QOTD 67: I am not a pinball, but I don’t mind the bright lights and shiny colors.

My arch nemesis / next door neighbor is calling the house during a Patriots game while I’m on an astral plane with friends. “Ugh I just hate being bothered” says Mom, oblivious to my personal polyphonic spree. Mom picks up the phone and invites her over. I chime in with a little rhetorical rhetoric.

“Then why would you invite the most bothersome person we *know* over?”

I am in rare form.

My neighbor’s a boozer, a mess, and an excuse maker, and constantly looking for validation from subservient people who would rather placate her, than challenge anything she says or does – when they do she sours, says your mean, and changes the subject. Picture Fran Dreschers voice combined with a life of cigarettes, divorce, and disappointment, and you’ll have a mind’s eye picture.

Now she was coming over, again, to watch a game she didn’t care about, again, to distract the entire family from the most important part of the game, again, while drunk, again, and would very likely seek advice from me, again, that she would completely brush off when I told her, again, the truth.

What’s the most bizarre day of your *life*? Stressful, luckiest, strangest, craziest, it’s all fair game. What’s been your biggest blow up due in part to a stressful / bizarre day? (Read on to hear about mine – be warned it’s long (like my Johnson).)

she didn’t know, and I haven’t told *you* yet, is that  I woke up at
9am that day, got lost in Boston for an hour after google’s GPS confused
the Boston Globe with the stupid Omni theater dome on the Museum of
Science, had a job interview, may have accidentally parked in Tony Mazz’s
spot at The Boston Globe when I found it, was suckered into working from
home on an off day, then because no one *told* anyone I was working
from home, had to keep like three fellow employees from going home on
time to assist with networking stuff.  I was so stressed out that by the time the game rolled around I simply had no shits in my tummy left to give, and by the end of halftime my tummy was filled with sunshine.

But first, some background on my neighbor: One time she spent 45 minutes drunkenly quizzing me about all the various things her high-school aged flunkee of a son could do in the media.

“He likes sports! Like, sports!” she said.

I listed about half a dozen things her son could do with an interest in sports, from retail to volunteering at the local cable station to cover college basketball games, to saying he could help coach stuff for the YMCA or youth leagues.

“No, no, not like that – like, if you name a player, he can tell you what team they were on, like, where they went to school, what position they play, right away”.

“Maybe he’ll grow up to be a wikipedia page, then?” 

“What’s a wikipedia?” Came the response before she goes on to ask me about how ‘online dating’ works because she ‘needs a man’. When I started to explain, she became bored with the complexities of writing about oneself – asked if I’d do it for her, and then changed the subject to how she intends to sue the guy who sold a car to her ‘as is’ because it didn’t work, and yelled at her son for stealing cigarettes from her.  You should never judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. This woman’s shoes are filled with enough dried bullshit to start bon fires for every pioneer on the Oregon trail.
She stumbled over, brought pretty good mini pumpkin pies then proceeded to force everyone to eat one. “You’ll LOVE it, come on! Eat them! Before they get cold!” 

She proceeded to ask me about a stupid freaking router she has that literally three people in my family have told her how to use. I refuse to do tech support for anyone I know personally because if something doesn’t work at any point in the future, it’s obviously going to be on me to fix it. 

“So my sister has a router,” This was not new information.

“The one you said you had two weeks ago?”


“Did that work out?”

“I don’t have it yet,”

“So you don’t remember anything I told you?”

(Note: explaining tech support, that thing I do for a living, during my free time, on drugs, is not fun)

“Can’t you just come over tomorrow and do it?”

“I have to work from 11am to Midnight,”

“Well I can’t do it, my kids won’t,”

I briefly explain. 

“So, there’s this thing called google…”

“Yeah but I don’t know how to google stuff, come on, I’m old,”

“I’m telling you how. You go to google, which is a website on the internet…”

“Yeah but I’m computer illiterate…”

THEN GET LITERATE AND STOP ASKING ME TO HELP YOU! It’s 2013! Computers aren’t HARD anymore,” I bellow in a high-voiced faux outage that cracked crystal in China. I can’t remember what I exactly said, but for about a minute and a half I rambled about how I may not know the most about about cars but if I have a problem I look into it. If I need to make something, I learn how to make it.

“Hey, whatever happened to that girlfriend you had, that you brought over once? How’d that turn out?”

I don’t know *what* she was thinking asking me that. When I posted about Great White Buffalos, I opted not to tell the story of one girl I had known simply because it was so convoluted, and messy, and awkward, that I couldn’t possibly put it into words. But, safe to say, my neighbor had a hand in confirming my suspicion it would never happen.

Oh, you mean the girl who had a boyfriend, that stayed here in Boston with me, and then during the course of the Superbowl you proceeded to ask over and over and over again why she wasn’t dating me WHILE she was fighting with her BOYFRIEND over the phone? Yeah, we don’t talk much anymore after you made her cry and feel like a terrible person,”

My neighbor slapped my arm.


Mom chirps in “What, you and <girl’s name> don’t chat anymore?”


Text message. A girl I’d been talking to online is in the area and taking me up on an invite. An invite that was, apparently, news to me.But there it was, sent about an hour ago with my address and everything. I texted back, asking how long she was going to be.

Im in ur driveway. Come outside. 

Well, shit. At this point any tangible sense of time and space and reality vanished. I now had to answer questions of why me and my ‘best friend’ didn’t really talk anymore – a scabbed over wound I barely think about, explain that there was a different girl I had never met, and didn’t really intend to invite over in the driveway, and The Patriots were about to mount a 4th quarter comeback drive.

 “Hey guys I gotta go outside and meet this girl I’m just meeting,”

“Why don’t we know about her?!” said my nemesis.

“Who is she?” said Mom.

“Well she’s…”

“How come we never heard of her?!” came the neighbor.

“What’s she like?” came Mom.

“How long have you known her?” came Dad.

was an insane series of questions that I had absolutely zero chance of
responding too, so I simply left. I go outside and meet this girl I had only seen in pictures. These situations are always awkward, awkwarder still when you didn’t intend for them to happen, and are on drugs. She was cute. She wore a turquoise scarf, and a green shirt and coat.

I said she reminded me of the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz. Smoooooove.

I invite her inside and following a clusterfuck of an introduction where every single person in the house talked over me while I tried to introduce this totally flabberghasted girl to my world.

She is then, literally, verbally, assaulted with tsnuami questions and comments and remarks from everyone in the house 

here’s an artist’s interpretation:

doyouwantachair?ohshesnothinglikethatothergirlyoubroughtover.doyouwantachair?doyouwantadrink?sowhatifyouredrivingjustonewontkillyoudoyoulikethepatriots?nowellifyouwannadatepaulyouhavetolovethepatriots.wereapatriotshousewelovethepatriots.  youshouldkeepcomingoverwelikeyouithinkyoutwomakeacutecouple.soyouonlinedatehowdoidothatineedaman.

Finally after all that, it was quiet, and I was finally able to talk to her.

“So…you like to read?”
“I do!” She said.

and there they went again



Silence. For a fleeting moment I did a cost/benefit analysis of a murder suicide pact.

But instead, I invited the cute girl outside for a chat. She was actually really cool. friendly, smart, interested in education and childhood development, lived all over the world, had a big family, and was freaked out, but not upset.

I liked her. Eventually my two friends who were there (they were a couple), came out, and never in my life have I been so happy to have friends laugh at me. It was a most warm laugh. The kind of laugh you give to someone after they fell in a lake while trying to retrieve a football, or get brutually rejected by a hot girl.

They were laughing at me, but I was with them. We all chatted for a few, eventually my neighbor stumbled out onto the back porch and we all agreed to disperse. She either puked or spilled her drink as I walked the cute girl to her car, and my friends packed up their stuff. There was chaos I didn’t see and only heard.

Walking the girl back to her car, coming down from my 0 miles traveled journey, and just casually apologizing and making light of the situation, She mentioned it was *not* her worst first meeting with an interested fellow, ever. I said I was offended and she laughed a genuine laugh for the first time that night. It wasn’t nervous or trying to be nice – she just found that shit funny. I kissed her goodnight thanks in part to a general lack of shits to give, she kissed back (which upon sober reflection of our text messages she likely assumed was to be a hook up), and waved goodbye.

There’s a sense of serenity that comes with the tail end of these sorts of nights. I took to my work computer, made some follow up calls to people all over the world, including India, Canada, and California, and found a peace in performing the jobly duties I typically hated. The entire day seemed like a disaster and being able to do something so mundane was welcome.

Getting lost on my way to a job interview, fighting with networking equipment, the Pats losing a game, inviting over a girl and forgetting she was coming, and a drunk neighbor I can’t stand stressed me out so much where I was so beyond caring about anything, that everything was wonderful, I had that Jimmy Stewart smirk of “Oh gosh, well, whatever’.

Then I checked my e-mail at exactly 12:18am. The house was empty. The neighbor had left, my parents were sleeping, and I was alone, literally 18 minutes into a brand new day an 9 hours before I had to go into work for a 13 hour shift.

“Welcome aboard / Team Meeting” was the first e-mail in my inbox. This had been a wild day of opportunity, frustration, bad
choices, good comebacks, embarrassing moments, good friends, terrible
drunks, and a pretty girl I may very much like, and will hopefully see
again roughly…4 hours after this post, but here was the highlight.

I had completely forgotten about a 5pm call I took. I got the job.

I’m now the managing editor of an actual website on the actual internet that makes actual money. Is it enough to quit the job I have now? The one I’m loyal too, but not passionate about? No. But it’s money, it’s creative, it’s cool as shit, and I can’t wait to work my fingers to the bone, just like I was two years and two months ago when I volunteered to work at Ebert Presents and was hired on full time about a month later.

I’d never had a day like this in my life. If this is how they turns out, I suppose a few more wouldn’t hurt either.