It’s 103 motherfucking degrees. Panic.
It took Professional Driver Henry nearly 30 minutes just to find his way out of Salem and I could have sworn he was doing this on purpose to make me even more anxious. We were already several hours behind schedule and I was pissed because this was cutting into prime Matt & Kristen Hang-Out Time.
I met Matt a super long time ago on LiveJournal, I’m going to say 2005. I know it was definitely pre-Chooch and definitely while I was in the height of being a member of some of the douchier communities on LiveJournal. I know you’re shocked to learn that I was an asshole on the Internet. There were these totally elitist, pretentious journal rating communities in which I was a “reviewer,” which basically meant I got to help decide if other people were good enough to belong. It was so incredibly dick-headish and I’m sure I don’t even need to elaborate to get anyone to agree. And that’s how Matt and I became friends, out of a mutual love for flaming people, I guess. All these years later and he still comes up with some of the best zingers, especially when Henry or Pittsburgh is involved. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to Henry, “Haha, guess what Matt said about you?”
In 2007, Matt and his girlfriend Kristen relocated from Boston to Seattle and decided to turn the moving process into a cross country road trip and I was lucky enough to make the list of people they wanted to see. Of course it was surreal and super-awkward, because I am super-awkward, but it was really awesome at the same time because how often do you get to meet your online buddies in real life? Although, I remember Matt called me a SHRINKING VIOLET or something like that on his journal afterward and I was all, “OMG that’s so true but I am still going to pout about it!”
Meanwhile, Kristen and I had recently been getting better acquainted via email and when she told me that she and Matt were moving back to Boston last winter, it all fell into place so perfectly.
Plus, Chooch has been talking for the last few months about how he inexplicably wants to move to Boston, so he was on board for this leg of the road trip. It was all fun and games for me, too, until the BRUINS beat my PENGUINS in the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to the STANLEY CUP FINALS. What perfect timing, you assholes. And to add insult to injury, there was a home game that too.
Jesus, it was around 4PM by the time Henry un-lost us in Matt’s neighborhood and we pulled up to his apartment building. As soon as Matt came out to greet us, I kept hoarsely whispering, “Ask him!” to Chooch, who kept giving me a “STOP IT” look and shaking his head.
“What do you want to ask me?” Matt asked Chooch, who glared at me in response. I kept prodding him, but he wouldn’t budge, so finally I blurted out, “I TOLD HIM YOU’RE A WITCH AHAHAHAHAHA!” I don’t know why this was so hilarious to me. Henry just sighed, Chooch looked embarrassed to be my son, and Matt was just like, “Oh. No, I’m not a witch.”
It was just funny to me, OK? And it still is!! I just now pictured Matt playing Light As a Feather with Fairuza Balk and now I’m cracking up all over again.
That lady could be dead but no one cares.
After we got the awkward hugging over with, Matt took us inside where Kristen was waiting and I was so happy to see her! Chooch got to meet their cats, Reggie and Chloe, so of course he was like, “This is the best place in the entire world.” We probably could have just sat in the apartment all evening and he would have been content. But as it turned out, we got to ride the T downtown! I was excited to ride a T that was not the one I ride every day to work, and this one was a real city T which means it was super scary, fast and hot. As soon as the doors closed, I immediately began to perspire. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one sweating, as evidenced when the stranger next to me got too close and our moist skin briefly touched. It was about as erotic as it sounds, you guys.
Matt and Kristen made sure that we got off at a stop directly across from the stupid BOSTON GARDEN so that I could choke back bile at the sight of all the jubilant Bruins fans. Meanwhile, Chooch thought it would be funny to say disparaging things about the Bruins and we were all kind of like, “Um, please, not here.” I mean, it was bad enough he could have popped off with his fake Boston accent at any second, and now he’s ridiculing their beloved hockey team and wanting to tell everyone we’re from Pittsburgh? Not sure if I’m willing to take a punch for him.
“Just admit that Boston was the better team,” Matt tried to reason after the 87th bitter comment fled from my lips. “They’re your daddy.”
Cemetery swag? I don’t even know what to say about this.
After being forced to cross dozens of busy downtown streets without proper preparation (I am a street-crossing phobe), we arrived at one of the old, creepy historic burying grounds. There were informational signs spread out, giving brief histories on select corpses and featured a picture of the respective tombstone, which Chooch and I treated as an I Spy game. Not sure if that’s what it was intended for, but if you’re like me, every last motherfucking thing is a competition. And it just so happens that Chooch is like me. A lot like me.
Of course, I won each time, but Chooch tried in vain to pretend that he was the winner, prompting Matt to observe that Chooch and I make the exact same smug winner’s face.
Originally, we thought that this was some sort of mass burial dump, but it turns out the T was down there. Henry and Matt seemed satisfied with this conclusion, but not me.
“Look, Henry made friends,” Matt pointed out, getting me all worked up in spite of the 485 degree heat. I was only able to capture one shitty picture before Henry’s Erin-sensor started to prickle and he stalked away from his new age-appropriate friends. I wonder if they were talking about the WAR. I tried to ask him, but he wouldn’t answer me so I bet it’s true.
We stopped at another burying ground a few blocks away. Matt tried to give me a “This or Boston Commons” ultimatum but I was like, “Both.” And I won, yay!
At first, we thought Henry was really into this (not Ben) Franklin character, but it turned out he just wanted to show us that he could read. Kinda.
After stomping on dead bodies, we made it to Boston Commons, where Matt and some random stroller-pushing dad with a thick Boston dialect had an intense conversation about the Padres, inspired by Matt’s baseball cap. What really happened was the guy started spouting off his knowledge about the baseball team while Matt said, “OK.” And as the dad speed-walked past us with the stroller, he shouted over his shoulder, “And they shoulda won in ’92, ’98, ’02 and ’05!” (I made those dates up.)
We stopped and let Chooch play at a playground with real life Boston spawn and Henry bought him a balloon sword. God, Chooch gets everything! But actually, it was nice to sit down for a few minutes after Matt’s Walking Tour of 100° Terror. And there were kids playing with the water fountain nearby so every once in awhile, we get the slightest little splash and I would be reminded of cooler, less sweaty times.
Kristen started telling us about some unintentionally-creepy bed and breakfast she stayed at for work, somewhere in Pennsylvania, and one of the rooms was clown-themed. Henry frowned through the whole conversation because he knows that he will now have to take me there. Thanks, Kristen!
Meanwhile, Chooch’s sword popped so Matt bought him another one, because he’s a sucker. Balloon swords are annoying! Especially in the hands of Chooch. I really enjoyed all of the occasions that thing got adhered to my disgustingly sweaty skin.
Weird flowers that no one knew the name of! NOT EVEN HENRY. WHAT.
I’m going to stop here for now.