Saturday, August 24, 2013

From Bakersfield to Boston

 In August I spent two days in Boston doing strategic planning with my new client. My last client operated only in California and so I am done with travel to places like Bakersfield and Sacramento, at least for a while. I really enjoyed this trip east, as quick as it was and even though it lacked any extra time to see the locals. I’m sure Kathy would have gone on an early morning run with me but who am I kidding – it was brutal enough doing those meetings on five hours of sleep. My client has funky, hip offices, more Google-style than Big Blue. In one of the kitchens there are large canisters of M&Ms, gummy bears and chocolate covered pretzels. I needed those M&Ms to supplement the 7:30am breakfast (which was 4:30am in my head)!

We were in Cambridge, actually, an area I do not know well. The client offices were on the MIT campus and during the 20 minutes I had to myself I took a close look at the Frank Gehry-designed Ray and Maria Stata Center. The Stata Center houses MIT’s Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science Labs. I’m a fan of Gehry in general and this building is especially interesting. It looks as if it's about to collapse. Columns tilt at scary angles. Walls teeter, swerve and collide in random curves and angles. Materials change wherever you look: brick, mirror-surface steel, brushed aluminum, brightly colored paint, corrugated metal. Everything looks improvised, as if thrown up at the last moment. It’s a metaphor for the freedom, daring and creativity of the research that's supposed to occur inside it.

It was a mild summer day with temps in the 70s so it seemed that everyone in Boston with an urge to exercise outdoors was doing it along the river.

(Sidebar: We stopped briefly at UCLA en route home from Newport Beach. Many buildings were named: Jules Stein Eye Institute, Davies Children’s Center, Geffen Playhouse, Armand Hammer Museum. I don’t remember this from my Midwestern college days. Maybe it’s because the buildings were old and historic?)

The MIT campus is beautiful, a mix of old and new architecture and grassy open spaces. I kept hoping that the older, more historic buildings would be labeled so I’d know more about them without having to resort to Google later. This wasn’t the case.

Every time I come to Boston I remember how much I like it and hope one of our kids will go to school there. And then I remember that it’s 2,500 miles from where we live and that I’d miss them. It’s a good thing that I don’t get to make these decisions for them.

We had two amazing working dinners – the first at The Red Lantern, where the wait staff seemed to push the drinks more than the seafood-heavy Asian food – and the other at Al Dente, traditional, heavy Italian dishes in the North End.

On the way home I caught an earlier flight and the gate agent even waived the change fee as they were in a rush to close the doors and depart.

1 comment:

oreliamae said...

I love the photo of sailboats. So pretty!! Hope you have a fabulous Labor Day weekend!!