Friday, December 19, 2008
In any case, by 2:30, the snow was coming down hard in the North Shore, and it had already been snowing in Boston for well over an hour before that time. I was the only dumbass in the office who had an hour+ commute--by bus no less--followed by a 30 minute walk. I wanted to at least navigate the blizzard by the light of day, so I figured I'd get a little mercy and be able to leave a couple hours early.
"Well, the company is still open, so you'll have to take vacation time."
I couldn't believe it. Besides the fact that our governor announced a state of emergency today, asking that all non-essential employees stay home, I hadn't had anything to do for five hours, aside for checking boston.com for updated weather news every two seconds and PerezHilton.com for any sudden zany Britney Spears news, of which there has been a depressing lack of lately. Apparently, I'm more essential than I thought. Who knew that checking for comma splices and serial commas was actually some kind of fricking big deal. Certainly not Perez Hilton. His grammar is atrocious.
So I grudgingly agreed to take the vacation time to brave my way home through heavy snow blowing, at times, as fast as 40 miles per hour in my face every step of the way. "I'm on vacation!" I yelled as I slid on the sidewalk, stumbling off of it as the snow had already accumulated so that it was impossible to tell where the sidewalk ended and the road began. This was the worst vacation ever. I didn't even have a rum drink in my hand.
By the time I got home, three hours later, I was wet, cold, hungry, and cranky. As far as vacations went, this one blew. Luckily, I had a bottle of Sailor Jerry's on hand to rectify the situation. Technically I was no longer on vacation and now onto the weekend, but it felt good nonetheless. Only two-and-a-half months to go of this. Oh wait. I'm in Boston. Better make that five.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Now, up to that point, I think I might have clocked about 2 miles total running that summer, mostly from tourists with maps. So why my sister thought I was up to that particular challenge, especially without knowing any steroids dealers, is beyond me.
"Lisa, I haven't run all summer," I said, throwing up my drink for emphasis. "I'm not about to run 24 miles."
"OK, well what about a half marathon?"
I thought about this for a second. Mostly to calculate what half of 24 was. "Nope. That's still 13 more miles than what I run now. Why are you into this all of a sudden anyway? You haven't been running much yourself this summer."
"I know. That's exactly it. If I have something to motivate me, like a race, I think I'd start running more. OK, well how about a 10K? That's only a little more than 6 miles."
Lucky for my sister, the Captain had finally started to kick in. After a few rum and cokes, I think I can do anything. Including fitting two legs into a baby swing in the park across the street at 2 a.m., which, of course, is a completely rhetorical example.
"OK! Let's do it!" I shouted, raising my glass in the air and straining my arm. Training had officially begun.
We had a month and a half until race day to get in shape. Unfortunately, I could only run after work due to my having to get up every morning at an hour usually only reserved for farmers and donut fryers, but as the days were getting shorter and darker, even that was out of the question. So I hit the gym. For two weeks straight, I used the elliptical, hoping it would be the equivalent of actually running outside. I attempted to train on the tread mill, but couldn't figure out how to run in place without holding onto the handrails and looking like a complete dork. Never mind that I was taking the risk of looking like a complete dork at the race, spinning my feet in an elliptical pattern while everyone else whizzed past me, one foot in front of the other.
I was feeling pretty proud of myself and my new exercise regimen. That is, until I remembered the trips to Vegas and New York I'd scheduled in the beginning of the summer. For the next two weeks, my exercise regimen consisted of rum punches poolside at Mandalay Bay and scorpion bowls at NY dive bars. I was now in danger of not only looking like a dork at the race, but sweating rum while I ran, which would be a grave waste of alcohol.
The day before the race, I felt like a kid who hadn't studied for the big test. My sister and I were extremely nervous, and I was tempted to see whether she'd be game for going shopping for a few hours, throwing some water on our faces, and coming back and telling everyone what great time we made. No one would have to know we'd meant paying for some fashionable dresses at the Anthropologie checkout rather than running a grueling 6.2 mile course.
We woke up early that morning, as the race started at 8:30 and it would take an hour to get into the city. We had been told we couldn't use an ipod during the race, so, being law abiding runners, left ours at home. Of course, the 5,000 other runners that were there either didn't get the memo, or were blatant criminals, as they all were humming along to their ipods as we waited to start the race. How I was going to be able to get through 6 miles without Rihanna's help was beyond me. Besides that, I hated running in front of other people, let alone 5,000. I was already feel cramped and crowded and the race hadn't even started.
"Are you sure you don't want to get a drink somewhere instead?" I asked my sister as she looked around nervously.
"Amy, it's 8:30 in the morning."
"It's OK as long as there's OJ in it."
But it was too late. People were starting to move, albeit it very, very slowly. I was officially running a 10k without ever having run 6 miles in my life. I couldn't believe that people were actually starting off walking. I sped up to get past the dead weight, running along the shoulder of the track and quickly jumping back in when the grass ended, cutting people off and getting flipped the bird. This wasn't so different than driving, I thought.
I stayed to the outer sides of the course, as it was easier to maneuver past people. That is, until I hit the first water station. I couldn't understand at first why everyone started slowing down and moving to my side until it was too late. I was instantly flooded by incredibly thirsty people who had run an apparently really dehydrating one mile. Empty plastic cups started flying in my direction, bouncing off my head and onto the ground. The experience was not unlike playing Mario Kart, as I simultaneously dodged and side-stepped Dixie Cups, all the while trying to make good time.
It wasn't until around mile 4 that I finally found my groove. I had managed to get past all the walkers and was now sailing at what I guessed was a good 1 to 2 miles per hour. I sped to get past one grunter ahead of me. Not having an ipod meant I had to listen to all the grunts, moans, and unnecessarily loud breathing of the 5,000 people running next to me. Unfortunately, my timing was off, and right as I was pulling up next to him, he turned his head to spit, which lodged itself on my arm, annoyingly keeping pace with me for an entire mile.
I then heard the wail of sirens behind me. We quickly ran to the side of the road as no less than 15 ambulances and police cars drove past us at a disturbingly slow rate. At least five minutes must've gone by before the cavalcade managed to get past us. I just hoped no one had gotten poked in the eye by an errant Dixie Cup. After a few more minutes, I was at the mile-5 marker and people were calling out numbers. "50:45!" I heard a voice ring out. I was confused. Was that the time since we had started the race? I had expected to finish in more than an hour, but I then realized that I could actually do much better.
The last mile was, of course, uphill, and really painful, mostly due to the 50's music they were subjecting us to at the finish line. I'm not sure why the organizers thought the Everley Brothers would get us pumped to finish that last mile. All I can think of is that they were hoping it would motivate us to finish as fast as we could in order to beat the DJ.
When I crossed the finish line, I immediately set out to find my sister, who I hadn't seen since mile 1. I figured she'd finished an hour ahead of me and was tired of waiting for my slow ass. We had been told there were booths set out at the end of the race for families and friends to find each other, but what they neglected to tell us was that they were another mile from the finish line. I sprinted past event organizers and Marines trying to hand me water and take my picture.
"Hey! She's still running!" I heard a voice call out behind me. They must have thought I was a "special" runner.
When I finally found our designated booth, Lisa was nowhere to be seen. Great, I thought. She'd gotten bored and left. I called my brother-in-law, who instantly answered the phone with a "Congratulations!"
"Thanks. Do you know where Lisa is? I don't see her anywhere."
"She should be there. She finished 3 minutes ahead of you."
"Yeah. I was tracking you both. You finished in an hour and seven seconds."
I couldn't believe it. My weeks of rumming and no running had put me ahead of about 3,500 other runners. Forget Wheaties; rum is the new breakfast of champions. Hopefully, I will be getting a call soon with an offer to put my face on a bottle of Captain Morgan's.
When I finally found Lisa, she was already making plans for our next race.
"I think we should do half marathon next year, what do you think?"
"Absolutely," I said. "I think we should start training now."
"Now? Amy, I'm exhausted."
"Oh, quit your whining. The bar is right across the street."
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
With the help of a prescribed Valium, I was actually able to doze off shortly after we'd finished our ascent and the pilot told us we could expect a relatively smooth ride. I guess, in retrospect, you could call it a smooth ride in relation, to say, riding shotgun with a drunk Hilton at the wheel down Hollywood Boulevard, but that's about it. Seconds after I drifted off, the plane lurched violently to the left and then dipped low enough to the point I had to look out the window to make sure we still had enough room in between us and the ground.
I quickly wrapped both my arms around the armrest hoping to steady myself (and, secretly, the plane), but realized I was shaking too violently to even sit still. I'd completely lost control of my body. My mouth went dry, and I downed the water bottle I'd grudgingly paid two bucks for at the start of the flight. It was like I'd swallowed sand. I ran to the back of the plane where the flight attendants were sitting and threw open the curtain.
"Water!" I gasped, holding two dollar bills. The flight attendants handed me another water bottle and I quickly took my seat again and downed the bottle in less than a second. I ran back with more money and asked for more water. I got even more agitated realizing I could've enjoyed a couple of rum cocktails with all the money I was spending on water. After the attendants handed me yet another bottle, I just stood there, shaking like a leaf, and told them I couldn't sit down.
"You have to take your seat. Just take deep breaths," one of the attendants told me.
As my teeth were chattering a mile a minute, the deep breath thing was virtually impossible. I reluctantly walked back to my seat, hitting the head of pretty much everyone along the way, as I had to grip each seat down the aisle due to my excessive shaking. At this point, I was pretty sure I was known as the freak in row 12. I seriously contemplated spreading out on the aisle, convinced I just needed to lie down, but thankfully was able to restrain myself. I'm pretty sure I might've been escorted out in handcuffs had I tried it.
Luckily, I was allowed to visit my friend in first class for a few moments, and she was able to calm me down to the point where I wasn't in danger of getting into a fistfight with the guy sitting in front of me due to overzealous kicking of his seat.
Aside from being extremely embarrassed, I was OK. I'd never had a panic attack, but I'm guessing that's just what I'd experienced. At least I wasn't able to check myself into the ER this time.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
So the new bus driver on the night shift is always on time, which of course is great for my Insider Edition-watching ways, but it appears he’s got a crazy switch that turns on whenever his peace is disturbed, as if he’s got some kind of a double-life as a zen master while he’s up there plowing through pot holes and cutting off old ladies at 80 miles per hour. I’m not sure why anyone would think that driving a bus during rush-hour Boston traffic would be a peaceful career option, but I guess that comes with the crazy switch.
At least once every night, he’ll pull the bus over on the side of the road due to some inevitable loud talkers in the back—always kids--and walk up to the offenders, scolding them about how they shouldn’t be “rocking his boat.” I pretend to be listening to my ipod when these episodes happen, but I always turn the volume way down so I can hear his little tirades, and I swear to goodness he actually told them not to “rock his boat.” I say kudos to the kids for not mentioning that he’s not, in fact, at the helms of a boat, but a clunky bus that makes more noise than those kids could ever dream of making, even after several trips to the Taco Bell.
Now every day, before the last stop, the bell will ring. We all know that you don’t have to ring the bell before the last stop, that of course the bus is going to stop anyway and that ringing the bell is just a waste of time, but the handicapped guy sitting in back row doesn’t know this, and every bus driver up until now has just ignored it. Not “don’t-rock-the-boat” Ernie, though. I couldn’t believe it when he yelled out the first time that it happened.
“You don’t have to ring the bell! It’s the last stop!”
I turned around, and, sure enough, saw the handicapped guy sitting behind me. He threw up his hands as if to say, “What did I do?” and all I could do was shrug back. I was tempted to fill Ernie in on the small little thing that the guy he was yelling at for being mentally challenged, was, in fact, mentally challenged, but chickened out, as I didn’t want his wrath turned on me. This week, however, after the inevitable ringing of the bell, Ernie called the handicapped guy up to the front of the bus once we had reached the stop.
“I want to talk to you,” he said, motioning with his fingers. I really, really wanted to stay and find out what on earth Ernie could’ve been “talking” to him about, since the handicapped guy couldn’t actually speak, but only motion with his hands, and only that with limited success, but, alas, I had to rush home to watch my shows.
The next day, when the bell rang again, I waited nervously for Ernie’s bark, but it never came. Maybe his conversation, which I can only imagine went something like, “Don’t ring the bell,” followed by drinking motions and shrugging on the part of the handicapped guy, clued Ernie in that he just had to deal with the situation. I sat back in my seat, relieved that at least this had been finally worked out.
I quickly came on the defensive again, however, upon exiting the bus, after a brief chat with Ernie about his plans for the weekend.
“Have a great time in Virginia, Ernie!”
“Yeah, I will. Do you want me to call you while I’m there?”
I froze. What on earth made him think I wanted him to call me? My inappropriate-date-asking bus driver count is officially up to four. I somehow managed to laugh it off and eluded giving him my phone number without setting off his crazy switch on me, but I’m not sure how I’ll be able to keep this up for an indefinite amount of time. I think handicapped guy has got it right—he may even be a genius in disguise—if shrugging shoulders and drinking motions will get people to leave you the hell alone, I am totally jumping on that bus.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
"You don't mind if I give her a ride too?" the driver asked.
What was I going to do? Tell the bitch to walk? I grudgingly shook my head and got into the cab, bracing myself for the inevitable dreaded small talk.
She wasted no time, handing me her phone and ordering me to dial a number.
"Here. Dial this number for me!"
I'm not sure if she thought I was the cab driver's assistant--the only one in existence to my knowledge--or maybe she had arthritis, but at the time, in my sleepy state, the request seemed perfectly logical, albeit really annoying. A guy answered the phone with more orders for me.
"What's your apartment number, lady?" the guy barked.
I leaned over to the lady sitting next to me. "What's your apartment number?"
"Who wants to know?!"
Oh, for crying out loud ... "The guy you asked me to call!"
After a few more awkward relayed messages, I was finally taken off phone detail and silently prayed that she would not be on my flight. She wasn't, but a two-year-old, with apparently the same fear of flying I have, was. The baby cried the entire duration of the trip. It was the first time I've ever been grateful for having a crying baby on my plane and not some high-maintenance woman turning me into her personal assistant. It's all about perspective, people.
On a completely unrelated topic, there's this guy who's a dead-ringer for Stephen Colbert, complete with glasses, suit, briefcase, and Oxford shoes, who's been coming to the gym every night to work out. I hadn't realized it before, but it's really fricking weird to see someone working out in a suit. What's weirder is that he's not even really using the machine properly. He sits down on the rowing machine, directly in front of me, and does these odd stretching motions for about ten minutes, then hops off to lift weights. I could probably bench press the guy he's so scrawny, but he's on the Nautilus machine, pumping 10 lbs. of weight like he's fricking Hulk Hogan. I don't know why, but it really creeps me out. Not as much as the handicapped guy on the bus, but still.
Speaking of the bus, I had a great run of not being hit on any bus drivers, but that run was broken today. There's a new driver working the afternoon detail. I love him--he's right on time and has a lead foot that gets me to Boston with more than enough time for me to watch Inside Edition. Today, as I was getting on the bus, I made the mistake of making eye contact.
"Where you headed?" the driver chirped.
"Haymarket," I answered and, for some reason, all I can think of is that I must've been giddy just thinking about watching a full episode of Inside Edition, and I'm still kicking myself for saying it, but I stupidly, stupidly added, "I go all the way!" (As in all the way to Boston, people.)
"Amen to that!" he responded.
I am now officially part of the problem.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Despite my Scorpio nature, I restrain myself from taking a swipe at their face and saying, “Hey! You got something on you! Oh. That’s just your face.”
Today, as I was at the fruit market, one of the vendors yelled out, “Hey! Are you a Sagittarius!”
I pretended not to hear. And who knew? Perhaps there was someone standing next to me with an archer on her back.
Alas, apparently men who make a living yelling at tourists and Asians for touching the fruit are not easily deterred. “Hey! Are you a Sagittarius!”
Oh for the love of … I turned around. “No! Scorpio! This is a scorpion!”
Everyone turned to see who the fruit vendor was awkwardly trying to pick up. I was sick to my stomach. I mean, how cliché can you get? A guy asking what your sign is in the produce section? I felt like I was in a Lifetime special.
Luckily, a hapless Asian woman feeling the tomatoes rescued me from more embarrassment.
“Hey! Hey you! NO touching the tomatoes! You try it, you buy it, you cheap bastids!”
I sprinted away with only a lonely bag of mangoes. I’d really been eyeing those peaches and nectarines, too. Whoever said shopping at the farmer’s market was a good deal obviously never had a scorpion tattooed on her back.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
“That’s just how it is there. You have to be tough,” Bulldog informed me.
Since my only “brush” with violence was hearing what might have been a gunshot driving down a road near Detroit with my family, I kept my mouth shut. Especially since when we heard the shot, my mom yelled, “Duck!” at my sister and I, and my first response was, “Where?”
They seemed proud of their past, so when I related a story to a friend sitting next to me about my close encounter with death last weekend due to a friend of mine taking me to a restaurant in Dorchester, I didn’t think anything of it. I assumed I wasn’t saying anything they didn’t already know themselves. As usual, I assumed wrong.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Jimmy cut in, interrupting my story. “Don’t dump on Dot! I’ve got buddies there.”
“Dot” is the native’s term of endearment for Dorchester, a city in Boston that has more crime than LA has drunk driving celebrities. There are certain areas of Dorchester that are nice; you just have to dodge bullets to get there. I kid; I kid. You’ll actually be dodging knives. There are way more stabbings than shootings there.
I dropped the subject, realizing it was OK for them to make fun of their towns, but as an outsider, I had to keep quiet and pretend like Dorchester was next on my vacation destination list.
Tony deftly changed the subject, “So did you hear about that moron move the Giants made with trading Shockey? You know what they say about Jersians …”
“… You don’t mess with them,” I smiled. Evilly.
Tony quickly got my gist and we all played in a moment of awkward silence until I finally touched on the one subject and city we could all agree on.
“So how about that Shia LaBeouf, huh? Damn stars driving drunk. You couldn’t pay me to drive in LA …”
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
"What are you here for?" a bored-sounding nurse asked.
"I ... I think I'm dying!"
"Well then. Take a seat. We'll call you when we're ready."
One hour later I realized that the shakes that had, ironically, incited me to risk my life to get to the ER had subsided, and that I was perfectly fine. But once you check yourself in, there's no going back. No matter how hard you might try to convince a nurse that you're OK, once you sign those admission papers, someone needs to at least poke you a little before you can go home. So I waited another two hours until a bored-looking doctor finally came in to check on me. These people obviously did not fully grasp the concept of the emergency part of emergency room. All I'm saying is that a little sense of urgency would've been nice.
"What seems to be the problem?" he asked, looking at his nails.
"Um ... I think I may have toxic shock system. You see, my toe has this cut that hasn't healed, in like, a week, and tonight I got the shakes for no good reason at all and ..." Even I, actually saying the words out loud, realized the ridiculousness of it all. The doctor seemed to be amused by my self-diagnosis.
"Well, I'll examine you and see what's shaking. Ha!" I managed a weak laugh and prayed I wouldn't be charged extra for the comedy routine.
The doctor's "examination" turned out to be me breathing in and out deeply and a light up my nose. I was happy that nothing was wrong with me, well, in the physical sense at least; however, my friend was hoping that after three hours of waiting in the hospital for my lame ass, they'd find something that required meds.
That, of course, was nothing compared to the day I thought I had appendicitis. Despite what you may be thinking, I am not a hypochondriac. I just have an unfortunate WebMD habit. I was sitting at my desk at work when I suddenly felt a sharp shooting pain in my lower abdomen. I immediately logged on to WebMD, which of course I had bookmarked. Hmm ... a sharp pain in the lower-right abdomen (type, type, type) that is preceded by a dull ache a little farther up (typity, typity, typity) in conjuction with nausea (more furious typing) ... Aha! Appendicitis! Son of a bitch. And it's Friday too. Oh well, this shouldn't take long. I mean, how long can it take to remove an appendix? Two, three hours? I got up from my desk and calmly told a coworker that I had to go but would be back soon.
"Where are you going?"
"Yes. I have appendicitis. Don't worry, though. I should be back in a few hours to finish that report." And off I went, leaving a very puzzled-looking marketing manager in my wake.
When I got to the ER, I filled out the paperwork--something that at that point I could've done with my eyes closed--and waited. And waited. Two hours later, a young nurse came to take my blood. With a needle that looked like it had been custom-made for Shaquille O'Neal.
"You going to stick me with that?"
"That's the plan."
"Well I'm going to need some juice and cookies. Apple juice is preferable, thank you. Oh, and I'll take animal crackers over graham. Unless they're the cinnamon kind."
The nurse looked at me like I had just requested a neat martini with a twist of lime and a back rub. "Oh you're not even getting water after this, honey. You might need to get more tests done and that would upset the results."
What?! No cookies! This was a sham. "But I have low blood pressure! I'll faint! You know what? I'm actually feeling pretty good right now. Heh. All a big misunderstanding. I think I'll just ... Ahh!" The bitch plunged the needle deep into my arm as I was getting up to leave, and I swear she was smiling as I jerked and twisted on the table, convinced that I had been done in by Mass General Hospital.
Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, my pain had subsided. Once again, I found myself, abandoned on the side of the hall on a stretcher no less, in the ER with no emergency to speak of. I was beginning to think I needed to check myself into the mental ward instead. An hour later, a cute doctor came to check me out. And not in a good way. He pushed and prodded and told me what I already knew--probably wasn't appendicitis if I wasn't feeling any pain. Aside from the sharp pain of embarrassment, that is. Relieved, I said I'd be on my way now. But alas, that was not to be.
"Oh no. We need to wheel you up to get an ultrasound. Just to be safe."
Safe? I had just been attacked by a psycho vampire nurse looking to suck me dry. I had no patience for safe.
Before I could get a word in, two male nurses had grabbed my stretcher and started rolling me, feet first, up to the fifth floor and into a dark room where they dropped me off behind a curtain.
The nurse at the station asked where I was feeling pain, and even though I really wasn't feeling anything at that point, I decided since I was already there, why not check out that dull ache I'd had for years I always thought was a tumor. Never let it be said I don't get my money's worth at the ER.
Eight hours after I'd first checked into the hospital, I was finally, mercifully released with a clean bill of health, and I noticed I'd gotten a text from my boyfriend asking me what I was up to. I was very tempted to tell him I had just been at the hospital getting an ultrasound, but restrained myself as I didn't want to have to go back to the ER for causing my boyfriend to go into cardiac arrest. I am an evil person just for thinking such a thing, I know. I should probably have that checked out.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
So I think I broke karaoke's cardinal rule on Thursday night: Leave no man behind. Or is that the Army's? In any case, I was brought up "on stage," which was more like a slightly elevated section that didn't have quite as many beer puddles as the rest of the room, to sing Dirty Diana. Now, I don't know the lyrics to the song, I don't even know how it's supposed to sound like aside from the refrain, so I don't know what possessed me from agreeing to it in the first place. All I can think is that I was still on a high from my performance of my fellow Jersian's Livin' on a Prayer. Not getting booed off the stage or hit with any flying objects is a success in my book.
As soon as I grab the microphone and look at the screen, I knew I was in trouble. The lyrics were all there for the taking, but the music was throwing me off. How is this damn song supposed to go again? The last time I'd heard it was on MTV ... right after an episode of Remote Control. And the neon green test tube shot I'd downed moments before was not helping to jog my memory much either. I stood there for what seemed like an eternity, and although I miraculously refrained from going into any awkward Ashlee Simpson ho-downs, I did something even worse: I left my friend on stage to work her way through the evil song I now know to avoid like neon green test tube shots.
Luckily, she's very pretty and a guy from the audience was quick to rush to her rescue to suffer through the rest of the song with her. I felt horrible. Like probably the rest of the people in the bar who'd been subjected to the song. Actually, to be honest, I don't think anyone was paying much attention anyway. They were too busy dodging what I hoped was water that kept dripping from the ceiling at two-minute intervals.
Unbelievably, we were not to be deterred. After the song finally, mercifully ended, we went right back into the fire with a little Bryan Adams. The "Summer of '69" totally redeemed us. To the only dry couple left in the place, anyway.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
But none of that compares with having to wait fifteen, twenty, sometimes even more than thirty minutes past the scheduled time my bus is supposed to pick me up every day after work. It's a weird feeling to want something that you have a miserable experience on on a regular basis, but after a long day at work, and facing an already long commute, those extra minutes of waiting time seem like an eternity.
My regular bus driver had a two-week long vacation, during which the bus came on time. Once, it was late by five minutes, and the bus driver apologized for her delay as I stepped on the bus.
"Are you kidding me? This is early as far as I'm concerned." I was giddy just thinking about how I'd be able to catch all of The Insider when I got home.
But my regular bus driver came back last week, and every day since then, it's been back to being obscenely late. This time, however, I knew that things could be different. The other bus drivers had spoiled me, and I was now accustomed to a life of luxury being picked up at 5:21 on the dot and getting home to watch my entertainment shows.
So, while I was waiting for the bus, I called the MBTA and made a formal complaint. I hated doing it because I personally like my regular bus driver, but things just couldn't continue as they were. If Deborah Norville had something to say, damn it, I was a gonna do everything in my power to make sure I got to hear it.
The next day, I decided to walk to the next stop while I waited, figuring it was a nice day and I might as well get a little exercise while my bus took its sweet time getting to me.
What seemed like an hour later, the bus pulled up to the stop, and I stepped on. The bus driver, looking at me like I had just insulted his momma, said, "What? You trying to throw me off?!"
My heart dropped to the floor. Oh Lord, I thought, he knew I had called the authorities on him! He thinks I'm trying to get him fired! Crap. It's a long walk to Boston.
"Uh ... uh ... what do you mean?!" I fired back. Since I couldn't feign sleep this time, I figured ignorance was the way to go.
"You're not at your usual stop! You trying to throw me off my schedule?" he laughed.
My heart started beating again. "Oh! Ha! What? A girl can't try out new stops?"
We continued our usual banter, and I took a seat. In my relief, I'd forgotten all about being upset that the driver was really late. Of course, when I got home and realized I'd missed The Insider yet again, I got all riled up and put in another formal complaint against the driver. I'm sure I'll be in great shape this summer with all the walking I'll be doing.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
He’s tried talking to me once or twice before, and all I can do is smile and nod because I have no idea what he’s saying. Last week, he was smiling and pointing at me and then making drinking motions with his hand. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to ask me out for drinks or he found out about the flask of rum I keep in the pocket of my kate spade handbag. You know, for emergencies.
So a couple days ago, he gets on and decides to spread out along the row of seats in the front because we’re the only ones on the bus. That would’ve been fine, except he lies down facing me instead of the front of the bus. It reminded me of the time my sister and I were sleeping on the beach and looked up to find a row of about ten people on beach chairs all lined up facing us, backs turned to the ocean. Creeped us the fuck out.
I feigned sleep yet again—my only defense on the 441—and hoped that I would not wake up to a nightmare. Luckily, my flask was still there when I reached my stop.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Despite my reservations, the movie was actually pretty good. I laughed as much, if not more, as when I was at home watching the TV show. One scene in particular with Charlotte in Mexico and an unfortunate absence of bathrooms almost had me rolling on the floor. Miranda was even crankier than usual, and Carrie was the same punny Carrie with the same Big issues she’s had for twenty-some years now. But it was Samantha who stole the show. That diva must have kicked some gay writer ass to get all of the best one-liners in the movie.
In the end, the girls (with one exception) wound up pretty much in the same spots they’d been in when the series ended. As much as I love the girls (and their shoes), there is absolutely nowhere else the writers can take us with them. The core of the series was about a group of single women in NY trying to find love. And they finally found it. End of story. Did ya hear that, Darren Star? END of story. THE END. And if you could pass the message along to Indie Jones while you're at it, that'd be great.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Now, I have nothing against gay men. I just don’t want to date them. But this is an impossible situation to avoid if you’re on Match. There must be some kind of find-a-beard cabal in this city that has infiltrated the online dating community because I swear I have met just about as many gay men on Match as straight (and I’m not even counting the guy who waxes his eyebrows and highlights his hair as gay). I finally got a clue after a month and a half of dating one guy that he might bat for the other team (go Sox!) when he stared at my good friend’s boyfriend all through dinner. Well, that and he complimented my new Coach bag for having a really great lining. Yeah. ‘Cause that’s what all the men are talking about at the bar during guys’ night out over a Bud. Purse lining.
The emotionally unavailable men are just as fun. They’re the ones who have baggage from the past: an ex-girlfriend they just broke up with, being teased as a child, a mother who put him in a harness until the age of thirteen because he kept wandering off whenever they’d go outside … yes, I’ve dated them all too; in fact, just a few days ago. I had a wonderful date with a guy who was cute, charming, smart, had great taste in music, not to mention a doctor. We talked for hours, I met his friends, we kissed goodnight—I was on cloud nine just thinking about all the free medical advice I was going to get without having to rush to the hospital for self-diagnosed appendicitis with every gas pain I felt. But, alas, it was not meant to be, as the next day he said he “forgot” to tell me about this “pretty rough” break up of his … I’ll spare the details, but it did kind of make me want to pull out the world’s smallest violin and play it just for him. Seriously. Where did all these weenie men come from? If they’re not gay, they’re weeping over a lost girlfriend who most likely broke up with them because they were too damn emotional.
The weird ones are probably my favorite group of Match men. I once had a guy whose nose started to bleed over a bowl of fries while were at dinner. And then proceeded to eat the fries. Another guy was talking about some chick flick—I think it might’ve been Steel Magnolias—and then started weeping at the table. Wait. He might need to go in the emotionally unavailable group. No, on second thought, his problem was that he was too emotionally available.
So today I got an e-mail from a really sweet-sounding, intelligent, cute, professional ... woman. If this isn’t a sign from the heavens that I need to end my membership, I don’t know what is.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Sorry. I hope no one was offended by my horrendous disregard of proper ellipsis usage. In any case, I was exhausted at the end of the day and looking forward to my usual hour-long, end-of-day nap on the bus back to Boston.
But that was not to be. First of all, the driver made me a little self-conscious by calling me out on my bus-napping ways.
"Hello there! You looking forward to your nap? I'll try not to be too loud tonight!"
This was followed by much guffawing. (I've never used this word before but it seems oddly appropriate in this instance. Yes, yes he was most definitely guffawing, if you can believe it. He was guffawing at his own joke! What an ass.) This, in turn, was followed by awkward small talk about the miracles of Lasik surgery. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the guy could see what he was doing, but I really could've done without the details about payment options and eye-correcting layaway plans.
He then made his usual stop at the Starbucks, but this time, instead of picking people up, he sent some poor guy out to get him a mocha grande. He did ask if I minded, but what was I supposed to say? No, you ass, you cannot get your caffeine fix. You must drive me, half-asleep, into a telephone pole? So I sat and smoldered in silence for ten minutes while my fellow saint of a passenger ran inside to get the driver some coffee. Well, almost saint of a passenger. Bastard didn't get me any.
Luckily, the driver's new coffee-fetching buddy served as a nice distraction so I could finally get some sleep. Until ten minutes later when he got off the bus and a Hispanic man speaking no English got on. The driver and the guy jabbered away in Spanish for a bit, ending in the driver and the man stepping off the bus to do some bilingual direction-pointing. Apparently, the Hispanic man was satisfied with whatever the driver had to say, and they both got back on the bus. It seemed to me that more people were spending their time off the bus than on. I couldn't wait until it was my turn.
We were on our way once more. Until, of course, after another ten minutes when the Hispanic passenger had to get off the bus. This, of course, was immediately followed by the driver accompanying the man off the bus, more direction-pointing, and, this time, an almost fist fight.
After the driver pointed the guy on his way and got back on the bus, I heard a gruff voice shout, "Hey! You don't litter in Revere!" Of course, with his accent, it sounded more like, "Hey! You done littah in Reveah!"
The driver had left his damn coffee cup outside. He got off the bus again.
"I put it down while I was giving that guy directions," he told the scary-looking meathead. And then, when he was walking back to the bus, "You should mind your own business."
Oh good gravy. I couldn't even feign sleep this time as the scary-looking man started running after the driver, fists in the air.
"Oh, you're a tough guy? You're a tough guy?" The driver screamed behind him as he jumped onto the bus, slamming the door shut.
The scary man pounded on the door, motioning for the driver to step outside as we sped off at mach 3. I was petrified. I was the only one on the bus. Now I would most certainly have to make small talk with the driver.
"You see that? You see that? What a tough guy! I would've taken him out, too, but I didn't want to make a bad first impression on you."
I was confused. What on earth made him think I cared about him making any kind of impression on me? I just wanted a nap.
He babbled on for the rest of the then forty-minute trip back to Boston. I have to hand it to him, though, he smoothly transitioned from talking about the inherent evil in some people, referencing a teenager who recently killed a young relative, to asking me out for a cannolli in the North End. I told him I'd sleep on it.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
But a friend of mine, whose taste in music I trust, said they play an amazing show, so off I went to the Paradise last night with low expectations. Before the show, we got a bite to eat, and my friend told me about the last time he saw Cowboy Mouth. He was dating a girl at the time and some jerk pushed her. My friend, who I always thought of as rather even-tempered, even almost Ghandi-like, punched the guy in the face in honor of his girl (well, he kind of grazed his cheek, he said. Whatever. It was still noble). Chaos ensued. The bouncers were just about to bounce him out, when one of the members of the band yelled out that they had the wrong guy, that my friend was just protecting his girl, and so the jerk was booted and my friend got to enjoy the show. I still wasn't sure I'd like their music, but I was damn sure at this point I liked the band.
They were good ole boys (and one girl) from New Orleans. The frontman/drummer was like Jack Black on about twenty cases of Red Bull. And maybe a pitcher of coffee. He beat the drums like they had just offended his momma. He had everyone in the place jumping up and down for the whole show, and when one of us slacked off a little and was kind of just bobbing back and forth, he ran up to the balcony, confronted the offender, and said he'd take the whole band back to New Orleans if he didn't see everyone hanging from that balcony when he got back to the stage. We complied.
It felt almost like I imagine a Revival to be. He kept telling us to go crazy and "let it all out." I didn't realize until about ten minutes into the show that the "all out" part was gallons of sweat. At various points, he'd tell us to come a little closer, a little closer, but I didn't want to get too close lest I get hit in the sweat cross-fire. I did, however, come close to getting hit by a drum stick--twice. He threw about three or four of them into the crowd, forgetting maybe the very high poke-your-eye-out potential that drum sticks have when flung at high speeds through the air. I'm just glad I had an alert friend with me or I'd have me a nice eye patch to go along with my rum swilling. Aargh.
I was really annoyed that my friend neglected to tell me about the "Red Spoon" song before the show, a song during which everyone gets to flick a (plastic) red spoon at the band. I usually never miss an opportunity to throw things at people.
He kind of lost me at the end when he told us about how they were going to be on Live With Regis and Kelly the next morning, and then proceeded to sing a song dedicated to Kelly Ripa. The lyrics, however, quickly redeemed them: "Kelly Ripa, if you were a lollipop, I'd lick ya/Kelly Ripa, head of a Mom, but the body of a Strippa. Yee-haw!" You just don't find poetry like that nowadays. Except, of course, on iTunes, for free (in 30-second intervals).
Monday, February 25, 2008
I've just started my third week, and already it feels like ages ago since I was temping, which is a good thing. A few days before I'd gotten the job offer, I was temping at a Jewish philanthropic organization, putting stickers on party hats. No, I'm not making this up. The manager handed to me what seemed like hundreds of shiny yellow plastic construction hats, red fireman hats, black pirate hats, and a roll of stickers and told me to go to town. She was actually jealous that I was getting, and I quote, "all the fun," like I was going to don one of those bad boys and whoop it up all over the city like the Village People might have if they'd only been a little more Jewish and philanthropic.
The really scary part of it was that I started taking it seriously. I'd put a yellow sticker on the yellow hat, and instantly reprimand myself. "No--you fool! No one will ever be able to see a yellow sticker on a yellow hat! Grab the red one; it will really stand out against the yellow."
It was as if I thought I'd be showcasing my collection on Project Runway and would have to explain my motivation for placing three Happy Birthday stickers on the pirate hat instead of one in front of an angry Nina Garcia and Michael Kors (who obviously would've taken the simplistic approach and just added one).
To add to my increasing insanity, a little puff of a Polish woman with a so-thick-you-could-touch-it accent was buzzing around my cubicle all day, scolding the accountant, a slight, bespectacled, obscenely pale man with glasses, named Eugene.
"Yu-gene," she'd start, "why you don' do za numbers right? You need do like zis."
And then, five minutes later, "Yu-gene, I know you know how do zis, so why you don' do?" And then again, "Yu-gene . . . " This went on for six hours. For one crazy moment, I actually thought that giving Eugene a pirate hat would cheer him up. I couldn't understand why Eugene was so complacent. Not once did he talk back or express any agitation. I was more upset for Eugene than he was.
And then, at the end of the day, I finally got my answer. I went to turn in my timesheet to the manager.
"Oh no, sweetie, you need to turn that in to Eugene. You have to make sure you have his attention, though. Make sure you're looking right at him and speak slowly so he can read your lips. Eugene's deaf."
Monday, February 4, 2008
And it was true. Just as she once bravely walked into a voting booth at the last presidential election wearing a huge elephant T-shirt amongst a sea of donkeys, so I confidently stepped into a Boston bar during the Super Bowl, proudly wearing my Big Blue hat at the risk of certain death, or at least not being served alcohol.
Strangely enough, my only supporter in the crowd was an Eagles fan who was tired of hearing about the "mythical" Patriots, as if they were born of unicorns and capable of striking down the Giants with bolts of lightning on the field. I wasn't about to reject the one person in the place who didn't want to kill me, so I smiled and tolerated her Eagles-loving ways for a few minutes.
It was either entertaining her or one of the locals who had a Patriots helmet tattooed to his forehead.
Even though the situation looked bleak after the Patriots scored their last touchdown in the fourth quarter with only a couple of minutes to spare, I had complete confidence in my team. When the Giants won, a silence enveloped the bar that was quickly broken by my triumphant squeals. I immediately grabbed the phone to offer my congratulations and thanks to my dad, whose sacrifice to his personal hygiene by wearing his lucky blue socks for two weeks straight to secure a Giants win will sadly go unrecognized by the general public.
I turned my head and saw the biggest, reddest-faced Patriots fan in the joint all up in our grill. He was screaming at my Republican friend who hadn't been rooting for either team to win. She quickly pointed an accusing finger my way, "But she's the one with the hat!"
"I don't care! I'm talking to you!" the angry man sneered.
Little did he know that living in a hostile, liberal state for years had grown her some big, elephant balls. Still, I feared for the briefest of moments that I'd have to excuse myself from my conversation with my dad to whip some Boston butt.
Thankfully, the red-faced man's girlfriend came to his rescue and dragged him away from what would have been an even more humiliating defeat at the hands of a spunky blonde and pink corduroy jeans-wearing brunette.
Even though I've been living in Boston for quite some time now, I still was not prepared for the Patriots fans' reaction to the game. The newscasters covered the event as if it were a funeral. People at work were dressed all in black--a pathetic few refused to take off their Patriots jackets as they sat and typed up financial reports at their desks. One woman from Foxboro they highlighted on the six o'clock news was bawling her eyes out. "I can't believe they lost!" she cried. "Now what do we have to look forward to here? Our beefed up police squad and the new manager at Stop & Shop! That's it!"
I know I shouldn't be taking such joy at my fellow neighbors' depression, but it's hard not to when you've been dealing with the arrogance of Boston sports fans all season long. Come to think of it, maybe the Patriots are mythical after all. What is that Greek story about hubris again...
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
"My husband bought 300 tickets--he figures we have to win something with so many tickets."
"How much did that cost?"
"Six hundred dollars."
That opened my eyes so wide the pregnant lady immediately went straight into a rant about the incredible cost of having a baby ($100 sneakers not included). What is wrong with these people? Maybe if they weren't buying baby shoes laced with gold and $600 scratch-off tickets they wouldn't have to take the bus.
When I reached my stop, the girl was still scratching. I wished her luck and hopped off the bus, thankful that the hundredth ticket or so had lulled her into a silent trance, saving me from any more inane bus conversations. I had a good hour to kill before the interview. I found a cute cafe that served the best egg bacon and cheese sandwich I've ever had. I must've gotten a little too into it, because when I looked at the time after I licked off the last bit of melted butter from my fingers, forty minutes had passed. I had just enough time to make it to my interview.
I had walked the same route just a week earlier, so I was confident I'd have no trouble finding the place again. Why I had this confidence I have no idea. I once got lost for two hours running along the beach. It's a straight line. So of course I managed to stray off course and was only able to find my way again thanks to a very friendly school crossing guard. I looked down at my cell phone. I had only ten minutes to get to my interview, and I knew I had about a twenty minute walk ahead of me.
It was like that time I'd missed my flight while sitting at the gate all over again. I just couldn't be late to this interview. I quickly put my two-inch heel, backless loafers to work: I raced down the uneven, ice-covered streets, praying I wouldn't lose a loafer--or a leg--in the process. I can only imagine what a sight I must've been in my wool suit and long, beautiful white coat, running down the sidewalk like I was in some kind of corporate Olympics.
I made it just in time. Of course, my face was flushed and I was dripping sweat underneath my heavy suit, and my hair had an interesting tousled look, but I had made it. I might not have gotten the job due to my heavy panting at the start of the interview, but damn it, that egg bacon and cheese sandwich was worth it. Mmm... so buttery.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Of course, being the paranoid person that I am (and also one who has missed her fair share of flights), I left myself three hours to make the hour-long trip up north. I settled into the mostly empty bus, and two others, one homeless with an essence of smoked fish about him, and the other a pregnant lady who liked to end everything with “Sheeit” sat down next to me.
The bus driver appeared to be aiming for every pothole and pile of snow along the way, making for a fun, pin ball-like experience for me and my bus mates. When the woman next to me started a conversation about how she prayed her baby’s $100 sneakers would not be stolen like her last baby’s, I did my own praying that my three-hour tour would not end up like a certain other goofy sailor's. I mean, what newborn needs a pair of expensive kicks? Where is this baby going? And who on this planet would steal a baby’s sneakers? Twice? Sheeit.
Thankfully, we did not run into any tropical storms along the way up north, and I did not find myself stranded on a desert island with a maniac bus driver, fishy homeless man, and pregnant lady with her millionaire baby’s $100 sneakers.
I had about an hour and a half to kill before my interview, so I thought I’d find a nice sit-down café. Now, this town is a very beautiful place, it just doesn’t have a lot going on in town. I walked a mile in my heels before I came across a cute, small shop named, no doubt in a moment of brilliance, “The Little Shop”.
I was in desperate need of some caffeine, so I ordered a coffee to go, since the little shop was too little for such things as tables and chairs. I had basically walked into a miniaturized 7-11 and would not have been surprised if a Munchkin jumped behind the counter to take my order. The cashier asked how I’d like my coffee.
“I’d like a dark roast, please. French if you have it.”
My order was met with a blank, uncomprehending stare. “We got regular and decaf.”
If my face wasn’t already red from the cold, it certainly got there at that moment. I had just asked for French roast coffee in a model-sized store that sold chili dogs and pizza bagels.
Once I got my regular coffee and was sufficiently embarrassed, I walked back outside and found myself the lone walker amongst a sea of cars. The only ones who weren’t driving were very small carrying large backpacks, or were running very fast, in what may have been $100 sneakers. This was obviously not a place where one took the bus to get to.
Despite my little adventure, the interview went well and I made it back to the city just in time for my next interview, which was at 8:30 this morning in Canton, a good two-hour trip via shuttles, trains, buses, and taxis. Although it was a long commute, it was thankfully uneventful save for my Lebanese cab driver proposing marriage. It actually might not be such a bad deal. At least I wouldn’t have to take the bus again. Sheeit.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Nevertheless, this blog ain’t payin’ the bills, so I boldly pushed open the door to the outside world, ready to face the sub-zero temperatures. What I was not ready for was the hurricane-force wind that pushed me back inside. This was not good. In Boston, one should really be allowed to call in cold. Since that is not yet an option, I had to suck it up and pray that I would not get blown over the bridge I had to cross to get to work lest I be forced to doggie paddle the rest of the way there. On my trek, I passed a girl wearing a skirt and heels and whose legs seemed an odd shade of blue. I couldn’t believe it. There I was looking like Sir Ernest Shackleton leading an Arctic expedition while some chick walking in the same negative-ten-degree weather I was looked like she was trying out to be the next Pussycat Doll. She probably would’ve made it too if it hadn’t been for those blue legs of hers.
I quickly forgot about the poor, poorly-dressed girl with the Smurf legs as I faced the inevitable crossing-of-the-busy-road. I could barely see in front of me, and could see to the left or right only by turning my entire body from side to side. This doesn’t seem so bad until one considers how much movement gets slowed down by huge, puffy, Michelin Man coats. It took a good five seconds for me to swivel to my left and then to my right, in an odd, penguin-like movement, leaving more than enough time for me to meet my demise by Mack truck, or worse, bike messenger (those suckers pedal fast). I was, however, at a crosswalk, which to a Bostonian driver means nothing except the possibility of taking out an ill-informed tourist or two who thinks that one can actually cross at a crosswalk. I was hoping those same tourists would be behind the wheel that day, being the types who actually stop at crosswalks as well. Who needs to gamble in Vegas when you’ve got walking in Boston to get your adrenaline flowing?
No sooner did I stick a trembling foot onto the road, when a car sped up and whizzed by me, horn blaring. I instinctively jumped back and flipped my would-be murderer the bird, which wasn’t very effective in my woolen mitten.
Of course, this week the forecasters predict it’s going to be in the upper 50s, possibly even reaching the 60 degree mark tomorrow afternoon, reminding me of a Lewis Black bit:
“I was in Boston, Massachusetts, and in four days I experienced five seasons. It was 30, it was 60, it was 90, then it was 12, on the last day there was thunder, there was lightning, and there was snow… TOGETHER! And I hadn't done drugs, cause when you're lyin' in bed and you hear thunder outside, and you get up to look, you have an expectation. And it's not snow with lightning behind it. That's fucked up. They don't even write about that weather in the Bible. I imagine if a prophet had seen that kind of crap, after he wiped the poop out of his pants, he'd a told us about it!"
I have seen the type of weather Black has ranted about, and while I haven’t yet soiled my pants because of it, I am convinced that this can only be the coming of the apocalypse. Either that or it’s a sign (just for me) that I really need to move to warmer climes.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Last night, though, I got a surprise phone call from the concierge: my friend had flowers delivered to me for coming to her aid. I excitedly walked to my building's front desk to retrieve them. The flowers were beautiful: a combination of pussywillows, bluebells, irises, and white roses. The concierge told me that he had had to beat away women from them with his night stick all day. I told the concierge I approved of violence against women only in this case. There were two such women who happened to be standing by the concierge station at that moment. One of the older-looking women practically swooned when she saw the flowers and started gushing, "Oh! How beautiful! What's the wonderful occasion?"
I took a look at her perfectly coiffed hair, Luis Vuitton purse and Chanel suit. Oh shit. "Oh this? This is a little thank you gift from my friend."
"What a lovely friend you have. That's a gorgeous bouquet--you must have done something great to deserve those flowers?"
I nodded in agreement, "Yes, yes, I most certainly did. My friend got a little tipsy on New Year's. I was on vomit detail all night. I guess she was appreciative her house didn't smell like puke the next day."
The women looked at each other in horror. I just hoped they didn't live in the same building as me. I had thought about lying to them, but I just couldn't do it what with it being the new year and resolutions and what not. I don't need to start out the year with that kind of karma. Getting on your hands and knees and cleaning up other people's messes probably isn't the best way to start out a new year either, but hey, at least I came out smelling like roses.