Thursday, June 19, 2014


Here in Boston, we are finally emerging from one of the harshest winters anyone can recall in perhaps a decade. Seeing as my time in the city has been half that, I can't swear to it but I'm all but certain that I'm correct as even seasoned New Englanders spoke of this one with profound astonishment - the sun that seemed to permanently set in October and not rise again until May; the relentless cold that demanded you wear three pairs of leggings when venturing out for firewood and wine; and the old, dirty snow that wouldn't melt, instead morphing into displaced and disfigured black caves that daily, had to be strategically maneuvered in order to avoid introducing ones face to the pavement during any outdoor excursion.

By nature, I am a homebody and an introvert. Living in Boston has been difficult in this regard as the winter challenges even the most socially determined when it comes to making the call as to whether or not to go out and mingle with other people. So, for me, given this choice in 20 degree weather, eight months out of the year, I almost always elect to forgo bars and parties and whatever else people do, in favor of laying low, preferably in my own home. The part of my brain that I should listen to, but seldom do, knows this behavior is not ultimately good for the psyche. But the other part of my brain, the one that loves pajamas and blankets and movies and not combing my hair, always prevails in the winter months. It's a very legitimate reason for why I will have to leave this city one day. The possibility that should I stay, I would be discovered, mummified in my Bart Simpson t-shirt, sometime in July after having passed back in November because I refused to leave my house for ramen and orange juice, hovers right around 88-90% likely within the next five years.

My winter mostly consisted of me waiting for my friends, John and Evan, to text about weekend plans and then, carefully manipulating them into thinking the most desirable activity would be to come over to my house and build a fire while we drank and smoked cigarettes - exhaling directly up the chimney stack so we could avoid opening a window and contracting immediate frost bite. This arrangement became so predictable that by February, I wasn't even getting dressed to have them over anymore. Instead, I would layer long underwear under my bathrobe and call it cocktail attire. Then, when they would arrive, I would simply throw the keys out of my 4th floor window, down into the street so they could let themselves in and I could avoid having to, god forbid, welcome guests at the front door of my building.

Inevitably, as our evenings wore on and the liquor warmed our bellies and softened our logic, we would begin to pass my iPod in a small circle - each of us having to pick our favorite sad song, or our favorite dance song, or the song we used to play on repeat when we went through bad breakups years before, and at least in someone's case (I'm looking in my direction right now) perhaps got a little carried away in a bad journaling phase. By the next morning, I could seldom recall how we concluded this game, but my iPod history would indicate I reverted to Tori Amos again and everyone knows it's been a successful evening when you end up crying to China in your beer and your bathrobe.  If only those cheerleaders from high school could see me now.

Come March, I had figured out that the local Domino's was open 24 hours for delivery, which if you know anything about trying to eat late night in Boston, is all but unheard of in this town. And while Domino's might not be your idea of fine dining, I still consider the Olive Garden date I went on for my 9th grade homecoming to be one of the fanciest I've ever had, so upscale is a relative term. After John and Evan would leave me and fade out into the black winter streets, I would ring up Domino's for an order of breadsticks, two cokes and three sides of marinara. I had this order  down to a science as I had perfectly deduced the ratio of soda sips to breadsticks to marinara dips required to complete the ultimate midnight eating-in-bed experience. This routine was operating like a well oiled machine until one night, upon receiving my delivery order, I discovered that the marinara had not quite made its way into my takeout bag. Well, this would not do; one cannot create a symphony in their mouth when half of the orchestra is napping in the green room.

I called Domino's and told them what happened before requesting they come back and redeliver the marina sauces. Understandably, they weren't too keen on this idea as driving out to someone's home at 1 o'clock in the morning to drop off three small containers of marinara doesn't, in theory, sound like the best use of someone else's time. That said, my theory is that breadsticks simply cannot be eaten without complimentary dipping sauces and while the 50% of my next order offer was tempting, I turned it down in favor of the marinara. "It's okay," I said, "I can wait."

30 minutes went hour. I called back. "Hi. I called earlier about the missing marinara. Can you give me a status update on an arrival time?" "You still want us to come out there?" It was clear they had deemed me such an inexperienced snacker that they wrongly assumed I would eventually give up and fall asleep, or even forget about the mishap all together and eat my breadsticks without any sauce. No, it doesn't work like that. I'm not good at most things but if snacking is a sport, I'm the whole goddamned Olympic universe housed in one hungry body, dripping in gold medal tin wrapped chocolates.

I stressed again that yes, I would still like for someone to deliver the marinara and yes, I would be happy to continue waiting.

30 minutes went by...45...I called for the third time. They assured me they were on their way and finally, as the clock neared 3:00am, I received my marinara. The story would end there if I had simply gone on to eat the breadsticks in bed, resumed day-to-day life the next morning and then, like clockwork, waited for John and Evan to be in touch so we could pretend for a moment that we were going to entertain the idea of doing anything else but reconvening at my house on the approaching Saturday. But the story doesn't end there because while all of these things did happen -  after the wine was drunk, the firewood burned, Purple Rain performed in a bathrobe on top of an ottoman - when it came time for me to call in my delivery order, Domino's refused to answer the phone. I let it ring until the automated operator came on and politely advised me to hang up. I tried again, I tried again, I tried again. I called another Domino's to ask if my Domino's was closed. "No," they assured me, "let me transfer you over." More ringing, more ringing, the kind but assertive operator again.  Domino's wasn't answering my calls, and it was just established that Domino's was indeed open, 1 + 1  = Domino's was screening me. Apparently, the marinara incident left the staff so irate, they flagged my phone number in their database. A few weeks later, I made another desperate attempt to be reunited with my breadstick and marinara order. This time, elated as I was when they answered the phone, my hopes were just as quickly dashed when, upon reciting my phone number to the guy on the other end of the line, I was told they were currently on a seven hour wait. When your estimated delivery time is quoted to take longer than the time it would take to fly to Europe, it's safe to assume  your business probably isn't wanted anymore.

I don't fault Domino's for this. I imagine, had it been me charged with delivering marinara to a lady in an oversized bathrobe at 3 o'clock in the morning, upon returning to headquarters, I would have likely suggested we help said lady out in the long run by cutting her off from our services like, now. And in fact, I might even owe Domino's a thank you as being involuntarily weaned from my late night addiction made zipping up by jeans much easier once May came to town and the bathrobe was retired to the trash can.

Recently, I was talking to my father and telling him how relieved I was that spring had arrived in the Northeast. I gave him the speech about how emotionally exhausting the winter was, how it kept everyone locked up and hidden away from meaningful human interaction and how now that summer was on its way, I was committed to being a better me by spending more time at the farmers market, stepping up my exercise routine and registering for a 10 day juice cleanse.

The farmers market I used to visit has moved and I have no idea to where; I tried the juice cleanse but by day two, I was sneaking chips and not telling anyone; I went for a run earlier this week but half way down the street, I tripped on a brick and busted my knee open. A little boy walking nearby pointed and laughed. His dad told him to be quiet. It was too late.

So, when all else failed, I decided to try my hand at CultureCube again. I remember liking it here...maybe even more than breadsticks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Welcome back
-Boston Corbett