A stroll on Newbury St.

Nov 5, 2006

In the hours just before the APHA exhibit hall was to open, I took a nice walk with Mary (Erin’s sister) and Michael and their son, Leo, down to the fishmongers district. We had lunch at the No Name Restaurant
and talked about all the things young parents talk about. This was a treat to see them so grown up — I’ve known Mary since she was a brainy eighth-grader, and here we were adults walking in the big city.

After five hours on my feet at the convention, talking to hundreds of people about public health, I came back to my hotel, changed into jeans, and went walking to Tealuxe, a cool tea room I’d heard about from a colleague earlier in the day. Leaving there with a chai in hand and some loose tea for Erin (Copley Square Vanilla and Creme de la Earl Grey), I took a delightful stroll up Newbury St., ogling the fancy boutiques, art galleries, furniture stores and chocolate shops.

An Army vet stopped me to look at his photographs, and while he rolled a cigarette, he told me about being brainwashed a killer, martial law coming November 15th, and why he had the number 2831 markered onto the back of his hand. I gave him the change in my pocket, and he sent me off with As-salaam alaykum.

A block later, I passed three women. The middle one was pushing a stroller, and my brief glance at her as I walked by caught me up. “Was that Elizabeth Walker?" I thought. Of course, she was on my mind earlier in the day as I perused the speakers list in the APHA conference program, though I didn’t find her. I’m left wondering if I passed an old friend too quickly on the street.

UPDATE: I saw the woman with the baby stroller again the next night. Not Elizabeth.

Anton Zuiker

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