I spent a sweaty summer in Cambridge, Massachusetts attending Harvard Summer School. It was a good experience from an academic standpoint, challenging and well-taught. There was no indoctrination that I remember, mainly because the study of intermediate physics is set. There is little social engineering in the hard sciences.
I used to ride the several miles down from Medford, through Somerville, to Cambridge on my bike. I memorized the houses along the path, even though I tried to take different paths for variety.
In an interesting turn, I was browsing this mental floss article on Spite Houses, or houses that were:
constructed to make someone mad. Sometimes they block a neighboring house’s view. Sometimes they’re built especially to thwart city planners or challenge city ordinances. In many cases, they’re an odd shape, or are built on a very small lot. Sometimes the houses are already in existence, and are altered to get revenge, like the Australia homeowner who painted his house pink and added a pig snout and a tail to protest a denied building permit.
And I recognized one. The O’Reilly Spite House. It sat right along my bike route. This may make me sound slightly batty, but I remember a particular smell this block had. The aroma of a cheap, gas station incense. I’ll bet it was from the lady who owns the place, Annie Hall, or an artist in the area:
What is it about spiteful landowners in Massachusetts? In 1908, Francis O’Reilly got angry when the owner of the adjacent parcel of land refused to buy his land for a good price—so he built a house measuring 8 feet wide. The interior designer who now occupies the space has said that the building is like a three-dimensional billboard for her work
And for the Bostonians amongst you, a virtual satellite map showing the neighborhood.