Wednesday, January 18, 2006
boston sports, boston irish, boston weather
I went to Boston from Thursday until Monday. If I write another “NYC vs. Boston” post, I think you all might finally turn on me and start waiting outside my apartment for me to come home. Not in the way you usually do (to seduce me), but in a new dangerous way (to verbally abuse me – your original intention at first would be to physically attack me but upon seeing me you’d be surprised at how big and strong I look and would instead stick to insults).
So I won’t compare New York to Boston like I normally do. The differences between the two and my feelings for these cities have all been well-documented on this site, especially here. But there is one thing that I get in Boston that I do not get in New York City: an insane and possibly unhealthy amount of sports talk.
More than I let on (because when I do talk about it I get harassed by non-sports fans), sports are a very big part of my life. If I had to list the things I love most, my top five might go something like:
4) When Elvis Costello sings “She”
5) Getting fucked up on red wine and singing “She”
But of my friends in New York, none are very big sports fan. Don’t get me wrong –most will watch sports, understand them, and would consider themselves casual fans. But nearly all of my friends in Boston – from Joe and Bill of the Baldwin Brothers costumes to Site Guy Brendan – are sports lunatics. On Saturday, six of us sat in an apartment for nine straight hours watching football and I don’t think we even once said anything that wasn’t sports-related. One of my buddies broke up with his serious girlfriend only the day before and we didn’t realize it until EIGHT HOURS into hanging out with him, when one of us, finally noticing that his phone wasn’t ringing with her calls, said, “So [girlfriend] is really leaving you alone to watch the games, eh?” He gave us a quick recap and it was back to why Pittsburgh had a legit chance the next day to beat Indy (espoused by my buddy Cuse, scoffed at by the rest of us – good for him).
And my god, it was awesome. In a perfect world, I would work in sports in some capacity. Ideally, it would be fullback for the Philadelphia Eagles, point guard for the Sixers, or third base for the Phillies (I can’t skate, so forget hockey), but I realize that certain physical limitations preclude me from such activity. I don’t think you can play professional basketball if every time you get a boner you also get a headache because it’s “just too much work”, but I’m not throwing in the towel on this dream entirely.
But I don’t work in sports. I shouldn’t complain, because right now I don’t work at all. And really, the whole law firm gig didn’t work out too bad for me, either. This paragraph is quickly becoming moot. Let’s hop to the next one.
MY POINT: I love going to Boston because I love sitting around and talking sports. I am a simple man. All I want to do is drink beer and watch either a) VH1 Classic; or b) sports. My friends in NYC take care of “a”, while my friends in Boston take care of “b”. I should be and I am grateful to be able to have both options. Of course, it would be nice if at least ONE of my friends knew at least ONE attractive girl who maybe had a couple of friends, one of whom would be interested in someone kinda famous. But perhaps that’s asking too much right now.
[I really don’t know why I even go to bars anymore. Spending between $4 to $6 for a drink so I can stand with the same group of people I’ve been friends with for years so we can not talk to girls and make fun of people is starting to lose its appeal. I guess I’m getting old. Or I’m dying. Probably both.]
The saddest thing about Boston is that last call is at 1:30am, a time when my friends and I are getting ready to go out in NYC. I can see the merits of the 1:30am last call. Really, one doesn’t need to drink alcohol until 4 in the morning on the weekends, making their Mondays the most unbearable day of the week. And maybe if I stopped boozing at 1:30, I would wake up earlier on the weekends and have semi-productive days. As opposed to in NYC, when I am finally up and about at 4pm and spend the next two hours getting ready to drink again (usually this starts about 7). So yes, the early last call has some benefits.
But I see none of these benefits when I’m in Boston, drunk at midnight. On this aforementioned Saturday, we were ready to leave the apartment at 12:30, entirely acceptable in NYC but not so in Boston. We talked about options for a while, but then it was decided that we’d try this shady Irish bar that serves until 3 (!). Off we went in the pouring, freezing rain.
I’m not really sure what happened over the next few hours. Not just because I was shit-bombed, but because it was pretty surreal. First, the exterior: the bar is in a bad neighborhood and it’s unmarked. I’m from the streets (mother fucker), so this didn’t bother me. But this is not a side of Boston I’ve seen before. There are really only a handful of bars that my friends and I frequent up there, and they range from classy joints to Masshole bars to sports bars to glorified dives (bars that try to look divey but in fact charge $5 per beer). This was a real deal dive.
Second, when we went in just before 1, it was empty – just a bunch of Irish-ass bartenders and some barflies. Forty-five minutes later, it would be packed and would stay that way until after 3. Between the smoke, the accents, the yelling, and the drinking, it was like being in a Dublin after hours club. Actually, a Dublin club would be too cosmopolitan; this would be like a [insert rough Irish town here] after hours club.
Again, details are fuzzy, but my buddies and I were probably the only non-Irish people in there. The bathroom became a smokers’ lounge. Tons of Irish dudes packed in their smoking cigarettes, cursing and carrying on. I often get stage fright, so I think I peed only once the whole night. It’s not easy to make it come out when some drunk Irish guy is leaning against you, swaying back and forth, and speaking incoherently.
[Editor’s Note: It is illegal to smoke in bars in Boston, which is why they took it to the bathroom. But the irony here is that everyone was smoking in the bar anyway, completely disregarding this rule. So it was like these guys chose to smoke in the bathroom. I got this inkling when I saw one Irishman bring into the bathroom a fresh pint of beer for his buddy. Totally fucking weird.]
At one point in the night, my buddy Cuse had to go get money from an ATM at a nearby gas station. This gas station was located across the street from a homeless shelter. Regular readers know that I have a love/hate relationship with the homeless. On the one hand, I love them because I love to make jokes about them. On the other, I dislike them because I know that one day, probably sometime soon, one of them will end my life. I just know this.
The bartender warned Cuse (so nicknamed because he is from and loves all things Syracuse) to be careful, that the neighborhood was dodgy. Cuse brushed it off and went on his way. When he got to the gas station, he noticed three shady middle-aged guys milling around outside. After he had walked past them and went to the ATM inside the gas station mini-mart, the attendant informed him that they were “waiting for him” and that he should leave the store, take a sharp right, and run. Not want you want to hear when you’ve been boozing for eleven hours and it’s raining out. Fortunately, Cuse is ever fleet of foot and made it back to the bar, safe and sound.
The night for me is a blur, but I certainly remember how it ended: standing outside the bar in the sleeting rain without a jacket or an umbrella, separated from my friends in the crush of everyone running out to get a cab. When I finally did get a cab, I realized that I didn’t have enough money for the fare all the way home. I had the cabbie drop me off near my buddies’ apartment, when the meter matched the amount of money I had on me. Again, it was like 33° and sleeting, and I had neither jacket nor umbrella. I wasn’t sure exactly where the apartment was, so I kept calling my friends to get directions. Of course, they were passed out or didn’t hear their phones, so I had to go by instinct alone.
I made it home eventually, and collapsed into a steam-filled shower to try to bring my body temperature above 80°. It worked (I think) and I eventually went to bed. This was Saturday night. Today is Wednesday. I have had a migraine headache since then.
God I love going to Boston.