An eventful drive to Starbucks.

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Sometimes I have trouble sleeping. I’ll stay up reading obscure articles on my iPhone or making mental lists of my “to-dos” and “faults” or sometimes I’ll just sit and stare at the wall, thinking about all the other things I ought to be doing instead.

Inevitably, those drawn-out nights turn to day with an early morning Starbucks run. The location just down the street from me is – fun fact! – the only SB drive-thru in Boston, although I personally think that SB drive-thru is the biggest hoax ever foisted on humanity. So today, having slept not very much, it’s 5am, and I’m rolling down 1A South in unusually heavy traffic.  Road work or whatever – like, who closes down a whole LANE right before RUSH HOUR, #god# – and I glance in the rearview and there is this SUV just hurtling at me from behind.

“WOOAHHF” Not the most eloquent of epithets, but it was all I could manage as the wind was knocked out of me. A half-empty can of Diet Coke can went flying across the car. My Yaris stalled out.

The driver of the SUV approached me first, a mild-faced twentysomething with a slight Hispanic accent. “I have a big favor to ask you.” He leaned earnestly near my window.

He didn’t have a license, it turned out, his girlfriend was pregnant. I don’t know the penalty for driving without a license, but I’m sure it’s no joke, and (call me racist) I worried for him if he happened to be undocumented. On the other hand, it really seemed like he slammed into me, my insurance deductible is perilously high (as are the points on my license), and I honestly don’t have the financial freedom to give anyone the benefit of the doubt right now.

It made me think of the time before college graduation where an ex-con driving someone else’s Toyota SUV backed into my Hyundai Excel at a stop sign. The damage to my car seemed innocuous, but it turned out that he’d crushed the radiator into the engine, effectively totaling the vehicle.

That time, I did not involve the police at the scene of the accident. This time, thankfully, the choice was made for me. The collision happened right next to a cadre of state troopers, on detail monitoring the aforementioned roadwork. I handed over my license and registration, and a few moments later the other driver was taken out of his car. There was much waving of flashlights, and I could see his passenger frantically making cell phone calls. I checked the weather. It was snowing.

After some time, the police moved us down the street ~~INTO THE STARBUCKS LOT~~ to finish up paperwork. The mild-faced SUV driver, who was suddenly screwed on a level I don’t wish to imagine, stood outside his vehicle, facing the headlights. Our eyes met awkwardly, and I mouthed “I’m sorry” in that weird way I often do when I’m saying something I know won’t be heard. And he nodded, like, it’s ok.

It turned out that he didn’t get arrested, which I felt good about, but the car was towed and then his pregnant girlfriend showed up, all in a tizzy. We stumbled over one another with apologies before I slunk into Starbucks to get my long-awaited dark roast and morning bun. On a whim, I also bought two small cups of Pike Place, for the unlicensed dudes in the SUV. I figured it was a bad start to a really shitty morning for them, and free coffee sometimes can make things feel a little less bleak. At least, I hope.

 

 


Time to Do Something Good.

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Hi MiCaela,

My name is Erin, I found your post from Stephanie on FB. I have a cat, That Jake.

https://www.facebook.com/smalljake

He is a story.

https://erinire.net/category/jake/

A few years ago, he got very sick. I thought I wanted to let him go – I was broke – but one of the vets at the hospital basically guilted me into treating his undiagnosable liver infection. (Undiagnosable without major surgery, which I really just couldn’t bear to put him through). Over the next 8 months of constant pills, carsick appointments, and blood tests, I wound up spending over $3,000. I wish I had GoFund me back then!!

It turns out, that was probably the best three grand I ever spent, with the possible ouster being my video camera and / or laptop (which are my livelihood). I am not in a much better financial position now than I was then, but I hope that my small contribution helps! I think I’ll post this on my blog. Maybe you’ll get a few more dollars that way.

Cheers,
E

(ps – in case you didn’t get it, guys, that image is a link to her GoFundMe page. Click it up!)


Whispers.

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I don’t know if being educated about my illness(es) from an early age would have made a difference – the struggle is the struggle, no matter how much you learn about why. But I saw this on Facebook and felt, like, *yes*:

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It’s an image uploaded from Whisper, an app I’ve used, in the past, to share things I’d never admit to anyone. And that phrase: “sometimes it’s ourselves that make us feel like…” I find that to be so true.

Things, obviously, are not always easy. Things get dark. And during those times I am oh-so painfully aware that it IS myself that’s upsetting me. Unbearable! Of course there are antecedents – triggers, if you will – a compounding of factors to produce a perfect storm… but underneath it all lurks something that is very much my own. It’s familiar, gravitational, and seems to rise of its own accord.

I wish I could reach out to this girl, and say “YES! LADY!! I GET IT!” But I can’t, because Whisper is anonymous. You don’t “follow” people – there are no “profiles”. So I’ll never know who she is, or how it is she knew how to say what I feel, when I feel that way. The least I can do is put it out there again, so maybe another person will see – and, maybe, understand.


Only on the Blue Line?

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So things are terrible here in Boston, and, after yesterday’s MBTA shutdown, I wasn’t expecting a swift commute home. The Red Line took forever – it wasn’t even worth trying to swim through the sea of passengers at Downtown Crossing to make my connection to the Orange. Walking the something-odd blocks to State Street, I wondered if now would be a good time to Uber. I’d calculated the fare from Harvard Square before leaving work at $21-$25, but now it was 30 minutes later and traffic would be worse.

I kept walking.

This was a mistake.

Lured into comfort by the relative emptiness at the Forest Hills-bound entrance, I was unprepared for the low-ceilinged hell that awaited me at the Blue Line. The crowd bound for Wonderland at the State Street station was like nothing I’d ever seen in real life, aside from those Phish mega-festivals back in the early aughts. After a few polite minutes spent pushing through to the opposite side of the platform, I gave up and just stood. There was nowhere to go. By the time the next train arrived, the human surge was enough to bear me to the very lips of the doors… but no room in the car.

It was approximately 4:30. I decided, still, to wait.

This was another mistake.

After an interminable span spent clicking through my Longform feed (have you READ the latest New Yorker article on psychedelic medical research? FASCINATING.), another train finally arrived. By some swift stroke of doom I found myself square between the cars, and the vector physics of MBTA-boarding ensures that, when squared between cars, there is no possible hope that you will make it through. You will remain, stymied, on the platform, again, wondering how you could possibly be so close and yet so very far away.

Waiting. The crowd was large, but jocular, and this Chinese woman behind me started chattering, at nobody in particular, about the high-speed train Guangzhou to Beijing, suggesting that if our trains in Boston were faster, and arrived with greater frequency, perhaps we might not all be waiting here in a frothing mass of subterranean torment while that homeless blind guy belts out “New York, New York” for the fifth refrain. Of course, she didn’t really SAY it like that, but she was totally right on. “America, you know, think they number one… but maybe…”

The train arrived, and this time I all but RAN through the open doors, thrown inward by the throng behind me. I turned around and saw some brown-skinned men helping the Asian lady up off the floor. “How multicultural,” I thought. “See? Things aren’t so bad, even on the Blue Line.”

A trio of white construction workers banged their coolers together as the train pulled slowly from the station.

“I totally tripped that lady, bro. Talkin’ shit about America.”

And that was the first time I ever felt unsafe on the T.


Snowpocalypse 2015: The Stop & Shop in Revere

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B! and I just got back from the grocery store. We’d driven past around noontime today, Sunday, and the glut of cars in the lot made me wonder how many more people they could pack in before they hit fire code.

“Let’s not do this now,” we agreed, and went to breakfast instead.

Some eight hours later, we again approached our local Stop & Shop, reusable bags in-hand. I wondered aloud about what they might have left for sale. This is the same grocery store that went without ginger for three weeks, during the Market Basket strike, so my expectations weren’t high.

However…

THINGS I FOUND AT STOP & SHOP

– turkey necks

– pig ears

– bone-in, skin-on pork shoulder

– tripe

– beef tongue

– calf’s liver

– oxtail

– chicken hearts / gizzards (apparently, they go together)

– a whole bunch of lamb stew meat

– three packages of short ribs

THINGS I DID NOT FIND AT STOP & SHOP

– bread

– 2% milk

– any other meat at all

Like, when I go looking for oxtail at Stop & Shop, can I find it? NO. When I need a bone-in picnic butt, do they have any? NO. But tonight, it’s all offal and pork belly when everyone’s out looking for beef chuck and chicken breasts.

We took the short ribs and ran, before someone else could swipe them.


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