I invaded enemy territory this week. As a lifelong and passionate fan of the greatest sports franchise in the history of sports (need I name the Yankees?), I’ve always considered Boston a swirling vortex of evil. But my son moved there two years ago and we cashed in our frequent flier miles and booked three seats from Omaha to Boston’s Logan airport. After a rather roundabout trip (four flights instead of two) we landed in Boston Monday night.
First, my son took us on a tour of the MIT Media Lab (a playground for people with astronomical IQs) where he has worked and studied the last two years. We played ping-pong on a table that has animated fish swimming on it which responded to the sound of the ball hitting the table like real fish might. We looked at robots and high-tech experiments of every kind.
Matt tried to explain his work, and I almost understood it a little. I haven’t understood much he has said since he was about 8 and started watching the science channel in the summers for fun, so this was no new experience.
We took the Boston Duck tour on Tuesday and wandered around the historic sections seeing the Old North Church, Patrick Henry’s house, and the little tavern where the Revolution was planned. Wednesday we wandered around the harbor and ate at the Barking Crab (hard to imagine a food bill that high when no alcohol purchases were made). We wandered around a little and checked out the Museum of Fine Arts (Chihuly glass was amazing).
That is when the storm hit and we decided to get supper in Chinatown at a place either called the Emperor’s Garden or Empire Garden – they had two signs outside it, one with each name. It is an old opera house converted to a Chinese restaurant.
To my left was a large party of old, frumpy-looking men. We found out later that this was a celebration for the 87th birthday of a professor at Harvard University who was a Nobel Laureate. I never got his name, but the owner of the restaurant told us who he was. I think, perhaps, his Nobel prize was in Physics, if my memory is correct.
Then, things got interesting. I have one of those little Flip HD video cameras and my son picked it up and started interviewing my wife and I about our trip to Boston. We both thought it was a little odd, but we answered his questions. It was only as we were leaving that we found out why he did that.
At a table behind my wife and me two women were seated. As they came in, my son immediately recognized one of them, a popular young actress named Mila Kunis. She left about the same time we left and walked past us on the steps. I recognized her as well.
Here’s the odd thing. One person in that room was a Nobel Laureate who had made significant contributions to knowledge. I didn’t even bother to get his name. On the other hand, we stood in a little awe as this young starlet walked by us.
What does that say about me? I was not particularly interested in the Nobel Laureate but agog at the presence of a woman who has acted on some morally suspect TV shows and movies. Am I alone in being more interested in celebrity than contribution?
On the brighter side, the Sox lost all three games they played while I was in town!