As the story goes, our friends' daughter saw a field of flowers and asked if she could run through it. Given permission, she frolicked in the flowers and then returned, hot, damp and covered in burrs. "It's not as much fun as it looks," she declared.
I feel that way about a lot of things, specifically, at the moment, Newbury Street.
Don't get me wrong, I love Newbury Street. But somehow it always leaves me feeling vaguely unfulfilled. It would be so much easier if I could just smash it all down flat and roll in it. There's so much to wallow in, and no real way of wallowing if you don't slap down some coin and get yourself a pied-à-terre. It is not possible to soak it all up in one afternoon.
People watching alone is a full time job. Newbury Street is full of young hip things in very short skirts. Some skirts, in fact, were so short as to be inconsequential. Oh I do miss the short skirts. I forgo wearing them now as a public service - as did the Newbury Street women who were formerly young hip things, all looking very smart and toting shopping bags. These are the women I would emulate now, if I were a Newbury Street Regular. I reinvent myself with every passing block. I decide which salon I would go to if I lived there, what I would wear, where I would shop.
But at the end of the day, I am still me. Just a little stickier from all that jam and whipped cream.
I think when you run through a field of flowers your wish is, for just a moment, to BE a flower. And when you are not somehow magically transformed into an explosion of pink petals, there is a touch of something bittersweet. A little "why is it I'm doing this again?"
And then you see a man holding a paper cup out to passersby. You brace yourself for your turn, but instead of asking, he offers. "Your hair is so pretty," he says. "and will you look at those children! Beautiful. God bless you all." And suddenly, you are an explosion of pink petals, and it doesn't matter even a little bit that you do not have your hair cut on Newbury Street.