Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's the Great Pumpkin, Boston

It started out as a bright, beautiful sun-shiney day. My friends and I headed out to breakfast at Moogie's, a local eatery, in shorts and t-shirts, as it was an unusually hot day in late September.

I had just enough time to scarf down a muffin with my friends before I had to drive down to the Cape for the weekend. I was just about to head out the door, when there was an unearthly crash of thunder, followed by a torrential downpour. I looked down at my little white t-shirt.

"Oh crap."

Much laughter ensued. All of it coming from my so-called friends.

"This isn't funny, guys! My car is parked three blocks away and I need to go now! What the hell am I going to do?"

"Why don't you see if they have a trash bag?" my friend Mel suggested.

"Great idea."

I walked back to the cashier and, after much smirking, the cashier went in back and returned carrying a humongous bright orange jack-o-lantern trash bag.

"It's all we have."

I returned to the table, carrying the trash bag like it actually had a load of trash in it.

"What the …"

"I know. It's all they have. Or say they say!" I turned to look at the cashier, who was still smirking at me.

"So what are you going to do?"

"What can I do? It's either this bag or being the only contestant in a wet t-shirt contest."

I ripped a hole in the bag, slipped it over my head gingerly--apparently forgetting I was putting on five feet of orange plastic and not, in fact, an expensive Christian Dior gown--and marched to the door.

"Remember to be back by midnight before the spell wears off!"

I banged the door closed to more sounds of my friends rolling on the floor with laughter. Outside, a complete storm was raging. To make matters worse, the wind was so strong, it was blowing up the trash bag so that I actually looked like the Great Pumpkin Linus has been looking for all his life.

I turned the corner and started walking down Commonwealth Avenue, a major Boston street, to the various sounds of car honks and screams of, "Look at that idiot!"

I was not more than five steps away from my car, which I had parked on a side street, when I heard a squealing of tires followed by a sickening crunch. I turned around to see the result of what could only have been a car, momentarily stupefied by the sight of a human pumpkin walking around in the light of day, crashing into the car ahead of him who was pulling out onto the street.

I hurriedly jumped in my car before I landed on the ten o'clock news.

The following Monday, I got an unexpected call from Mel at work.

"What's up?"

"So one of my co-workers came up to me today. She was like, 'My boyfriend saw the strangest thing this weekend …' "

"Oh no!"

"Oh yes. Apparently her boyfriend got in to a fender bender because of you. I'm not going to say anything to her, but if I were you, I'd destroy all evidence and never speak of this again."

When I got home, I ran to my car and grabbed from my glove compartment the monstrous neon orange bag that now seemed to be smiling evilly at me, not unlike the small bestial-looking stone that that archeologist finds in the beginning of The Exorcist, I was now starting to notice. I quickly ran to the nearest trash bin, not realizing that my shoelace had come undone. I tripped, releasing the trash bag into the windy night. And in the distance, a loud scream followed by the distinct sound of tires squealing in the night ...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Baby I (don't) Like It Raw

For my manager's birthday, on her request, our small department of four headed to Rawbert's, a cleverly named vegan raw food restaurant due to the owner's being named Robert, or "Rawbert," as the cafe's website says his equally-as-clever friends call him.

Upon stepping through the door, I crossed myself, said a little prayer, and figured at least I'd have something to cook the veggies with if I spontaneously burst into flames, having only hours earlier scarfed down an egg sandwich with about four slices of bacon and two sausage patties.

We were quickly greeted by a young orange waitress. If it hadn't been for everyone's height, I would've sworn we'd inadvertently stumbled upon Oompa Loompa land. All the waiters had bright orange faces, no doubt as a result from downing too many carrot juice shots. Say what you will about my rum swilling, at least I don't get mistaken for the Harvest Moon when I go out at night. A pirate, maybe, but I think we can all agree that getting mistaken for a drunken pirate is way cooler than getting mistaken for the moon, even a great big orangey one that happens once every four years during the fall equinox.

Upon receiving our menus, one thing that stood out was how every entree was wrapped in quotes. Diners had the option of choosing between such scrumptious delights as Guac and "Chips," Quesadillas with Jack "Cheese," Squash "Ravioli," and Spaghetti and "Meetballs." I appreciated how "meetballs" was written not only in quotes but incorrectly as well. Just in case an errant carnivore such as myself should happen to wander in and miss the quotes, the misspelling of meat would quickly confirm that what you were about to eat would taste terrible and nothing like an actual meatball and would, in all probability, cause you much digestive distress after eating such a monstrous aberration to the sanctity of cooked cow. Worse yet, every entree was accompanied by Buddhist-like deep thoughts, such as "How do I Awaken?" and "How am I Sensational?" I was tempted to write, "By eating slaughtered cows" in the margins.

I ordered the mocha "frappe" with cashew milk, which was a little concerning, as I hadn't known that cashews had teats. But it was the least intimidating item on the menu as far as I could tell--I mean, how badly could a bunch of orange vegans screw up a coffee drink?

Pretty badly, as it turned out. At first I thought I'd been served the runs in a cup. It was a gruesome brown color, the likes of which I hope to never see again. Froth bubbled up to the top, like some sort of witch's brew that might just turn me into a frog, or worse, a raw-food vegan. I held my nose and took a sip. Cashews, as it turns out, pump out really shitty milk.

Seeing as it was my manager's birthday, however, I had to be a good sport and down the foul concoction. I was nervous and uncomfortable, though, and to break the tension, I started babbling about the one comfort and light of my life, that which I can depend on even in my darkest of days to make me happy again ... yes, I started talking about bacon. I talked about the different varieties, how I needed it every day and how when I went to bed, I dreamed about it at night and counted the hours until I would see it again in the morning, how I yearned to smother it in chocolate ... I was talking about it so passionately it became borderline kinky. The lone vegan sitting to the right of us who was reading a book called--I kid you not--Green for Life, kept looking at me like I was talking about killing all the puppies and rainbows in the world.

As filling as my cup of fake coffee was, a fellow meat-loving coworker and I hightailed it out of lunch and hit up the Wendy's across the street, where we relished its ingenious new invention: the Baconator. As we exited the fast food chain--or, as I call it, church--I could've sworn I saw that lone vegan--eating his alfalfa sprouts and "nausage" patty--staring out the window at us enviously, salivating ever so slightly.