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...