Friday, August 07, 2009

It’s Like Having a Giant Salty Swimming Pool

At first I was resistant to living in Rhode Island. I am a Connecticut native, but I went to college here in Rhode Island. When I was graduating, I was hell-bent on moving to Boston. The Boston area was my be-all-and-end-all at the time. Three months or so after graduating I woke on the floor of my very own apartment in Melrose, Massachusetts—just north of Boston. It was 1996, and I landed a job with a hot software company on the edge of the big boom that made the Boston area thrive. People my age were starting companies, getting truckloads of money from venture capitalists, and Internet incubators were fostering young companies trying to go public and make gobs of money.

That morning when I woke up I felt like a grown up. Well, almost. I was a grown up whose furniture was in a garage in Connecticut whose brother would deliver it in a few days. I was a grown up with nothing to eat in the fridge for breakfast, and walked to the bakery on the other side of the commuter rail tracks for a muffin and a juice. But I had my very own place, an electric bill in my very own name, a wacky landlord and a bitchen pad.

Eventually I hopped from that pad to another. Then I hopped from the job at the software company to one at a very-big-deal-Internet-incubator that was all the rage in 1998. And then I fell in love. At first I refused to admit I was in love, but I was smitten in a way I’d never been before. We got a place in the city, in Brighton to be exact, and I was thrilled to live there. My love had started a business in Providence, Rhode Island and commuted more than an hour each way to get to work on time. He worked late. He worked hard. I worked north of the city in Andover, MA, so Brighton was really the ideal location for us to live until we had to make some decisions about our future.

Jobs came and went. We moved out of the city to a more affordable and more sensible place just south of Boston in Norwood, MA. I took at job with an online technology magazine located in the city, while Todd still commuted to Providence. His commute was shorter, but still a pain in the ass. I took the train to work where I read, gossiped with my cousin, worked on my Masters degree and knitted on the way to and from work.

Then in 2001 the world fell apart. Approximately five minutes after the planes hit the towers and the Pentagon, I was “made redundant” as the British would say. Todd had said to me “Hey, how about you find a job in Rhode Island? I really really need to be closer to my office. We can buy a house, and it will be a lot cheaper in Rhode Island than in the Boston suburbs anyway.”

He was right. Everything he said made perfect sense. But I still cringed a bit about the thought of living in Rhode Island. After all, the letter “R” does not exist in Rhode Island. Well, it’s become reincarnated in places other than where it belongs, like on the end of words like “idea.” For example, “I have an idee-er, let’s take Andree-er’s cah.” For those of you who do not speak Rhode Island, I’ve just said “I have an idea, let’s take Andrea’s car.” Boston was still the be all end all to me. The tall buildings. The T. The lights over Fenway Stadium (even though I am not a baseball fan, it’s still cool to see) and the variety of night life, concerts, and places to go.

Now I look at my life and wonder why the hell I haven’t moved to Rhode Island sooner. I love it here. I love the proximity to the ocean. I love that I can take my boat and anchor it anywhere in Narragansett Bay and go for a swim on a hot day--which is exactly what we did on Wednesday night.

I told you the other day that we’ve bought a power boat that we can scuba dive off of. This opens up a whole other part of diving in Rhode Island that was previously a pain in the butt to get to. It has a 115 horse motor that will get us to sites fast, rather than puttering along on a heavy sailboat that goes 7 miles per hour if we’re lucky. (Don’t get me wrong, I love Sabine’s slowness! But she’s hard to dive off of.)

On Wednesday night after work Todd and I dropped the “Under Achiever” into the water at the town dock just down the road from where I work. We motored out of Greenwich Bay and into the main part of Narragansett Bay. And we did it quickly. In minutes we were parked near Hope Island in the middle of the Bay. We changed into our bathing suits and dove into the ocean off the side of the boat.

We splashed and swam, then climbed back into the boat. Todd gunned the engine, and the wind dried us. We pulled the boat onto the trailer and headed to a dinner out before 8:00.

We have a gigantic swimming pool at our disposal in the Bay. We don’t have to skim the leaves off the top of it with that screen-on-a-stick thing, and we don’t have to sprinkle scoops of chlorine into it every night like my Dad did to our pool in Connecticut. We don’t have to ask the neighbors if we can come over and use it. All we have to do is jump in.

And now I cannot imagine living anywhere else.

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Anonymous crisitunity said...

Great post. I'm so glad you found the right place to live for you. Seems possible to me that you might not have enjoyed RI to its fullest if you'd moved there earlier...sometimes you gotta get the city out of your system before you can want to be elsewhere.

August 7, 2009 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger BJ Knapp said...

You're probably right, Dr. Crisitunity. I wasn't ready then.

Though RI still makes me cringe a bit. For example, we're the only state that still celebrates Victory Over Japan Day. Which is today. Most everyone has the day off today. Except for me.

August 10, 2009 at 3:51 PM  

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