Techno-serf #3 lies on a potholed street in the industrial park. No heartbeat, no bleeding.
One night in 1987, I was driving from Cambridge into Somerville, at least I was trying to. To my right, in the passenger seat, was the cold, withholding, insecure person – my mirror image, only male – whom I was dating. I was driving him back to his shared apartment with his fellow MIT roommates. I was driving because it was my car. We were not comfortable with ourselves. We were not comfortable with each other.
Why did You ordain this for me when other people found happiness, You withholding, coldhearted bas –
We were going home after an evening at church – where else – some worthy, socially conscious, action-oriented meeting no doubt – on a rainy winter night. I was looking for Dane Street, which would take us over the railroad tracks.
Red: railroad tracks
Green: our route
It was late; we were tired; we had nothing more to say to each other. I drove past darkened industrial buildings and took a left. But the pavement widened into a parking lot rimmed with low buildings, I didn’t see quite what, maybe loading docks, but there, stepping into the beam of the headlight – stepping out of a shadowy group of people – calmly stepping into the beam – was a man, a quiet-seeming man, not young and not old, not tall, not short, unhurriedly stepping toward us —
I jammed the gearshift into reverse –
“We’ve driven into something –”
I didn’t reply, but backed us into the street, shifted into first and got us moving, into second, and then we were at the true turn onto Dane, and we turned.
“Probably a drug deal or something,” my boyfriend said, and I agreed. Drugs, stolen goods, God knows what. We were back in the street lights, in the known world, safe, and then we were over the bridge and onto Somerville Avenue. We were not a news story about a young couple shot to death in their car, must have taken a wrong turn.
How sunny and bright this neighborhood looks now.
Do I misremember where we were, or have entire enterprises been bulldozed and replaced? Google street view now shows what appears to be new housing, there simply isn’t enough for the ever-growing class of scientists and engineers needed for the business incubators and biotech firms of Kendall Square. Did the northern side of Village Street once open onto the hellmouth – but no longer?
November 11, 2020 COVID-19 Infections and Deaths