I was eating lunch at Viga, a little Italian bistro-type place at the corner of Columbus and Stuart Street in Boston. They have a colorful sign hanging out front that features a psuedo art deco plump, ripe tomato from the vine, an essential ingredient used in many dishes. It’s a fairly unassuming spot but the comfort smells of roasted garlic, caramelized onions and baking pizzas makes it ever so hard to turn away. They do have great pizza and some remarkably creative sandwiches. I’d ordered a roll-up called the “Bari”, a hot roll-up. It starts with a fresh spinach tortilla to which they add a mélange of shredded carrot, diced cucumber, soft white rice and sliced grilled chicken breast. They top off the sandwich with crushed peanuts and a generous slathering of their own spicy Thai Peanut sauce. It is absolute heaven. Just something about this sandwich for me, I guess. Obsessive by nature, I always promise myself I’ll try and order something different, but I never do. So much for change. The reason I mention this place at all is that sometimes if you’re there at the right moment, you can get a seat that looks out onto Columbus Avenue. It’s not particularly scenic (actually, it sucks) but you can watch people. I love watching people; how they move, how they talk to themselves sometimes, how they look, what they're wearing. Boston is the best city for watching people, anytime of the year. I was fortunate enough to nail a seat one unusually warm day last fall (I’m just writing about it now, sheesh, what’s that all about?).
All sorts of people walk by the long, rectangular windows. Tall, short, fat, skinny, rich, poor (they stop and actually ogle at what you’re eating, which can really creep you out), white, black, yellow and green, you name it.
Viga usually has a CD playing in the background adding to the sometimes chaotic vibe of the place. It can get crazy at lunchtime. But this day, as I looked out the window, my mind drifted and suddenly locked onto the song that was currently playing :“Every Breath You Take” by the Police. It was never a favorite of mine but I didn’t mind listening to it now and then. It just so happens that as I’m listening, I notice a very attractive woman walking down Columbus Street towards Park Square. I can’t remember what she was wearing but I remember the rhythm of her walk. It was in perfect synchronization with the fundamental pulse of the song. Coincidence? Another woman, same thing, right on time. A man walked by as well, too fast. Hmm…
I wondered how Sting arrived at the tempo of the song. Perhaps he was watching a woman walk while sitting inside a dimly lit London café drinking Earl Grey tea. It's possible, I guess. It’s just cool (to me) that I made the connection between the rhythm of the song, and the pace of a woman walking. You should try it sometime.
After the song finished, “Psycho Killer” by the Talking Heads came on as a punk guy bopped by the window. He was sporting a neon pink Mohawk, a spiked dog collar around his neck, and roughly 25 pieces of shiny metal stuck into various parts of his weirdo punk face. A two inch gold stud, the diameter of a thick crayon, passed horizontally through his chin, which was very impressive. No, you’ll never have the chance to meet my daughter, pal. It was time to go back to work.
© michaelm 2005