But rules are made to be broken. And people in the Greater Boston area will talk to you if and only if the following are true:
1. You are holding a newborn.
2. You have a puppy, or, even better, you are a puppy.
3. You are one of those mimes dressed as a frozen Statue of Liberty in Harvard Square, and they are trying to get you to talk.
4. You are attending a Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, or Celtics game and/or you, like they, are slightly inebriated.
5. We have just had a snowstorm.
6. We have just experienced a tragedy like September 11th or the Boston Marathon bombings.
7. You are carrying or playing a guitar or a cello.
I do not have a newborn. I do not have a puppy. I am not a puppy or a mime. I rarely attend professional sporting events, I don't drink, and it is August, so there is no snow on the ground. Until a few months ago, people around here rarely spoke to me. But the first time I walked out of my house with a cello, my neighbor, whom I'd never spoken to before, said "Hello" as he walked by. I almost dropped my cello. Later, as I headed to cello class, other strangers smiled at me.
Recently, when leaving cello class very late at night, someone came up behind me and said, "What you got there?" I instantly thought the worst, and prepared to scream and/or run. Then I remembered that I was carrying a cello on my back, and I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. I told him that it was a cello, and he and I and his group of friends stood around in the dark and talked about how they play the cello too, and how much they love it. This happens everywhere I go now.
So, if you are feeling lonely and you are not a puppy, or you don't have a puppy or a newborn to accompany you around town, and you have no interest in sports, internet dating or creepy Statue of Liberty mimes, rent a cello.* I guarantee that if you put it on your back and walk around with it for a few minutes, you will start meeting new people. You don't even have to learn to play it, but if you do, your social circle will increase exponentially, every other aspect of your life will improve, and you will never be bored or lonely again.