Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bumper Bus

Since I've lived in my mercifully rat-free apartment in Somerville, the buses I take have had several close calls with erratic drivers. Horns blared, brakes squealed, and a bunch of commuters stumbled forward a few steps. I marveled at the talents of my bus drivers, who not only navigate tight corners in the unwieldy vehicles, but tolerate the assorted crazies who show up.

However, my accident-free bus streak has come to an end. As my bus poked its way toward a fork in the road, a cab suddenly swerved in front of it. I waited for the squeal of brakes and the stumbling commuters, but we came to a surprisingly gentle stop. Then the cabbie got out of his car and the bus driver put the bus into park.

"You've got to be kidding me," someone piped up behind me.

"You swerved right in front of me!" The driver yelled in his heavy Boston accent.

"I was right here!" The cabbie replied.

"No you weren't! You cut in front of me! Learn how to drive!"

The cabbie gave our driver such a death stare that I was absolutely sure he would either bust out a gun and start firing or come on board and issue a beatdown. My fears weren't assuaged by the bus driver throwing open the doors and looking at the right corner of the bus, which was nestled against the cab.

"I've got you on camera!" The driver shouted, pointing to the security camera in the front window. The cabbie looked nervous. "Pull up there and park," the driver hissed.

He closed the doors and went through the intersection. "Let me tell you how this is gonna work. I have to stay here until my supervisor shows up, so we stop here. The next bus will come up behind us." Midway through his explanation, passengers started heading for the exits. Some handed him their names and phone numbers to corroborate his story.

A kid who'd been standing at a pizza place nearby surveyed the scene as I walked by.

"He cut off the bus. What a cunt."


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Adventures in Playoff Hockey

I spent the entire day on Saturday walking around the city. Annette and I did some shopping and just reveled in the fact that we didn't need heavy coats to tolerate being outside. After walking over to the Hynes Convention Center, we walked back to North Station to take in the Bruins game.

We ended up at Porter's and grabbed a seat at the bar to watch the Bruins on one screen and the Red Sox on the other. At first, hardcore hockey fans had a few pre-game beers but the crowd thinned out as it got closer to the puck drop.

As we ate our food, the Bruins fell behind and an older guy sat down next to me. He was dressed in a Red Sox windbreaker, and loudly ordered a beer from the distracted bartender.

"Do you girls need a drink?" He asked us. "You need a drink. Get these girls a drink," he said, slapping his money down on the bar. We thanked him and turned back to our food.

"I just left the Red Sox game," he explained, slurring his words as he sipped his beer. "I was freezing my ass off. Now I have to find my car. It's somewhere over here."

We nodded, watching the Bruins' futile attempts at scoring.

"The Bruins are going to win this game," he slurred, patting my arm.

I was just about to chastise him for jinxing it, but then the black and gold did score. The bar went nuts, largely for the benefit of the Channel 7 cameras that were filming for the 11 o'clock news. He gave Annette and I high-fives.

"You girls like to party. I can tell," he slurred. "If you want to do a shot, go ahead. It's on me."

Annette is getting over the death flu and I wasn't in the mood to be rip-roaring drunk with a bunch of volatile hockey fans, so we turned down his offer. He chatted with us about his jobs and the steak he'd had for lunch, while repeating his offer for drinks.

After the Canadiens scored shortly after the Bruins broke ahead, the mood in the bar darkened. But our new pal declared the Bruins were going to win.

As soon as he said it, they did it.

Shortly after what proved to be the game-winner, our drunk old guy left the bar. I hope he didn't find his car for the safety of himself and others, but I do wish we'd seen him when we were watching Game 7.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Say Hello to My Little Friend

I bought my last computer in 2001. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, I figured life was too short to limit myself to the iMac I bought off my high school English teacher before I left for college. Also, having a portable computer made it easier to use Emerson's bandwidth to download mp3s.

But over the past few years, my baby wasn't as sharp as it used to be. All videos played in a Max Headroom-like manner. I had to upload pictures from my new digital camera at work because iPhoto couldn't handle the files. iTunes became a pain in the ass to run on the slow memory.

Finally, a few weekends ago I lost it. I was trying to get some work done on a Saturday, and my laptop couldn't even handle loading without being a giant pain in the ass about it. As is my wont when I'm frustrated, I picked the thing up and slammed it on my wobbly IKEA laptop tray and yelled "WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!"

It was time to say goodbye.

Later that weekend, I came home from a completely unsuccessful day at the Natick Mall Collection and checked out Apple's refurbished items page. Among the still-outrageous MacBook Pros and huge displays, I found a low-end MacBook for a mere $850. It was still too much money for me to spend in my debt-addled state, but it was impossible for me to work from home on my old laptop. That, and I'm a professional blogger. Mama needs to be able to blog while on the road. Justifying it as a tax writeoff for next year, I used the available credit and the remainder of my tax return to pay for my new baby.

Now that I have my new precious, I've realized I was navigating the Autobahn that is the information superhighway in an Edsel. My computer can ably play music while I use Microsoft word. loads swimmingly. Gmail and Blogger can keep up with my keystrokes as I type. I can even use the WiFi on my new baby (a few months ago, my old laptop stopped recognizing its AirPort card). That, and there's this new application called Photobooth that allows me to take goofy self-portraits to my heart's content. I bet it will be fun at parties.

I will always have a soft spot for my old laptop. We went through a lot together, from freelance projects to the end of my college career to shitty basement apartments. But I hope my new baby and I have an even better life together.