The end of my driveway is marked on either side by an 8-foot hill of frozen, dirty snow that extends 7 feet into the road. The driveway mounds are massive. There could be people in there, in all honesty. In order to get out of my driveway, I need to maneuver carefully around those monsters with a 12-point white-knuckled blind turn.
What is the rational response to this frigid claustrophobia? I don’t know, but my irrational response is impotent rage. I’ve kept it under wraps so far, but my inner monologue goes like this: “Ngahhh! Beep-beep! Whores!! Hatehatehate!”
I want you to find a recent weather map. Got it? Ok – Is it just me or does some angry god have a vendetta against the Boston area? It just keeps coming, and every storm is aimed at us. Also note that we have a charming historic transit system that breaks down in the cold, just like it did in 1897. History comes to life!
There is nowhere to put this snow. Nowhere. This much is clear. You can shovel snow and throw it on top of the nearest snow mound, only to have it roll off the mound and back down to your feet, as if to mock you. I waved to my elderly neighbor yesterday as he essentially poked weakly at the end of his own 8-foot driveway mound with a shovel. I felt sad for him. For all of us.
It’s cold. It’s going to get colder, somehow. And the weather people show open disdain for commoners like me . I read headlines like “Think It’s Cold? Just Wait ‘Til You See What We Have in Store For the Weekend!” Fuck you, cheerful weather man. Right in the eye. Right. In. The. Eye.
Also, I’m trying to write a screenplay that tells the story of a depressed, recently divorced woman and her miserable winter in Boston. It’s a dark comedy. Write what you know, they say.
I apologize for the rant. And for the weirdness. I stand by the weather man thing, though.
Here are ten important facts about me that have led me to abstain from dating. You’re welcome for not foisting myself upon the single straight men of the world.
1. I don’t believe in anything, and I’m not a very good liar. So if I’m the person with you in your last moments on earth, I probably won’t make you feel hopeful or comfortable with your mortality. I might even make you feel worse.
2. I take pleasure in being cranky, and I have no intention of changing this. I revel in my misery.
3. I don’t eat meat or poultry or fish, so steak and seafood restaurants are out. Also, mushrooms make me feel like someone took a fireplace bellows and pumped my stomach with air. It’s unpleasant.
4. I’m allergic to cats and dust and probably my own boogies.
5. I live in Boston, stubbornly, despite despising cold weather and feeling no love for snow. I take sick pleasure in driving maniacally in the city. I love this city. Because I love pain, apparently. It feeds me. I am a study in creative masochism.
6. I form weird alliances with inanimate objects which, when crossed, put you on my enemies list. You must understand and accept my long-standing relationships with: My ancient and wonderful Camry, my grandfather’s steamer trunk, my weird, fluffy grey zip-up cardigan sweater.
7. Sometimes I read great literature and enjoy theater and the arts. But I am not above binging on the worst television ever produced by man. I fall into a trap, lured by dark fascination, then subdued by laziness, schadenfreude, and sense of superiority over the morons that parade across my screen.
8. I might murder you. Sometimes, when I’m sitting in traffic, standing on the subway platform, or sitting in a meeting, I consider what would happen if I randomly murdered someone for no good reason. So far, I haven’t acted on the impulse. So far.
9. I may or may not have bored a snail to death. I live alone with some plants, and an aquarium filled with fish, shrimp, and frogs. I had a snail. He committed suicide after several attempts last year. I think maybe he saw something through the glass that bothered him, but who knows? I was left with a lot of questions. He went out with the trash, since I didn’t think flushing a snail shell would be a good idea. Maybe that was disrespectful.
10. Without coffee, I am nothing. An empty track suit. A social security number and a dental record. A dying house plant. Without my daily coffee ritual, I am unable to hold a conversation with you, or retain any of the syllables that have been thrown in my direction during that time.
I wanna shoot the whole day down. It just got off on the wrong foot, and then it stumbled awkwardly on that wrong foot from hour to hour like a drunk in an old-timey picture show.
First, I woke up in a crap mood. I had a dream that was vaguely boring and vaguely annoying that left me feeling equal parts bored and annoyed when I woke up.
It was cloudy outside. My pajamas felt all twisty. I could have used another hour of sleep. I was thirsty for juice, and I had no juice. What smells like onion? Everything was wrong, but it was just a bunch of inconsequential little things.
It had been foretold. Even my horoscope has been warning me to just sit this month out. Mercury is retrograde and something about eclipses forming a kind of Bermuda Triangle of unremitting badness and blah blah blah. Basically, I need to lay low until everything is done eclipsing.
But I don’t believe in astrology. I believe in science. So I said “to hell with this,” took a hot shower, put on a black dress and my black knee-high boots, pulled my hair back in a pony-tail and started my day like a champ.
Things begin to fall apart. I got in my car and noticed I was low on gas. No problem, I thought. I’ve got this. I pulled into the Hess station and filled the tank. Paid with my debit card. While I was filling the tank, I put the debit card on the trunk of my car. I distinctly remember thinking “Don’t forget the debit card. Boy would it suck to lose your debit card. Ha ha.” (We all know where this is story is headed at this point, right?)
I got back into my car and drove in to my office. Found a space – filled the older meter with quarters. No problem! Attended a couple of meetings, got some work done, and headed back out to move my car when the 2-hour meter was up. Found a new space, parked, pulled out my wallet to pay the meter with my debit card and…IT WAS GONE OH MY GOD, YOU NEVER EXPECTED THAT, DID YOU?
I searched my car. I searched my jacket pocket. I went through every card in my wallet multiple times. I looked in every likely and unlikely place for the debit card. I knew on some level that it was gone forever — that the triangle of celestial doom had cast it’s evil hoo-doo on my debit card as punishment for my hubris.
Every stranger that passed me on Boylston Street seemed to be laughing at my woe like a Greek chorus. Taunting me.
The wind. It’s important to note that it was a particularly windy day in Copley Square. Back Bay tends to be windier than other areas of town, so on a gusty day, you can find yourself walking into the wind at a 45-degree angle, screaming — but producing no audible sound.
When I finally accepted that the debit card was gone, I fished out some quarters, fed the meter, got my little meter-sticky to attach to the inside of my driver’s side window. Just when I was affixing the meter sticky to the window, a great gust blew up from under my legs, sending my dress up, up, up and into my face, exposing my undercarriage while I struggled to hold onto the very important sticker (bought with the last of my available funds).
I don’t understand why Marilyn Monroe seemed to enjoy the gusty up-skirt experience. I guess she didn’t have the meter to contend with, or the astrological admonitions. All I know is that I did not look or feel glamorous in any way. I hope to Christ nobody caught it on camera.
Minutes later, a plastic shopping bag came flying toward my face as I crossed Copley Square to go to my bank. I punched it away with the grim resignation of a hardened soldier.
I wanted to write something brilliant and profound this weekend, but the heat and humidity in Boston was prohibitive. On Saturday, my apartment was 90 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity of Oh-Who-Cares-Anyway? It was one of those days that meteorologist Dick Albert used to refer to as “a case of the muggies.” It’s a slow disaster. You envision tossing your less-than-useless warm-blooded body into the harbor, but that would take effort, so you just eat popsicles and watch the veins in your arms swell like firehoses.
I escaped for a couple of hours to a café to write. The place was packed tight with other heat refugees and their smells. I scored a small table, but was wedged between two couples. The couple on my left did not speak, but smiled into each other’s loving gazes as they entwined and then re-entwined their fingers endlessly. Endlessly. From the edge of my vision, I was witness to a good 45 minutes of finger entwinement. It was the manual equivalent of the “I love you more”/”No, I love you more” argument spun into an infinite, real-time, looping gif that can’t be closed, ever.
What do you do with that? There’s no law against being an insufferably adorable couple, apparently.
Well, you could turn and be distracted by the couple to the right. The guy was seated right next to me. I couldn’t catch a glance without being very obvious about it, so I can’t comment on him except to say that he had a tall-guy voice, and that he seemed to let the woman do the talking. And the woman – who was seated across from me, was talking non-stop, seemingly about the guy’s troubled relationship – with someone else.
Again – what can you do? As far as I know, I do not have the right to stand and condemn this blatantly obvious manipulation/seduction/ego-twaddling that was happening within arm’s length. I just know that when she twisted her hair around a finger and said “You know, you can definitely stay at my place for as long as you need to – to… clear your head,” that was my cue to knock back my latte and leg it out of there.
Back into the sweaty, hive-like busy streets of Back Bay. I bought new living room drapes. Then I went home, put the drapes up, took another shower, had a popsicle, watched the drapes drape. Because that’s all I had in me.
Have you noticed your kitchen sponge acting out? Your coffee table intentionally tripping you up? The rise of the machines (and inanimate objects) is upon us. It is time to tell them who’s boss. These are my contributions. Tell me yours.
Dear ticket machine at the Alewife Garage in Cambridge, I hear it in your feminine robo-voice — you despise me. Why? All I do is pull up and roll down my window, the ticket is dispensed , and you sneer “Take the ticket.” — your voice dripping with disdain. What is your damage, robo-garage-ticket lady? You don’t actually end the request with “…you piece of shit ticket-taking loser, unworthy of 5 seconds of my ticket-giving time” but it is clearly implied.
Dear canister of Comet Cleaning Powder under my kitchen sink, Continue reading