17th Mar2005

Boston & The West-1

by Will

Zorak, it is OK if you are afraid of me. Most sissies are!”

BOSTON!!!

So, a few weeks ago, Shelly and I embarked upon a journey to America’s chowdah capital. Yes, folks, we’re talking BOSTON, MASS! For the uninformed, this trip was actually Shel’s Christmas present to me, and it was certainly the best present I’ve received in quite some time.

Our adventure began on the morning of February 24th, as we prayed the airports would stay open long enough for us to leave this God-forsaken town. There was more snow blowing around than on a model’s bathroom counter! But we hoped that the planes would stay aloft just to spirit us to our long-awaited, and well-needed vacation.

Either way, we made it to Boston, and received the longest cab tour possible. Way to pad the fare, my man! Imagine our surprise when we pulled up to the fabulous and magnificent Omni Parker House.

This hotel was like a palace! It was beeyootyfull! And my typing “beautiful” like that is exactly the reason we had NO BUSINESS staying there. The staff looked at us like, “What do you all think you’re doing here?” But the joke was on them, for we had reservations. Check-in was smooth, except they conveniently forgot to give us the key to the minibar. A problem we’ll soon rectify.

Anyway, we got started on the room service, a practice that would become quite common and welcome over the weekend. The dude brought the food, and I didn’t know a damn thing he was saying. What kind of weird patois do they teacj you Bostonians? It was like speaking to a drunk Kennedy (was that redundant?). Either way, it’s like a fast, New Yawky slur, topped off with random tidbits regarding the Sox. I was gonna need a Stiglitz guide to understand these folks!

Later that evening, we navigated the T system and found our way to Malden to have dinner with Big T and his sweet lady, Dawn. Tarek met us at the station, and we went grocery shopping with him. Apparently, he was going all Iron Chef that night, and preparing some sort of Mega Feast. When we’d finished shopping, we got to meet Dawn, who was even nicer than she’d come off electronically (after all, all my prior dealings with her had been over the phone or internet). But she’s a great girl and she kicks the ass of any of other Tarek Girl. We went back to their place, and had a HOT swinging session! I keed, I keed! No, they both prepared a lovely feast for Shelly and me, as we educated ourselves on the finer points of Tivo. We also got to meet their pet, who for the moment I’ll refer to as, “The Turtle Formerly Known as Otto Von Bismarck” (For more details, visit http://www.livejournal.com/users/palaedorian )

Tarek should be a chef! If you’d seen the presentation of this meal! Chicken fried rice, served inside a pineapple! Dumplings! Satay Gai! Chicken & pasta! Mint Ice Cream log! IT was all so de-lish! After dinner and the tour, we were off to visit Alisa, Shelly’s friend from high school. Well, the journey wasn’t that smooth. We kinda got lost on the T system. That bitch is confusing! I think it’d be easier to dig a hole to China than try navigating Boston on the subway. (Jenn’s gonna respond to this post, and all she’s gonna do is talk about that very line right there-bet you $20!) We found our way to the surface, but the surface dwellers were of no help. We were in the theatre district, and the patrons did not seem to see us.

So, Saturday was a split-up day: Shelly was gonna have a Girls Day, while I was gonna hang out with T. Originally, I wanted to record. It’s been awhile, and I wanted to throw together a new song to put up on the site. But when I woke up, i wasn’t really feelin’ the singing. Instead, I wanted Tarek to show me “his Boston”. My main sights to see were Cheers and the Harbor. other than that, anything was fair game. Before meeting up, though, I wanted to check out the neighborhood, as well. For starters, our hotel was next to one of the biggest Borders Books that I have ever seen. But I knew better than to explore that without Shelly. So, my mission was used CDs. You see, Boston’s got a lot of colleges. Which means lots of college kids. Which translates into big exchange scene for music. I figured I could find some premium used swag if I knew where to look. So, I hit Strawberries and bunch of other places, totally cleaning out Boston’s Elton John inventory. I’m sure they’re thanking me, and I can’t exactly explain this recent Elton kick. The man is awesome, though! A fucking loon, but awesome! But I digress…

After going in the wrong direction, i finally meet up with Tarek and Dawn. We decided to head to lunch in the North End, where there are more Italian restaurants than day laborers at Home Depot. On the way, we stopped by Newbury Comics. Let me tell ya, Newbury Comics is well-known chain in the Northeast that specializes in music and comics. Did y’all hear me correctly? Music and Comics. I’m gonna need a towel….

After Newbury, we looked all over the North End for a good, cheap lunch. We were in that nexus where restaurants were just finishing lunch and preparing for dinner, so the race was on. We found a nice little place. Kinda cliche. The sort of place you see in movies, where everyone who works there’s related and they’re yelling to each other at different ends of the restautant. Stereotypes be damned, the place was authentic. And I felt like such a fat kid ’cause I ordered a small pizza, but they told me they had a new kid working and the guy had accidentally used the large pans. So, I got a large but was charged for a small. Man, that was a LOT of pizza.

Anyway, we all decided that we’d go for karaoke that night, along with some of Alisa’s friends. I was excited ’cause it was KARAOKE!!! But T and Dawn weren’t so sure. They’re early birds. Didn’t want to mess up their sleep cycles. I gotta respect that. I kinda wish I had a sleep routine. But in a way, they’re like an old married couple. Yup, OLD MARRIED COUPLE!!! I’m gonna get a response for that! Anyway, I also thought it would be a great time to see Austin, an old buddy from Cornell, so i called him and invited him to the night’s festivities. Dawn and T decided they were in for karaoke, too. Shelly and the girls broke off, while the law offices of West, Sultani and Hersey checked out H&M and Filene’s. “You went to H&M on your vacation?” Yeah, I did. I had to check it out. See if they were meeting their standards. And they weren’t. I almost cussed out the bitch responsible for the Men’s dept. ’cause she was SO scared I was gonna mess up the rack! Amateurs… I headed back to the hotel, while T&D Productions headed back to Malden to get ready.

I caught up with Austin, and he was going to meet us at the bar. But When Tarek and Dawn found out how late we were planning on going, they bailed. Understandable, but they missed a good time. We ended up at this little redneck bar, but they took their karaoke seriously. Now, I love me some karaoke, but I’m a crooner. I don’t do “fast songs”. I do “make ya panties wet” songs. Yeah, I said it. Interesting fact: James uses me on his sex CD. Not quite sure how I feel about that…who am I kidding, i fucking LOVE that! So, imagine my chagrin when the ladies told me no slow songs. Apparently, they frowned on that at this particular bar. In the meantime, enter Austin.

Let me tell ya, Austin is one of my favorite people from Cornell. It’s funny, too, ’cause we didn’t start talking until around late junior yr, but he’s definitely one of the rare people who fall into the “I get Will and where he comes from” category. That’s a rare breed. In the past 2 yrs, our only contact had been online, but I knew I HAD to see him before leaving Boston. So, he walked into the bar, and pulled up a chair. And so began the drinking. He hadn’t heard me sing in awhile, and i was feeling a bit apprehensive, so he felt I needed some “lubrication”. He introduced me to Jagermeister. Now, understand if I was a bit apprehensive; no one I know has a good Jager story. they’re always like, “Dude, I had some Jager, and then next thing I knew, I’d killed a guy. Damn, was I sick the next day!”. But it didn’t take much coddling for me to give in. I must say, that stuff was good. We kept pounding them and Jack & Cokes as we waited for my song. In the meantime, Alisa’s friend did a mean rendition of Ice, Ice Baby. Eventually, my song came up: “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”, by the Temptations. Now, I’ve never attempted that song before but, in my drunken state, I was convinced I’d be able to channel the spirit of David Ruffin. To be honest, I don’t remember much of that performance. People cheered and stuff, but I equate karaoke to college a cappella: there’s a certain audience that enjoys it, and if you’ve got the right group of people, you could shit in a bag and they’ll still cheer for you. Regardless, it was fun and oddly therapeutic. We talked Austin into hanging out longer, and while we tried getting him back to the Omni Parker, he invited us to his place. We felt bad ’cause we didn’t wanna disturb his girlfriend, who was under the weather, but we went back anyway.

At the door, we met Tizer, the best dog in the world! He was awesome! So smart and frisky. Why is his name Tizer? Well, it’s actually short for “Appetizer”, a jab at the totally un-PC notion that Asian people eat their dogs. I thought that was a hilarious way to buck those kinds of stereotypes. Anyway, Shelly fell in love with Tizer, while Austin and I got all philosophical about our Cornell experience. I felt bad leaving Shel out of the conversation, but Austin and I had similar Cornell experiences, and it was so great to finally have someone to just vent to and get a lot of stuff off of my chest. And did we mention how awesome Tizer was? I wanna dog…So, around 4 Am, we bid Austin adieu and got a cab back to the hotel. It was a GREAT evening, and it kinda makes me wish Austin lived closer…

On Sunday, we found ourselves back in the North End, at a different Italian place. The food was INCREDIBLE. I’m not a person who’s used to “good” food in establishments. I can pretty much eat anything, but I rarely walk away thinking, “That was an incredible meal.” It usually borders on, “Man, I’m so full of shit right now!” Anyway, I find myself waking up, longing for that food lately. And I can’t even remember the name of the restaurant. Maybe it wasn’t really there…

We headed to Malden for sushi with Tarek and Dawn. I lost my sushinity and liked what I tried. Spider rolls are the bomb, and i find myself craving them like it’s my job! Philadelphia rolls, on the other hand, kinda suck. Can’t deal with that cream cheese in there. SUCH a weird consistency! Anyway, we went back to their place and watched the Oscars while consuming chocolate cake and Andre. What is Andre? Only the BEST cheap champagne this side of a 7/11! Check it out today! Soon, we were taken back to the T, and said our goodbyes to Tarek and Dawn. We didn’t spend as much time with them as we could have, but I enjoyed what time we did spend together.

On the ride back to the hotel, Shel and I had one final laugh about the billboard up on the train for 1-800-SAFE-BABY (I know that’s too many characters, so I’m sure I got something wrong there), Anyway, we’d seen these ads since our first day in town, and they were always funny in a sick kind of way. Apparently, Boston has a sizaeble newborn abandonment problem. So, if you have an unwanted baby and you’re thinking of dumping it somewhere, you call this hotline, and they’ll tell you where you can take your baby and avoid prosecution. A good service, no doubt, but it kinda makes ya wonder how big the problem is when there are ads for it EVERYWHERE!! I wish I’d stolen one of the ads from a train…

On the flight home, somehow, the flight attendant took an immediate liking to me. I guess that’s what I get for reading a comic/toy magazine in public. All of a sudden, there was an incessant stream of fanboy questions, such as “Which comic movie would you like to see that hasn’t been made yet?” Don’t get me wrong; these are my people, but you’ve gotta deal with them in doses. It’s a different story when you’re a couple thousand miles in the air, with no means of escape, PLUS this person is responsible for your comfort. Better put on a smile. Especially if you want a crack at the liquor cart. He was a nice guy, and I could totally go on for hours about comics stuff, but I had to harness it in public.

Epilogue:

Flashback: While I was in Boston, it was the weekend of the Montgomery County Auto Auction. I couldn’t go, but Mommy was really excited about it. Her mission was to get me a car, She’d always promised, “If you get your license, I’ll buy you a little car.” So, after my cousins had had success at the auction, she decided that she was take that route as well. So, the mission was simple. My only specification? “Don’t buy me anything ugly.” So, all day Saturday, I was tense ’cause I was supposed to be a good guest for Tarek, but i was also wondering whether or not I had a car. So, around 7, I called Mommy and asked how the auction had gone. She sounded kinda distraught, and i was getting worried. She started with some story about a nice Lexus she’d seen and bid on, but how it was snapped up for about $15K. And then she trailed off. I got kinda testy and asked if she’d bid on any other car. She wasn’t cooperating, which just got me more stressed. Finally, she said, “I got you a car.”

There it was in my driveway, lightly dusted with snow. Yup, she got me a 1993 Anniversary Edition Honda Accord, or as I like to call him: the West-1. We’ve still got some work to do, such as buy a new battery and a tire, so the West-1 will be in drydock for a few more weeks, but stay tuned for the unveiling.

And that, folks, is the tale of a little trip to Boston. I’d like to thank Tarek, Dawn, Alisa, Erin, Austin, and the staff of the Omni Parker House.


(not actual car)