What a cool town this is. The food, public transportation, accent, beers, restaurants, sidewalks, and wealth of history are everywhere.

Doesn’t mean I can afford much of it, but for what I’m up to it’s been a great time.

I wandered into Neiman Marcus the other day looking for a shirt. I only have a couple of favorite tee shirts, and I’d like them ALL to be favorites. Life is too short to be uncomfortable or self-conscious, and if my shirt is any kind of snug, reveals any belly fur, or is frayed around the collar, I don’t wear it (unless I’m painting, and I have plenty of formerly-favorite shirts for that chore). The store is bright, tall, and airy, with a lot of real estate devoted to wide aisles and artistic displays. Very much not the ‘stuff all the merchandise into every square foot’ plan featured at my regular stores. I found 4 very nice shirts, one after another, and discovered how they’re paying for all the wasted rent. Each was $195. Almost TWO farking HUNDRED bucks for a man-size sack of soft cloth. Who pays that? I can cover a car payment, insurance, and a day’s worth of gas with that kind of cash. Of course, my lawyer gets that for working 55 minutes. But still, I would hesitate to pay an hour’s wages for 2 shirts – even at my current salary. I shook my head and kept on walking.

Oh, about the title today. I have a set of computer speakers by Boston Acoustics, and they are friggin’ awesome. They’ve served me well for a dozen years, and with a subwoofer and 2 tiny satellite speakers, they make everything sound pretty good up to a house-filling volume. But the title’s not about speakers. Oh no. It’s about the noises I’ve heard in the neighborhood.

My first day here, I was walking through the plaza and heard a police siren yelp regularly. A quick, loud, rising tone that echoed through the concrete and glass canyons. After covering a few blocks, I couldn’t find the cop car and wondered why they had to keep doing that. As I was crossing the street, I saw a tall, bald guy in his 20’s walking by himself. He let out a WhooOOP! that sounded exactly like the yelps I’d heard all day. Every 10 paces or so he did it again. He wasn’t calling out to anyone, just opening his yap and letting the sound waves fly.

People honk a lot here. Quite a lot. It’s like they’re trying to copy New York or something. I thought that was only filler noise for cop shows, but it turns out that a horn is just as necessary as a gas pedal here. Coming from a non-honking city, it’s taken some getting used to.

This morning, after breaking fast at Au Bon Pain (awesome place, we don’t have them in any of my hometowns), I was visiting the public echo chamber to recycle some coffee. A distinguished looking gentleman had walked in just before me and chose the handicapped stall. As I was making my transaction, it sounded like he had a frog in his throat. Turns out, he had a whole flock of them, and they were all leaping free at once in a marathon barf parade. The poor guy was coughing and groaning, and it sounded like he was emptying multiple mop buckets into the porcelain funnel. I’m glad that this morning I had no sympathetic convulsions, because it was vivid.

He reminded me of the reformed bank robber I used to work with. Jeff was an interesting character with lots of tales to tell, and he came to my company as a welder after paying his debt to society in prison. There was a bathroom in the shop, but on certain days he’d come into the office, lock himself in the Executive Washroom, and make the loudest, most theatrical puking noises I have ever heard. He’d really put his all into it, with proper breath support and sound effects. I’m sure he smuggled in a full Giant Slurpee cup to make the proper splooshy noises. He’d come out slowly, doing his best to look pale, and tell the boss he had to go home because he was sick. The boss would, of course, send him home. Then roll his eyes.

It’s time for me to go take in some more culture, perhaps see a garden, walk a snippet of Freedom Trail (do they serve French fries on the trail, I wonder?), and find a light supper. Today’s lunchtime lobster quesedilla was enough to last more than half a day.

Have a great day!