Americaphiles

The Story Of My Fucking Life

Twenty-four

Posted by ilbebe on December 24, 2008

On Sunday, July 8, 2007, I was leaving Cape Cod, Massachusetts, after the wedding of my oldest friend, Benji Davies.  Home for the night was East Boston, where I was going to stay with some friends I had stayed with a few nights earlier. Instead of taking the freeway, which I knew would horribly congested, I left in the late afternoon and took the local highways, stopping for a while in several little towns and searching in vain for a Cape League baseball game to attend. It was a lovely afternoon.

I stopped in Buzzards Bay, a small town located on the north side of the Bourne Bridge, for a slice of pizza and a beer, and crossed my fingers as I headed up Massachusetts state highway 25 towards I-495, which would take me to I-95 into Boston. Things were going smoothly until just a few miles before the juncture of I-495 and I-195, when traffic ground to a halt. I took a few deep breaths and thought about other ways I might kill some time to let the traffic ease up. Mini golf had been on my mind for a few days, but it was approaching dusk, and I figured my chances of finding an open course were slim. Thus it seemed an act of the divine when I saw a mileage sign informing me that Providence, Rhode Island was only forty-four miles away.

I got onto I-195 and headed west, stopping once at a Dunkin’ Donuts for some coffee. I was listening to an NPR program about scientists who are also Wiccans, and the description of their multi-faceted pursuit of the meanings behind divine mysteries was nicely complemented by the insane thunder and lightning storm that came out of nowhere, as storms often do in New England. I got off the freeway in downtown Providence around nine and resolved to drive around until I found an Irish pub, which turned out to be Patrick’s Pub on Smith Street. I walked up to the bar and found myself the casual third member of a conversation between the bartender and his friend Brian about a friend of Brian’s who had caused a scene at the bar the night before. Apparently, it hadn’t been the first time.

Brian continued to regale me with tales of buying weed from Puerto Ricans that turned out to be laced with angel dust, getting into a fight with a bridesmaid at this brother’s wedding, and dating a teenage born-again Christian for three weeks before he realized she wasn’t really twenty-two.

I left Providence around eleven in a fucking great mood. The drive back to Boston included stopping at another Dunks for more coffee and listening to a live broadcast of some Monty Python members and Keith Olbermann re-creating the Holy Grail. I got to the People’s Republic in Cambridge just in time for last call, wandered around after the bar closed leaving my youngest sister a ludicrous birthday voicemail, and found Lee Street, so I took a picture.

I still didn’t have a place to stay. My friends who I’d stayed with in East Boston hadn’t returned any of my calls, so I figured I’d drive around until I passed out.

It is really fucking easy to get lost in downtown Boston. At one point I was going the wrong way down a narrow, brick-lined alley, cursing Paul Revere and the horse he rode in on. I got on some freeway and finally realized I was heading west instead of north when I had to STOP AND PAY A GODDAMN TOLL. After being fleeced of a dollar for my stupidity, I took out the map, figured it out, and shortly thereafter I was asleep on the lawn behind the public library of Reading, Massachusetts.

Mosquitos and rain woke me after an hour, so I got some coffee and got back on the freeway. I stopped at a rest stop to use the bathroom and found a small bottle of cologne on top of a newspaper rack, and a mere hour later I was in Concord, New Hampshire, thanks to the more traditionally dense development of the original thirteen.

Insane In The Brain came on the radio as I cruised into my old hometown of Contoocook, New Hampshire at dawn. I stopped by the Gould Hill Orchard, the Maple Street School, my old house on School Street, my friend Benji’s parent’s house on Penacook Road, and got coffee and a donut at Mister Mike’s, across Main Street from the old Bank of New Hampshire. I bought a bagel at the Cracker Barrel in Hopkinton, cooled my heels in Kimball Pond, and called my best friend Casey on the phone. I remarked to myself upon how good it made me feel to visit little memorial groves all over New England that commemorate the American Revolution, and the men who gave their lives for it. I was strolling to Hopkinton High to see if there was a comfy place to sleep in the forest behind the school grounds, and ran into Benji’s stepfather outside of the post office, 03229, where my father used to work as the night janitor.

My father told me recently that there were nights where he laid in bed, sleepless, wracking his brain to figure out how to make enough money to keep me and my sisters and my mother safe and clean. He worked at a grandfather clock factory just long enough to get a free grandfather clock, and one time he made me return a hundred-dollar bill given to me by my eccentric great uncle, who made his small fortune selling vacuum cleaners.

As my father often says, you don’t plant corn and get tomatoes. I’ve wasted a lot of time being angry with my father, but I’m changing my tune. I’m gonna make up for that time spending the rest of my life trying to make him proud.

And keep in mind, everything I do for anyone, I do for myself as well.

Peace.

12:18 PM, 11/17/08, 12:21.

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