Monday, August 27, 2007

In the graveyard after dark…

Two Sundays ago, my favorite aunt & uncle unveiled their convertible, picked me up, and ventured into Boston for the day. Our first stop was the Museum of Science, which is one of my favorite places. When I was a brownie, we took an overnight field trip there. All I really remember from the night was the poprocks my friend Katrina and I ate once the lights were dimmed. For some reason, my parents thought it would be a good idea for me to have them. Our troop leader spent half an hour trying to figure out from where all the noise was coming, while the two of us tried desperately not to give ourselves away or to laugh. Anyway, I felt tremendous exhilaration walking through the museum and examining all the showcases, puzzles, and artifacts. The hall of electricity, the inner Earth, the dinosaurs, the human body exhibit, the chicks, the collections, just all of it fascinated me. Outside of my grown-up, gray office, boring world, an exciting universe exists. I fear adults forget that sometimes. We spent almost three hours absorbing all the information and stimuli throughout the museum before heading to dinner.

After dinner, we trekked across town to the Long Wharf where we reserved a tour for the evening. My uncle was unusually excited about this activity. I did not even think to ask what we were doing, as I assumed it was on par with what we normally do on our trips to Beantown. Very much to my chagrin, I discovered he signed us up for a ghosts and graveyard tour . I do not like scary things, not movies, stories, burglars trying to break into my house in the middle of the night or people scaring the crap out of me from the back porch while I sit at the kitchen bar doing my calculus homework. Not a fan. We jumped onto the trolley and found seats near the back. My aunt and uncle sat down, and I plopped down in a little seat in front of them. The scariest looking dude I’ve ever seen in my life lurked around the red trolley eying me with his devilish and slightly terrifying beady eyes. I immediately moved away from the opening and closer to my uncle. The sketchy man moved around the other side of the trolley. I moved toward the open end of my seat and turned to talk to my uncle because I thought it was safe until all of a sudden someone touched my shoulder. I screamed so loudly the entire city of Boston and its outlaying suburbs heard me for ten minutes straight. I almost died of a heart attack. Meanwhile, my aunt and uncle nearly pissed their pants from laughter. I told them it was not funny, and I thought this wasn’t a good idea. Of course my aunt said she knew he was coming. Hey, THANKS FOR THE HEADS UP, JERK! Needless to write, I was very jittery for the rest of the tour. Mr. Scary Dude, a.k.a Anthrax the Demon, hopped onto the trolley to give us an introduction. He started out by proclaiming some people can sense evil, looked at me, then pointed while saying, “like her, that one in the green” and smiled a very creepy smile. I could tell it was going to be a long two hours.

Anthrax turned out to be equal parts frightening and comical. We headed out to a graveyard on top of a hill, Copps, where we discovered all sorts of eerie things about the people buried there as well as the history about the graveyard. Of course, my aunt got yelled at for being a sinister distraction. She had a snide remark for a few of Anthrax’s comments. He was slightly amused yet perturbed with her. I thought for sure she was going to get us in trouble and we’d end up in a tomb somewhere under the streets of this Harbor Town. Luckily, she stopped before drastic measures were necessary.

The last stop of the tour was at the Granary Graveyard where my hero, Paul Revere, is buried. By this time, it was pitch black out and we had already “hanged” two of the people in our group, so you can imagine how unsettled I was. When the two crowds approached the graveyard, it was chained shut due to some municipal work on the street in front of the doors. Anthrax graciously got the key from the nice man standing there. He unlocked the gates, let us all in, then locked the gates again. He and his buddy went running off, screaming “Suckers!!” leaving us all there in the DARK, IN THE GRAVEYARD. Awesome. Seriously, do you want me to have a heart attack? I should have brought a flask. The group convened in the middle near Ben Franklin’s parents when a strange hairy and slightly uncanny man jumped out from behind the gravestone. That rocked. He proceeded to divulge all the details of the tombstones, the people encapsulated in them, and their families. Near the end of his diatribe, we gathered near a building at the back of the cemetery to discuss James Allen’s book about Highway men that was bound in human flesh. Mr. Hairy Tour Guide man was going on about this book and how it's covered is someone’s ass cheek when all of a sudden someone grabbed my shoulder. I immediately turned around and decked whoever it was square in the chest. He yelled "ouch" while I screamed. Everyone started laughing hysterically. Anthrax shot to the center of the crowd holding his shoulder. He pointed at me and said, “SHE HIT ME!!” I told him he was lucky it was only his shoulder and not to touch me again in the GRAVEYARD AFTER DARK! He smiled his disturbing little demon smile and took over the tour from there. Really, you want to take me on a tour of the graveyards at night? I think not. The rest of the tour was chat of the Boston Strangler, and also of the nutter woman who killed hundreds of people in a hospital and got away with it. Fascinating spine chilling I never need to know scariness. We finally arrived back to the Wharf where Anthrax let us off the trolley. My aunt walked by him first. He pointed and said in a very deep and disturbing voice, “YOU, YOU… were my favorite.” She laughed. Then I proceeded to sneak by when he bellowed, “NO YOU WERE MY FAVORITE!!!” then laughed. I just smiled and jumped off the stairs thankful to be done.

Despite how much it scared the crap out of me, I highly recommend this tour. Ask for Anthrax. He provided quality entertainment when he wasn’t scaring the bejesus out of me.

After the tour, we walked around the city for an hour in a desperate search for dessert. Unfortunately, nothing was open because the city apparently closes by 9. We retrieved the convertible and as a result of my insistence, we drove out of town with the top down. Who cares that it was only fifty degrees out; we had more important things to worry about, like finding dessert. Just outside of town on 93, we exited off the highway to grace the local Friendly's with our presence. They were closed. You would think a girl could find a brownie sundae on a lovely August evening. It was proving exceptionally difficult to find anything sweet at all. We proceeded on our quest completely determined to find a morsel-anything consisting of sugar that wasn't from McDonald's or Dunkin' Donuts. A bit further on the highway, we discovered another Friendly's only this one was open. The three of us indulged in completely gratuitous divine goodness before traveling home. I bundled in a wool blanket and huddled in the corner where I could look up and watch the stars while we cruised the highway. How awesome is the summer sky from the back of a convertible on a clear night? Spectacular.

(Let's just forget that I had to take a piping hot shower when I arrived home. It was worth it.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"GOING ONCE " ~ Ani Difranco

"going once, going twice
sold to the girl
who ignored all the advice
of all the people who knew better
she just stood there
on the front porch
waiting for her will
to come and get her

she was packed
she had a suitcase
full of noble intentions
she had a map
and a straight face
hell bent on reinvention
and she was ready
for the lonely
she was in it for
it only

going once, going twice
down the road less taken
with her diary and her WD40
and her swiss army knife
and her beer
and there was always
someone there to say
why don't you just stay
and hang your hat here

but she was packed
she had a suitcase
full of bungles and near misses
and she was swinging
through a jungle
of last calls and first kisses
and she was learning
about please
about huge humilities

then one day she looked around her
and everything up til then was showing
and she wondered: how did i get here
without even knowing where i was going?
now there's no getting out of this
and there is no going back
and it all seems so odd sometimes
and the odds all seem stacked

going once, going twice
sold to the girl
who ignored all the advice
of all the people who knew better
she just stood there
on the front porch
waiting for her will
to come and get her

she was packed
she had a suitcase

she had a map
and a straight face

she was ready
for the lonely

she was in it for
it only "

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"There is a Reason They Call me the Queen..."

Recently, I was invited to dinner at my friend Lo’s house where we would dine on her famous Thai Chicken Pizza. Before I headed to her and Mikie’s place, I went for a nice run around the bay. The local trails have a four to eight mile jaunt around the estuary where the city has a lovely path and free parking. I completed my workout and returned to my car where I was surprised to find the little white envelope illuminating the screen of my PDA. As much joy as that little icon brings to me, I DESPISE text messages. I mean they are in the top ten of things I really really do not like. I mean, right on par with Jager, Lobsters, and most girls. I realize there is a contradiction here as I do enjoy the image, so let’s just say Mr. Klein is right when he proclaims “she’s always and never the same.” I don’t like them, I just like that someone has something to say to me. Turns out, Mr. Houdini was back at stalking me via text message, which happens to be his preferred method of communication these past few weeks. I have refrained from writing about the awesome conversations because nothing ever came of them, and I was tired of having him parade around here like he deserved the spotlight.

Turns out he was dying to see me, so he wrote. I told him unless he was buying me lots and lots of ice cream, raising $3,000 for my current charitable cause (see left) or buying my car, I was busy and had NO TIME FOR HIM. For some reason, he has a very difficult time believing me when I tell him I am busy. I have refused to see him since Whit's birthday gathering at the pub. I fear I will not be able to get rid of him until I have my phone shut off in two weeks. Anyway, he was his usual arrogant self, which I ignored. I often teeter on the fine line of “ignorance is bliss” and I need to know. I chose the former for the evening, as I had a dinner date, and I prefer not knowing.

Dinner was outstanding. Lo’s pizza was the best thing I have ever eaten in my whole entire life. Better than WAWA mac & cheese, Fellini’s number 36, and even homemade donuts from the market. I could eat my friend's Thai chicken pizza every night of my life. I cannot adequately express how gloriously tasty this dish was. I am considering having it as my wedding meal should I meet someone brave enough to marry me. Not to mention as my last supper. No, I am not joking. I am dead serious here people. (Lo, you’ll cater right?)

After we finished our fabulous meal, Lo and Mikie were off to meet up with a friend of Mikie’s who was in town visiting. I thanked them tremendously for dinner, begged her to make it again, and made plans to talk later.

Once I returned to my car, I found my phone riddled with missed calls and messages. I finally responded back to him by writing, “Look, you’ve had more than nine months to hang out with me, it’s not my fault you’re feeling remorseful.” Then headed to the Hilton to shower and get ready for the evening. Of course the telephone did not stop convulsing but I am good at ignoring things, sometimes to a fault.

Around 10:30, Lo called me. I did not answer the phone because I thought it was Mr. Houdini again. I called her back to see whether or not she was still out and about. She told me she was still with Mikie and his friend, B, and B’s friends from high school. She was the only female in the crowd and requested some company. I told her I would join her at the pub shortly.

When I arrived at the bar, she greeted me by the door. I grabbed a drink and followed her over to Mikie and the boys. I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the group of males nonchalantly standing in the corner. First up, Mr. Houdini’s roommate. Second up, Mr. Houdini’s neighbor a.k.a. his former teammate from college hoops. I looked at Laurie and asked how she ended up with these boys. She told me they were the ones who were B’s friends from high school. She had met the Js before but didn’t really know them. She never met Mr. Houdini and definitely was not privy to the boys’ status as his friends. As we were walking over to the group I felt someone pull on my skirt. I turned around to find Mr. Houdini sitting at a table. I looked at Laurie and then at him. He smiled the biggest smile I’ve ever seen and said, “I HAVE BEEN CALLING YOU ALL NIGHT.” To his defense, I’ve never seen anyone so excited to see me. Never in all of my life. He immediately reached for me and insisted I sit down. I was so shocked at his presence I could not physically sit. I told him fate would have it that tonight was his lucky night to buy me drinks and to thank Laurie who I grabbed to question. I thought she was going to drop dead when she realized he was the one and only. Apparently, he hadn’t said a word in the last two hours and no one introduced him so she did not know who he was and when I asked him, he knew even less about her. Of course this would happen to me. Ladies and gentlemen, this is exactly why I hold the title of “THE QUEEN OF COINCIDENCES”. Since Laurie is one of my bestest friends, I believe she did not take a bribe from him, and since he truly does not talk to anyone but me it seems, I believe them both. I have not met anyone who has had more twists of fate than I. We cannot seem to figure it out so anyone out there who has an idea, please share it with me and my friends. It turns out, ignoring clueless boys is not the way to go people.

What the hell are the chances the two of them would end up in the same group of people that very evening? He had been contacting me all night, even before dinner. I JUST ATE AT HER HOUSE. It's not often I'm rendered speechless...

The group enjoyed a beverages at the pub before we locomoted to the next destination. Mr. Houdini continued his enthusiasm in gallant fashion. Laurie pulled me aside and asked if I was positive this was the same person about whom I tell stories. I told her it was him in the flesh. We all walked across the street to the other bar. He happily purchased beverages for me, held my hand, and kissed me on the cheek multiple times. He kept telling me he was so happy to see me. He was making a liar of me, as Lo kept shooting baffled looks my way. The other boys in the group were friendly as usual. Eventually, Mr. Houdini and I made our way to a table, Lo and Mikie headed home, and the boys congregated outside near our corner. This is when I don’t mind him. He is charming, cute, funny, and very affectionate. He doesn’t care that his friends are watching him try to maul me. While he is a man of very few (and I mean most people probably think he’s mute) words, he’ll talk to me non-stop the entire time we are out and about. This is the reason I give him the benefit of the doubt more than I should. I cannot seem to figure out whether he’s really an ass or just socially retarded because he has no problem admitting he doesn’t deserve to see me and asks me repeatedly when I’m coming back from Ecuador, as if it matters. My inability to decipher his actions makes this situation slightly 'irresistible'. He was pleasant, the rest of the evening was comfortable, and I am pretty sure Laurie thinks I’m a big fat liar. She even called me the next day bright and early to tell me so.

I wonder if this was a sick joke sent from the heavens to teach me just to deal with people….

Friday, August 10, 2007

Meteor Madness

On August 12 (this Sunday people) from late evening to predawn the next day, The Perseid Meteor shower will peak along with a new moon allowing the possibility of seeing more than 50 meteors an hour if you're living in the Northern Hemisphere. Find a spot nearly 40 miles from city lights, grab a blanket, and engross yourself in the rare showcase.

Anyone who wants to have a picnic at the beach to enjoy the festivities is welcome to join me. Hooray!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Food for Thought

I was fumbling through a magazine recently where I came across the following article:

"Every summer my husband and I pack our suitcases, load our kids into the car, and drive from tense crowded New York City to my family's cottage in Northern New England. It's on an island, with stretches of sea and sandy beaches, rocky coasts, and pine trees. We barbecue, swim, lie around, and try to do nothing...

One night, my husband and I decided to go out for a movie date. It was a Friday night, so all the tourists who flood the island in the high season had taken over, but we didn't mind. We ate lobster rolls on the bay, sat in the theater with our popcorn, and poured out with the rest of the crowd to get our car.

The tiny main street was clogged with traffic. My husband saw a shortcut and made a left onto a quiet lane. We chitchatted about the movie; we were relaxed, distracted, and removed from the stresses of the city. And it was during this pleasurable little moment that a young woman passing by us screamed, 'This is a one-way street, you asshole!'

In the silence that followed, I felt a fury overtake me. But there is a reason my husband's nickname is the Zen Master. Before I could think of a suitable comeback, he'd stopped the car, smiled at the woman, and said 'Hi.'

She looked surprised. 'Uh, hi,' she said.

'Just so you know, I'm really not an asshole,' Jon began. 'I didn't realize this was a one way because I didn't see the sign.'

The woman's complexion, previously tan, turned crimson. 'It's on the edge of the entrance,' she said quietly. 'It's easy to miss.'

'Okay,' he said. 'Well, I'm sorry about that.'

'No worries,' she said. 'I'm sorry, too.'

'See you around, then,' my husband said. 'Take care.'

'You, too,' she said.

And we drove off.

It's too easy to sum up a person's character in one negative instant, and it doesn't put anything good out into the world. We're all in this together."

(story from the August Oprah about Hope Davis and written by Justine van der Leun.)

Imagine if we all weren't so judgmental?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

It Was Just a Hug...

Last week was not a good week. Monday rolled by normally yet under a slight lid of trash can Oscarishness I sometimes cannot avoid for unapparent reasons. Then Tuesday brought in the storm that lasted most of the week. One negative event after another rolled over me until Thursday night. Circumstances and responsibilities led me to an indoor soccer game in which my former boyfriend was playing. The hour passed awkwardly as I tried to watch my friend play while avoiding watching him. Decidedly, this is a very difficult thing to do, especially when the two of them are on the same team. At the end of the game, I sat in the stands waiting for my friend with her little brother. I thought I could exit the arena without actually having to speak to him considering we seem to have avoided talking for nearly a year and three quarters. Of course this was wishful thinking because after the game he paraded right over to our spot in the bleachers, insisted on giving me a huge hug, and plopped down next to us where he proceeded to inquire about my upcoming journey and expressed some serious concerns about my safety. I was at a loss for what to do or say. The two of us only had a handful of non-couple encounters with only one being verbal. And the hug...If you could have seen me you might have died laughing because I just sat there looking at him. He hugged me while I put one arm around his back, gave a quick pat, and quickly removed my limb. The last time a male hugged me in a manner such as his on Thursday night was in December of 2005 when he hugged me for the last time as my boyfriend. Our conversation was brief yet friendly. He smiled at me, which just made me think, 'that is him'. I know you. Don't smile at me like that. Then he hugged me again and made me promise to send him postcards. We parted ways, and it was over just like that.

All night long I ruminated on the hug. I have no clear reason why yet I could not help but acknowledge it changed me. He has changed me in so many ways I often fight the urge to call to thank him; To tell him how much I owe him for making me realize a plethora of wonderful intimate details about myself I did not see before he came into my life. His departure has made me a better person because once he was gone, I was forced to take a profound look at who I was compared to who I wanted to be. Once again, he is unaware of the invisible mark he has left. His embrace near the stands of the soccer field made me realize I never again will settle for anything less. My precious time is reserved only for the genuine and worthy. The stark realization that I was wasting enormous amounts of energy and cerebral space on males who did not deserve it astounded me. What have I been thinking? What have I been doing? It needs to stop. He reminded me the potential for another amazing relationship is there if only I would clear a path. There was a time when I was some one's girl and he took great comfort and delight in having me in his life. Reciprocity exists.

Ernest contemplation felt as if a huge hammer hit me over the head, and once again I wanted to pick up the telephone to tell him thank you but refrained, as I knew I could never offer a proper explanation. Now that I remember what it is like to be hugged, I refuse to let hedonistic, arrogant, selfish pricks take up any of my time. The shamelessly incapable, immature, indifferent, and unworthy need not apply. This girl can dance by herself and is content waiting for the one who wants to dance beside her all night long.

Monday, August 06, 2007