Last night I spend my third evening in Harvard Square this week, and I was glad to find that the square on a summer evening still has its charms, despite the many changes in recent years. Waiting for my friend Marlene—stuck in traffic on the Mass Ave bus—gave the chance to hear Lisa Bastoni play in front of Out of Town News.
As I listened, I watched the behavior of passers-by, as I try to encourage my First-Year Writing students to do (“Music in the Subways,” “Buckets, Pans, and Sticks”). Most people least slowed their pace slightly to get a listen, and many seemed tempted to stop for a while rather than rush off to wherever they were going. One woman stood listening as she read her book and clapped whenever a song finished. Another man walked by and dropped in quarters after stopping for only a moment, as if he felt that just hearing her music in passing was worth paying something for. I stood with my bike leaning against the wall nearby, but I realized after I got settled that I was in awkward position to be a supportive audience, since she had to look way over to the left to even notice that I was there.
Once Marlene arrived, we stopped by Pinocchio’s on Winthrop and JFK, a little pizza and sub shop I had never noticed before. My two slices were top-notch, and I’m sure I’ll be back next time I need something quick, cheap, and tasty.