, but he was stuck. The cheerful refrain went something like this, “Oh, he may never return, oh, he’ll never return, and his fate is still unlearned. He may ride forever ‘neath the streets of Boston; he’s the man who never returned.”

I still love that song. I was never afraid of the rotary after that! I wish I could say that I was ready then to take up skydiving, but no, I rejoiced in the small victory.

So anxiety and uncontrolled laughter mixed together, and I relaxed, took the correct off lane, and arrived home safe and sound.

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