Monday, October 15, 2007

"You Know There's a Well in Your Backyard. Watch The Baby!"

On the twentieth anniversary of this defining moment of American history, I feel the time has come for me to speak my mind. Now that she's grown up and by all appearances seems to have a normal life, it's without reservation that I finally say: Fuck you, Baby Jessica.

Listen, we all felt bad when you fell down the well. Babies can be annoying enough to deal with given the optimal circumstances, let alone when they're trapped underground and being totally dramatic about it. But let me talk to you about a little something called Bad Timing. I'm not saying this was your plan all along, but news of your rescue cut into all the regularly scheduled programming back in 1987, and your victorious second birth from the pipe womb trumped the season finale of Rags to Riches. Remember Rags to Riches, the show where that Joe Pesci-looking guy inherited a bunch of teenage orphan daughters who randomly started singing and dancing to oldies songs? Yeah, it was pretty awesome, and not just because I was ten years old. Toward the end of this particular episode, Marta, one of the pivotal and more subtletly nuanced characters, was lying on a mountainside, half-dead from a rattlesnake bite. What was going to happen? I was riveted. And then, suddenly, breaking news. The well! The baby! The miracle! You were fine. But Marta? Poof. Gone forever.

Thanks to the internet and YouTube and the disturbingly comprehensive TV show collection at Best Buy, I could probably find out pretty easily what happened. Really, though, it's the principle of it. If you had been courteous enough to wiggle out during the daytime while I was at school, I might've been able to miss a few minutes of long division. But no, of course not. It had to be on your terms, and your gauze-clad self wasn't coming out until you were good and ready. Diva.

I couldn't yell at you when you were Baby Jessica. Yelling at babies is almost always frowned upon, but yelling at Baby Jessica would've resulted in automatic deportation, and learning a second language would've been a total pain in the ass. So now that you're Adult Jessica, it's on, bitch. You owe me four minutes of television gold and step-by-step instructions on how to remove snake venom while simultaneously singing Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow by the Shirelles. I'M WAITING.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I Know You're Home Russell Answer Your Phone

So this afternoon I'm on my way from school to the home of one of the kids that I see after school and I get pulled over for making a left on a red light. In my defense, the person in front of me... and the light was just barely... and I would've been blocking the... meh, whatever. I'm a Boston driver, I admit it.

The one advantage that I can see to being pulled over in the city that I work in is the opportunity to milk the fact that I work at one of the schools and children are the future and please please don't give me a ticket. I got pulled over two months ago, though, and I got off on a warning then, so I'm not optimistic.

"Hi, I'm so sorry. I thought I could make that light but obviously not. I was just coming from the XYZ School."

"Yeah, you weren't even close to making the light. You work at the XYZ?"

"Yes, I do!" And I love puppies and flowers and most of all THE LAW!

"Okay, let's have your license and registration. It'll just be a minute."

Six long minutes later he comes back to my window. "You've had a lot of offenses, huh?"

Sure, driver retraining school comes to mind, but his tone sounds less like he's talking about illegal U-turns and more like selling crack to second graders.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, your license was suspended awhile ago."

"What? No, it was definitely wasn't."

"And there's a restraining order against you? Someone named Russell?"

"Wait, WHAT? I have no idea what you're talking about. I don't even know anyone named Russell." This isn't exactly true. I have a student named Russell, but it's been awhile since a kindergartener took legal action against me. And I had a camp counselor named Russell 15 years ago, but I'm fairly certain that I haven't been crowding him.

"How many tickets have you received in the past few years?"

"I got a couple a few years ago, but none recently. And my license was never suspended and no one has a RESTRAINING ORDER against me."

And then of course I stop for a second and think, wait, does someone? Would I know? Does my mom really hate me that much?

He kind of laughed and shrugged. "Okay, then, I guess I pulled up the wrong name. Anyway, I just wrote you a warning."

"Oh. But..." How would information on someone else come up if he ran my license? Why did he just shrug it off? But I'm already late and I decide not to push it. "Okay, well, thanks."

I thought when people stole your identities that they just bought crap online and called China. Maybe I should look into this.

And I'm sorry, Russell. BUT WHY WON'T YOU TAKE ME BACK?

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Earlier tonight I was talking to a friend from college who now lives out of state and has always stood by his opinion that Boston is a townie town, i.e. people who are born here (not that anyone is ever actually born or raised IN Boston, just close to it) never leave, or always return, and natives will obsessively extoll its virtues to anyone who will listen.

I started to disagree on principle, and then I realized that I was sitting on my bed with the Improper Bostonian flipped open to an article about fall dining in the city (which I do more reading about than eating, but I love fall and I LOVE fall menus... cider apple soup, pumpkin ravioli, baked apples, cornbread and cranberry stuffing, I could go on) while watching the Sox play, and win, their first postseason game (last October I drew a big, optimistic "07" in the centerfield dirt at Fenway with my sneaker, so here's hoping). All I needed was Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in the other room writing a screenplay.

When I told him this, he started presenting more proof of my townie status, pointing out that my split second reaction after hearing that a friend moved to California was "Why would anyone DO that?" and that my idea of a money shot is the view of the Boston skyline after the Cambridge tolls on the Pike. He reminded me that anytime I go to New York for the weekend I get homesick (what, Manhattan is freakin' scary!) and he still insists that when my road rage creeps in, so does a slight Boston accent. I deny that, but okay fine, if that's your definition of a townie, then guilty as charged, I guess. I love the seasons, being close to the water, the fact that it's a baseball town, the overall sense of coziness, the locally brewed beer, the Cape, how people are wicked smaht... okay, I'm just driving the point home now. "Born and raised" sounds so provincial, I know, but I can't imagine living anywhere else. I'd never want to be transient, but I suppose if you don't like to be trapped in one area for too long then you feel as strongly about that as I do about being a country mouse (living five miles outside of a major city). Most of the people that I love are here, and I've always been happy here. I imagine that if they weren't or I wasn't, I would've made a different decision long ago.

Do you guys feel a major connection to where you live? Would you up and move for any old reason, or have you in the past? If you didn't have job/family/etc. connections to where you live now, would you move somewhere else?

And this is the perfect time to comment, because The Great Delurking Day was... oh. Yesterday. Yeah! So anyway.