East Coast: Rat race redux (how I survived Boston)

I spent last week in Boston for work. I haven’t been back here in almost a year, and the culture shock is pretty staggering. The energy around the office is really wild. Just a few hours in there and we get all sorts of interesting ideas going, new projects, issues settled. Working remote is convenient, environmentally friendly and relaxing, but lacks intensity.

I am seeing a trend that I don’t like very much — I keep hearing about people working late into the night. I check and answer the occasional TV email, but I’m seeing more and more people pushing work into the evening hours and that is a disturbing trend. It’s the kind of thing you’d expect at a NYC company, entry level employees and middle managers milling around the office in some kind of staring contest. Is there really that much work to do? Unless you are actually saving the world, close that damn laptop, go talk to your spouse or your cat, and make yourself a meal for godsake.

I had a lot of time on the plane and train coming out here to think, mostly about the time I spent here. I started a project, putting together the last four years — events, milestones, friends that I made on the East Coast. I was hoping to publish it on the site, but a lot of it could come back to bite me later — I was a lot wilder than I remember being.

In researching my past, I dug up this piece of doggerel that sums up the disconnection I felt living on the East Coast:

I just pissed in a toilet flying 30,000 feet over the world. I do this every week. It is constant and real to expect this experience. We are irrational gods. We create a world around us, richer, newer, and more real than the environment we are a part of.

It’s a desperate, raining night in Newark. The fluorescent lights, steel girders seem poetic and hopelessly lonely. There’s a constant humming, strange people passing me crying, sameness and otherness. We’re isolated here. Waiting for a train, watching the minutes tick off a screen. Disappointed people. I missed my train by seconds.

I want to work on a fishing boat, to hone in on physical discomfort, the body’s struggle against the elements and the limits of fatigue. I want coffee to taste better, sex to be sweeter and more urgent, and people happy to see me every time I set foot on land.

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About mstansberry

Matt Stansberry currently lives in Eugene, Oregon with his wife and son.
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2 Responses to East Coast: Rat race redux (how I survived Boston)

  1. Alex says:

    We should have done more some fishing.

    Next time.

    A recent survey says that Americans are increasingly giving up lots of the sweet stuff — cooking, sex, friends, exercise — for the Net.

    Some of it is work. Lots of it isn’t. No matter what, I think bucking that staring contest is crucial to being happy and fulfilled.

    That and landing some trout. I can’t wait to jump into the same swimming hole I did as a toddler this weekend and see if I can tempt an old man bass to hit my jig.

    Digitivity denizenship has its limits.

  2. manofwar says:

    Can I publish some of your work yet?
    Jesus.

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