I work closer to Allston now than I have in years, so I took advantage of the lovely fall weather on Friday and walked to Spike’s for lunch. Lower Allston is the proverbial town on the wrong side of the tracks: triple-decker tenements elbow to elbow, full of college students, struggling musicians, and crustpunks. The walk was twenty minutes there, twenty minutes back. In that time, I passed no one else wearing a tie.
At Spike’s, I struck up a lovely conversation with Dave, the owner of the brand. I lamented the closure of the Somerville franchise two years ago, my regular Friday dinner spot. “The guy next door wanted to knock it down and expand his space,” he said. “I told him, ‘Make me an offer.’ And apparently it worked out: they’re packing the place out every weekend, selling twelve-dollar margaritas.” I confirmed his assessment and ordered my usual: cheddar and Swiss dog with curly fries and a Pepsi.
On the walk back, I passed two young men on skateboards, one of whom carried a case of High Life. The unencumbered skater kicked up his board. “That was a really good ollie,” his friend said. As I walked by, I heard a clatter and a muted swear behind me: the repeat attempt had failed. “Didn’t mean to jinx you, bra,” his friend said.
As I walked back over the MassPike to my office, another skater approached me, this one wielding a grasping metal claw on the end of a four-foot pole. He clacked the claw at every car he passed, like a nervous crab – not close enough to threaten them, just to let them know. I emerged unscathed. I moved out of Allston seven years ago, but maybe something lingers on my brow.