In the past few months, communication with each other has been sparse and limited to being mostly textual: an email to an advisor, letting them know how we’re doing now that the semester is over, a text message sent to a relative wishing them a happy birthday! or a congrats on graduating!, a funny tweet sent to a friend, or a tag on MIT Confessions. On occasion, I’ve used Zoom or FaceTime to get a sense of realness in my interactions, but those are exhausting and more rare now that classes are over. Here in Cambridge, where masks are now required outside, casual interactions with strangers are at an all time low of impersonal. Gone are the days of awkward small talk over the counter at Target, or small smiles given to the stranger who brushes by you on the sidewalk.
In these times, the residents and business owners of a colloquial name for the Cambridge-Somerville area have taken to signage, posting on their windows and doors to let the outside world know that hey, we’re still here, even if we’re trapped inside. This ranges from things like thank you messages:
Little friends greeting pedestrians:
Messages of hope:
Announcements for the world to see:
And people exercising their right to be creative and silly:
I’m in the middle of packing my life up, ready to ship myself back to New York, but I still feel pretty connected to Cambridge. This has been my home for the past five years now, and it’s finally settling in that I don’t even know when I’ll come back. It all feels so up in the air. I’ll miss the broken, uneven sidewalks that switch from brick to concrete in one block and the plethora of joggers at 5:30 PM. I’ll miss my porch even though it’s falling apart. I’ll miss these little signs I see on my walks or runs, knowing that someone’s out there, trying to give us all a little bit of joy or laughter. I don’t know if I’ll find the same thing in my old neighborhood, but I hope I do.
- a colloquial name for the Cambridge-Somerville area back to text ↑