I recently had dinner with someone from Boston. Even worse, someone that was from Boston that still spoke fondly of the town. If you’ve spent any time with me, you know I hate Boston. Well, I don’t know that I hate the city itself. It’s quite lovely actually. I really enjoy taking the train trip when I have meetings there. The parks are nice and I enjoy the architecture. I guess I just hate Bostonians.
I think that might be one of the strengths of my marriage. I’m fairly certain it brings Rocco comfort to know that despite my total and complete lack of interest in baseball, I will never ever EVER root for Boston. I’m told this is a fairly big deal for a Yankees fan. So thanks Boston for the one nice thing you ever did.
While this deep seated hate has grown over multiple visits and years, it was one particular event that inspired our rift. Despite my multiple attempts to start anew and give her another try, Boston just steals my ice cream, knocks me down, and kicks me in the face while blasting Rod Stewart every time I visit her. Bad form, Boston. I mean, really.
So back when I was in college (Fight, fight inner light – kill Quakers, KILL!), I sang with the Guilford Choir. What can I say – I always rolled with the artsy types. Of course, as an accounting major I was more drawn to the scholarship you received if you gave up your spring break to tour with the choir.
The system was this: Each night we’d stop in a new town and perform at a local Quaker church. The church would feed us before we performed, then various families would provide us with lodging and breakfast in their homes. Before you go thinking I’m any kind of respectable, I should point out the rest of the day was spent drunk off our asses singing raunchy songs on the bus and occasionally lunching at the Western Sizzlin’…not exactly pious. It was still spring break, after all.
So it was my first year in choir and I didn’t really know anyone yet. That’s how I got paired with my roommate, Bare-Midriff-Katie. No, we were not fast friend. Yes, she was as pixie-esque as she sounds, but without the charm. She was maybe four feet tall, and weighed about seventeen pounds (fifteen of those pounds were boobs and blond hair). And she never covered her stomach. Even her winter coat was cropped. I occasionally had nightmares about her belly button talking to me and convincing me to commit horrible crimes while we slept.
She also never looked at you during a conversation. Maybe it was due to a crick in her neck preventing her from looking the two feet above her head to make eye contact, but that seems a stretch (pun intended). I saw it happen with people of perfectly normal height, too. Her eyes were almost always closed. She’d build momentum with every statement, jerking her head toward you but keeping her eyes closed and eyebrows raised the entire time. Then suddenly, at the end of a sentence, her eyes would pop open for punctuation. She was too vain to wear her glasses though so usually her eye pop was slightly off mark. All very disconcerting. But Bare-Midriff-Katie and I were destined to share every sleeping breath for the following week. Hoo-frickin-ray.
When we all showed up to board the bus, I was dumbfounded at the sight of Bare-Midriff-Katie’s luggage. It was this navy blue, hard-shelled monstrosity on wheels – easily four times the size of the girl. Of course she didn’t wheel it there herself. She’d batted her unfocused eyes at some unsuspecting boy who happily gave himself a hernia dragging the big blue monster across campus.
The tour was generally uneventful and entertaining…until we got to Boston. Dinner was fine, the performance was fine, then Bare-Midriff-Katie, her luggage, and I jumped into the car with our host family for a remarkably unpleasant twelve hours.
The peeps lived in a townhouse somewhere in the wilds of the greater Boston area. We visited briefly to be polite, then were shown to our room. The space doubled as an office/guest room with bunk beds smooshed against one wall. Since, Bare-Midriff-Katie’s legs were too stumpy to make it up the ladder, I took the top bunk.
Thank goodness for her stubby legs, because the husband (or Pervo as I like to call him) kept trying to catch us in the act of changing into our pajamas by constantly “forgetting” things in the office. Of course there was no lock on the door. I asked Bare-Midriff-Katie if she was comfortable with the situation.
“You’re just being…” she started as she craned towards me blindly. After a dramatic pause the eyes flew open and shot daggers somewhere above my left shoulder as she spit the word, “…paranoid!”
I shook it off and we brushed, flossed, washed, flushed, and crawled into our respective bunks. I laid on my side and thought about some of the zanier parts of the day as I listened to Bare-Midriff-Katie snore like a lumberjack. After about twenty minutes, I noticed the door handle turning. Pervo poked his head in and gazed wistfully at the bottom bunk. After a beat, his brow furrowed and he withdrew his head, shutting the door.
This happened just about every hour, on the hour for the remainder of the night. If I had been thinking clearer, I probably would have wedged Bare-Midriff-Katie’s ginormous luggage against the door for security. But as his focus was on her and he seemed hesitant to act on his urges, I figured Pervo was a limited threat. Clearly I had somewhat squashed my fight or flight instinct with a week of excessive alcohol consumption. Somehow I still had trouble sleeping…go figure.
The next morning, we packed up and made our way downstairs to the kitchen. Pervo had apparently left for work quite some time ago (but no earlier than 5am I can guarantee you). The wife was slamming coffee mugs around and emptying the dishwasher. Clearly she was also aware of Pervo’s late night excursions and was blaming us.
“I don’t have time to take you to the church,” she spat at us. “I’ll drop you at the train. You can buy a bagel or something there.”
Reality check. I may be a city gal these days but as a nineteen year old from North Carolina I was not ready to navigate the Boston train system. And no, Bare-Midriff-Katie was not going to be of any help.
Dumbfounded we ran upstairs to grab our belongings. As promised, she drove us to the train station…though I’m not sure the vehicle ever came to a full and complete stop. She shouted the stop where we should get off through the window as she sped away. Bare-Midriff-Katie seemed dumbfounded that her wiles had not wooed this family…little did she realize.
Of course Bare-Midriff-Katie broke at least three nails trying to maneuver her ginormous suitcase down the stairs into the station. We figured out where to buy tickets and searched through our pockets to scrounge up enough change. (Everything on the trip was paid for so neither of us was exactly flush.)
Somehow we found enough money and even found the right train. Feeling high from our success and the lack of sleep, I even graciously helped Bare-Midriff-Katie with her SUV of a bag. Our success continued as we unloaded from the train at the correct stop. Our fellow commuters were not exactly thrilled with our baggage during the morning rush, but I took the hostility in stride. It did make me crabby enough I didn’t help Bare-Midriff-Katie drag her albatross up to street level.
We emerged from the depths into the blinding light of a snow covered plaza. To this day I have no idea where the hell we were. On that day I had absolutely no idea where the hell the church was in relation to said plaza, either. Bare-Midriff-Katie dragged the wheeled monstrosity briefly through the three feet of snow, sighed dramatically, and perched daintily on the edge as she panted, waiting for me to figure out what to do next.
I tried to ask a few pedestrians if they knew where we could find the church in question. I was yelled at, knocked with an elbow, and spit at. I wandered to the four corners of the plaza looking for anything familiar. I shuffled through the frozen sludge, utterly defeated and on the verge of tears. I was doomed to spend the rest of eternity in this hell hole with the Satan’s purse dog.
Suddenly there was hope. A friendly looking older gentleman gently put his hand on my shoulder. “Are you lost, Honey?”
I bit my lip, looked at him adoringly, and fought back the tears of relief as I nodded yes.
His eyes widened, then hardened into a callous smirk. “Good,” he snarled in my face. “Fuckin’ stay out of my town,” he mumbled as he strode away.
Obviously I made it out of there alive…I even made sure Bare-Midriff-Katie made it onto the bus. But I got no love for that town. Not a bit. I wont even eat their baked beans, the bitches.