Monday, July 18, 2005

Red Sox It to Me

It might have something to do with the obscene amounts of Oregon Trail I played as a kid, but whenever I'm in a car for a couple of hours all I can think about is how much longer it would take me to get to my destination if I was stuck with a couple of oxen and a wagon as my only means of transport. Especially if that wagon was laden with the copious amounts of buffalo I'd hunted--I was good. Damn good.

Granted, it wouldn't take as long for me to get from New York to Boston in my wagon as it would for my brother Mike. One night way back in the winter of '94, his spare sets of clothing, rifles, ammunition, wagon axles, and even his actual wagon and oxen were all mysteriously traded for wheels of cheese when he took a bathroom break and left his wagon unattended at the Oregon border.

I have no idea how it happened.

Anyway, I'd suppose it's the amount of time I spent keeping my CGI family cholera free and rolling slowly west that makes me marvel at how I can wake up in the New York suburbs but eat breakfast north of Boston.

This weekend I trekked northward into the vast and uncharted expanse of territory known to the intrepid as New England. It's true that we had a leg up on our trailblazing forefathers (and foremothers, and forebitchingkidsinthebackofthewagon) what with the horsepower of our Jeep's engine and all, but our journey did have its perils. My gas station non pareils melted in the car. Having to eat your candy with a spoon is far worse a fate than being bitten by a rattlesnake or flipping your wagon while fording a river.

Kai and I left early Saturday morning and made it to Peabody after a ride through the scenic sections of the Mass pike, comprised of an endless array of architectural renderings of that ubiquitous Boston franchise, Dunkin’ Donuts. I also received an enlightening lecture from Kai on my flawed pronunciation of the name of nearly every town we passed. I felt pretty certain that, with a solid seventeen years of reading the English language under my belt, Peabody would be pronounced pee-bah-dee. Not so. It’s PEE-b’dee. Likewise for Swampscott (“swamp-skit”), Gloucester (“glosster”), and New York (“asshole-town”).

We checked into our hotel, which located in an industrial park and intended for businesspeople on extended stays. Each room came complete with a tiny kitchen, silverware, a couch, the works. There was even a “guest pantry,” which you could access with your room key to avail yourself of the $4.00 Swanson fried chicken TV dinners, or ramen noodles, or frozen Snickers bars.

So, what I’m saying is, I though I had died and gone to heaven. Wrapped soap! Microwave dinners! Folded towels! An unnecessary blanket tucked right into my bed!

A toilet sealed for my protection. A toilet sealed for my protection.

The room also had wireless internet access for $3.99 and accessed with a username and password I had to request from the desk clerk. I walked back to the room with a post-it bearing my username and motel-chosen password. “P-word,” she explained to me, “is for password. People sometimes get confused by my code.”

In case I had any doubt what kind of an establishment I was staying in, my password was “freedom.” Perhaps I’m being judgmental, but I’m willing to bet that the kind of freedom I was typing in wasn’t the first come, first serve on the bus kind, but rather the Suck it, Frenchie! kind. It’s a strange state of affairs when it’s almost assured that if the word “freedom” is invoked, exactly that is about to be curtailed.

Anyway, freedom firmly in place, I was able to access the internet while Kai got dressed up in her Kennedy costume and her friends Kelly and Denis convinced their dog Claude not to pee on our carpet. Much.

Claude. (It's real strange to call something that looks like that by your father's name.)

Jackie Okaileenassis.

"Kaileen's Graduation Tent" was conveniently located next to "Kaileen's Boozin' Trailer."

I used to go on vacation with Kai's family to their cabin on Lake Winnipasaukee in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. It was her dad's side of the family, so for a week or so in the summer I got to pretend that her two hysterical aunts, her little cousins with the thick Boston accents ("Let's go to McDawnald's! Then let's go shawping!"), and her grandparents were my family as well. I pretty consistently adopt my friends families, or, rather, force my friends' families to adopt me. That thing about having never seen my uncle's house even though he lives twenty minutes away'll get 'em every time.

I spent two days with her family, who are comfortingly loud and nutty. They span the spectrum of wacky from depressive to histrionic and each would take pages to do full justice to. The important part, the part that got me, was that when I was sitting in my hotel room with thirteen of them, and the wrapping paper was flying off of Kai's presents, and the dog was chewing all the bows, the whole family was comfortably making fun of each other and scooping from a box pieces of cake they were all too full to finish fifteen minutes earlier. You could tell that even though they were in a hot motel room in July, it might have been Christmas; all it takes to make a holidy is to put them all in the same place.

And I'm sure that no one would've been abandoned by the side of the trail in Missouri just because they had diptheria, or ate some bad fruit.


Blogger Kunaxa said...

I'm very jealous of the dog (I assume it's a French Bulldog). I REALLY wanted
This Puppy, The last one left from
This Litter.

Unfortunately, it would have put a big $2,000 dent in my fragile being and I had to pass


9:04 PM  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

Did you ever use your brother as one of the members of your wagon and then secretly take great joy when he was the first in the group to die?

Maybe I'm the only sister that mean... But I'll own it. I did that all the time.

1:35 AM  
Anonymous stupidboy said...

Sorry if this is a stupid question but what's 'Oregan Trail' exactly? I know about the pioneers and stuff but is it also the name of some cruel car game like 'Slaps' or 'Mercy'?

4:13 AM  
Blogger What'sHerFace said...

Sorry, I should've explained. "Oregon Trail" was a kind of historical-ish computer game wherein you had to oufit your pioneer family with all the necessary supplies to get them to Oregon, and then make the journey without everyone dying. Most of the time half your party would contract cholera, or you'd leave at the wrong time of the year and get stuck in the mountains in the middle of the winter.

My favorite part of Oregon Trail, looking back, is that "meager" was an actual setting for daily food rations.

And Rebecca, I honestly remember having wagon parties that were ALL my brother's name, so he was the first to die no matter what.

Also, Ms. Martucci, whose comment I forgot to reply to on the other post: hello! Hi! More hello! I think we actually should have a "most boring job" competition. Ready? Set? Coma!

7:16 AM  
Blogger ktiv said...

Oregon Trail was my oxygen when I was younger. (Now I use real oxygen, and the asthma has cleared right up!). That game haunted my dreams. I've been told I used to wake up in cold sweats screaming, "But I left in Spring! It can't be Winter!!!!"

12:34 PM  
Blogger katy said...

I remember playing Oregon Trail when I was a kid, but seeing how I grew up in Hawaii none of us kids really knew why winter was such a big deal? What's the problem, just slap on some slippahs and move your okole (oh-koh-leh, meaning butt) down that mountain brah! What you talking about, what's all this snow-stuff?

Mix our hawaiian dudes with your boston dudes and I'm sure someone would have survived.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous JessM said...

I'll meet your boring job, and raise you one co-worker who claims both to have been born FOUR months early and that her lust for the blood of furry forest critters is justifiable because she's "Native American"...and I'll add to that my unfortunate knowledge of the gynecological histories of all her female family members, too - just for good measure.

Also, I'd like to give a shout out to the Oregon Trail, how else would I have learned of the dangers associated with fording?

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

Kathy, in response to your response... You are my hero.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Kunaxa said...

So Kathy,

O’Connor was sort of the split decision on abortion on the Supreme Court.

John Roberts got the official nomination yesterday. Roberts had previously written a paper expressing why he feels the Supreme Court should indeed overturn Roe Vs. Wade.

If the Senate OKs this dude, is it safe to bet that abortion will become illegal?

Any thoughts? Reactions?

12:59 PM  
Blogger DMo said...

Weird. I was in Massachusetts this weekend too. Humid as a mofo. And you should never need to explain what Oregon Trail is to anyone.

Simply hand them a copy on 3.5 inch floppy and tell them to insert that shit.

1:00 PM  
Blogger What'sHerFace said...

What the fuck? Why is my new entry showing up below my old one?

1:11 PM  
Blogger What'sHerFace said...

Okay, now:

NoN--I'm holding off judgment on Roberts until we have more information about him. It's true that he wrote a statment about Roe v. Wade, but it's also true that it was a partisan position statement written for the administration he was working for. It wasn't a legal decision. Later in in senate hearings about his current appointment he made some comfortingly neutral statements about his position on abortion. I think a lot of the democratic commentary I've gotten (how many automated e-mails can a person receive in one day?) has been prematurely reactionary, considering the fact that no one knows anything about him. He's definitely not the worst guy Bush could've picked, but lets wait and see how bad he is before we crucify him.

More important, is he Julia Roberts's brother? I've heard a rumor.

DMo--I just about died in Mass. I've never actually had to swim through the air until this weekend. Granted, all the beer I was drinking with my friend's very large, very Irish family probably didn't help with the heat. But, it was a small price to pay to drink Sam Adams in the appropriate geographical location.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Kunaxa said...

Well put.

I watched the whole thing on CBS (by coincidence) and at the end of the show I witnessed this moment:

"Now we resume to your regular programming, from New York, I'm John Roberts."

and (the OTHER) John Roberts had the biggest smile on his face, it felt like that was 'THE' moment of his entire career. I'm more impressed he didn't break out in laughter BEFORE the cameras cut.

2:05 PM  

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