I asked Steve Meyer what it felt like to be back in Cambridge again. He replied, “The weird thing is that it doesn’t feel more weird.” I think I know what he meant.
I’ve been back a few times over the years, but this time a couple of details reminded me of stability and permanence – but not the ancient archtecture or the list of eternal alumni. The first was the Varsity Restaurant, which was one of the four restaurants us impoverished students could afford to visit. Still feeding penniless students after all these years! That was the place where, when the bill came, my friends and I pooled our watches, signet rings and other valuables on the dish.
The other was another eatery – the Lan Hong House, the takeway on the corner of Lensfield Road, still inaccountably purveying pancake rolls. That’s what persuaded me that all the things that mattered in Cambridge remain unchanged after forty years. And I mused that in another forty years, no doubt the same will be true. Except that I will have changed by being dead.