Tag Archives: Boston

A Construction Zone Tragedy

Jana: They say that tragedy + time = comedy. In the case of the story I’m about to tell you, I’m hopeful that the saying holds up. This story is a tragedy. This is the story of a tragedy that occurred in my life last spring at around midnight on a Wednesday.

It was April. At the time, I had a boyfriend who had been living in LA for about three months, and was returning to Boston to graduate from college and hang out with me for a month or two, and he was arriving on this very night. In what we thought was just an annoying thing but turned out to be a fatefully awful thing, his plane was getting in at midnight. Would I pick him up at the airport? Of course I would pick him up at the airport. I was his girlfriend, and I was very excited to see him, and I even bought him a flower and drank coffee at 10 PM.

Picture it: I had coffee. I put on makeup. At 11:30 or so, I walked to my car and felt the spring air alive around me. I turned on the radio and drove through Allston, energized by the city lights. Things were going well.

I kept driving. I got on the highway. I entered the tunnel.

Before I continue, I should say that I am really, really bad at directions. I don’t mean that I am ok at directions; I mean that my sense of direction is about as sharp as my sense of smell, which is essentially non-functioning. I’m an idiot. So, even though I’ve driven to Logan approximately 15 times MINIMUM, I was using the GPS on my phone. And when I use the GPS, I like to really stick to it, because when I don’t I generally end up alone and crying and lost in Revere without money to get past the tolls to make it home (I’ve had some bad experiences with fast pass so I don’t use it anymore, and I always forget to keep quarters in my car – it’s a frightful combination of failures). With memories like that, I really try to go by the GPS and do whatever it tells me, always.

So, I’m in the car. I enter the tunnel. My GPS tells me that I’m two exits away from the exit I should take. Cool, cool, I think, as I sing along to the radio and feel good about my life. But wait, why am I taking this exit? Somehow, it seemed like I’d been manipulated to get off the highway too early? What? This is wrong, but I’m gonna fix it before it gets worse! I thought proudly as I swerved back onto the highway.

And then I heard the sirens.

You see, I’d swerved through cones. THROUGH CONES, my friends. Listen to me: under no circumstances should you swerve through cones. You should never do that. Cones indicate a construction zone, and you are NOT SUPPOSED TO DRIVE IN THOSE.

The cops who pulled me over were NOT KIND. They assumed I had to be wasted, because WHY ELSE WOULD ANYONE DO WHAT I’D DONE, and they treated me like I’d just murdered all of their children. I was sobbing, and apologizing, and they were like, this is gonna cost you a thousand dollars, you could have killed someone, etc etc. Then they left me alone to shake with fear and gasp out tears while they conferred about what to do with me.

When they came back to my window, they handed me a $600 ticket. And then they told me I was lucky they weren’t towing my car, and that I should back up out of the tunnel.

Which I did, somehow. I BACKED UP OUT OF THE TUNNEL. I don’t even know how I did it. I thought I had maybe already died. It was fucking horrific.

So, then I went to the airport to get my boyfriend! It was a really joyous reunion in that I couldn’t even look at him because I was so freaked out and he was like, cool, it’s great to see you, and I was like, you have to drive home I have PTSD and will never drive again.

This is me and my car around the time of the incident. It's not the same day, which you can tell because I'm not sobbing.

This is me and my car around the time of the incident. It’s not the same day, which you can tell because I’m not sobbing.

The icing on the top of this tragedy cake is that, a few months later, I received a citation alerting me that I’d need to take a full-day, $150 class to re-learn about driving or my license would be revoked. And you guys – I went to the class. OH I WENT. It was awesome and I’m thinking about writing a “A Chorus Line”-esque musical based on the experience, but I’ll save that story for another day.

Catherine: If I had my old phone, I would have to go in there and retrieve the string of texts I woke up to from Jana that chronicled the incident. I was nervous by the time I texted her back, because I thought that there was real good possibility that she had killed herself. Luckily for BOTH OF US, that was not the case.

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The Dawn of the Millenium

Jana: Look everyone, it’s New Year’s Eve again! Or I’m sorry, the eve of New Year’s Eve, again. It just keeps happening.

You may remember that last year I told you, in no uncertain terms, that it’s best to STAY HOME on NYE. And I absolutely was not wrong. Odds are good that, if you do something, it will suck. Or, if it doesn’t suck, it will at best be entirely mediocre. Chances that you’ll meet someone you might fall in love with ON new year’s eve are shockingly small. Chances that you’ll just find someone to kiss who isn’t really gross or horrible are ALSO small. If you already have someone who you love and who loves you, it’s likely that you’ll get in a fight. I’m just saying. These are just the cold, hard, facts.

However, this year on NYEE, I wanted to provide you with a happy memory. I know that’s not characteristic of what we do here at DWDSTDT – and is, in fact, unprecedented –  but as I thought about New Year’s Eve’s past, I couldn’t help but remember this really nice one, and it seemed worth sharing.

It was NYE, 1999. The previous year, ’98, had been so brutally awful and sad for me that my parents were determined to make this one good. Plus, it was a big deal: the millenium, and all, and the excitement of a likely Y2K disaster. With these things in my mind, my parents organized a party for my entire 8th grade class. The parents would come too, and they would hang out in the kitchen while we, the teens, partied in the living room. We posed this to the class and people LOVED it because parents knew they’d be in the same house as their kids and everyone would be safe, and the kids were all nerdy like me and just wanted to soberly slow dance anyway. We were doing this!

My best friend Molly and I were elated. We weren’t exactly the “cool kids” in the class (we were weird, dirty, and generally left alone), but here we were, about to host the NYE MILLENNIUM party! We got right to work. First of all, I got my hair straightened, so I looked roughly 1000 times more attractive than usual. Also, I bought a sparkly sweater. Molly put her hair in pigtails. Our other nerdy friend agreed to “DJ.” Molly’s mom showed up early with the largest platter of deli meats that has probably ever existed. IT WAS ON.

Oh, and one other thing. Another friends’ mom happened to own a local toy store. As a surprise, she brought us party favors: little black journals that you had to write in with special day-glo pens. Everyone got one. EVERYONE GOT ONE. Has anything ever been better?

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We ALSO had one of those mini polaroid cameras, which were HUGE and not yet defunct. We pasted the mini pictures in the journals. GENIUS.

We partied away; drinking soda, listening to Smashmouth, hugging each other. Everyone used the journals as little “yearbooks” for the night, having everyone else sign theirs. The class HOT GUY, who I will call Jim, wrote in mine: “Thanks for having this party Jana, we really needed something like this.” I read it over and over. He knew my name; I was somebody at last.

There were slight hiccups, like the DJ friend breaking the stereo (see my list of party high points and low points, below). But mostly, I was in heaven.

At midnight, we all gathered on the back porch to watch Boston turn black from the Y2K power outage (my parents’ house has a view of the boston skyline. It’s a “grand view,” which is also the name of the street, which you are not the first one to point out). I will admit that when the lights stayed on I was pretty disappointed – what now, if not the apocalypse?, I thought. Well, life went on. Molly and I spent ALL of new year’s day in our pajamas, listening to Smashmouth’s hit CD on repeat and eating just SO MUCH deli meat. We rode our NYE2000 high straight into January: we were the 8th graders, and it was a new millenium, and anything (read: just high school, more sadness) could happen.

I will leave you with these excerpts from my “Millennium Journal.” Read them, and go forth into your NYE with full hearts and low expectations.

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Catherine: Unusual though it may be, yes, this post has been about a happy memory. One of the very few Jana has, so YOU’RE ALL WELCOME. As someone in Jana’s house, right now, I can gladly report that yes, the journal is as wonderful as it looks and oh-so-exquisite.

As Jana and I prepare to spend NYE together tomorrow, I think we can both assuredly say that it will not be any more fun than that party she threw that time in 8th grade. The party we are going to SOUNDS REALLY COOL (it’s in a WOOD SHOP – RIGHT?), but I know that we won’t have anyone to make out with, something unforeseen and tragic will happen, and maybe we’ll kill ourselves. And then it’ll be 2013 and we’ll begin making a new year of shitty memories.

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An Irish Memory

Jana: St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that matters only in Boston, or to big drinkers, or to people who look really good in green (ie, redheads – girls, not boys). Also, I guess, to the Irish. Luckily for myself and for Catherine, we together meet all of these criteria in one way or another. PLUS, St. Patrick’s Day is the day before Cath’s birthday, thus essentially BEING her birthday. For all of these reasons, we decided to go extra hard on St. Pat’s 2007, also known as Cathy‘s 21st birthday. The anniversary of this occasion seems as good at time as any to do our first ever “in college, we were drunk and did stupid things!” post. Happy Holidays.

Catherine: I gotta say, I am SHOCKED it has taken this long to dip into our many terrible college drinking times. How is it possible we haven’t tackled that night I fell asleep on a stranger’s lawn on the walk home? Strange. But, on with the story.

Jana: We had just returned from spring break, which we’d both spent at our parents’ houses doing absolutely nothing. It was, I believe, a Saturday night. As was our custom in those days, I collected approximately all of my clothing into plastic bags and arrived in Cathy’s room to try them all on in different combinations and with different jewelry. It took us a while, but here are the outfits (and, god help us, poses) we came up with:

   

I don’t have much defense for these pictures except to say that WE WERE IN VERMONT, and WE WERE TWENTY-ONE, although that in no way excuses the tiara (it DOES explain the wool socks). Also I’m sure Catherine stands by these outfits and still thinks they are great. Ah well.

Catherine: I wish there was a way we could go back in time and un-delete all the pictures taken BEFORE these ones. God knows these weren’t the only shots taken, but apparently these ones were the best – the ones deemed worthy for the facebook album. Also, Jana, on my birthday, and when I am 20, I can think that wearing a tiara is a cool idea. Although I do feel like it wasn’t my idea somehow? Not sure. But MOVING ON.

Jana: Once we’d settled on these, feeling really attractive, we waltzed into the kitchen to make ourselves a celebratory drink. We were drinking Bacardi Limon mixed with diet coke, a drink our group of friends had affectionately termed “Paula Abduls”, because they are very low calorie and probably Paula was drinking them during most of American Idol.

Catherine: Correction: She was definitely drinking them during most of American Idol.

Jana: The point is that, about 4 Paula Abduls in, we were with all our friends and dancing in the living room. An important thing to note is that the next day we were all set to attend a local child (in fact, our friend’s son)’s birthday party, and in anticipation of this event there was a large blow-up dinasour in the living room, which people danced with.

As Cathy demonstrates, here.

Catherine: Besides dancing, I would like to mention that pictures were taken with the dinosaur in compromising sexual positions, and also drinking. Sadly, neither Jana or I appear in these photos, so we have to refrain from sharing them.

Jana: Eventually, we went to karaoke. While this is not something I REMEMBER, I do know that it happened. At this point in my life my friends were all huge karaoke fans, whereas I was not generally a karaoke participant; yet, I karaoke-d on this night. I believe I met a gentleman who joined me on the stage (a quick peek at my actual journal for the day reveals “met some guy named kevin i think who i gave my number to”, so I guess his name was Kevin). Catherine, I know, sang her standard: Alanis‘ “You Oughta Know“.

Catherine: Quick side note about “You Oughta Know” (one of the best rock songs, ever, yeah, I said it.) Last time I was at JP’s, I sang “You Oughta Know” and closed out the night. I only know this not because I recall having a blast singing it, but because I saw pictures of me singing on my camera the next day and was informed that I had closed out the night while swaying in an enthusiastic but ultimately awkward way.

I don’t know what I sang.

Jana: The point is that around 3 AM we ended up at the local 24-hour diner, Henry’s, where after eating a hot dog AND eggs I fell asleep on the table and someone took a picture of me which I mercifully have been unable to locate.

Catherine: Henry’s is no longer open 24-hours. They had discontinue this perk after a late night food fight, which I feel a lot of regret about missing.

Jana: The next point is that the following morning, we still had to go to the child’s birthday party. I remember waking up and feeling like: how could I get dressed? I couldn’t. Could I? But, I did, and I chose to wear a pair of bell-bottom style khakis with a light blue tank top and a gray sweater, and to straighten my hair without washing it first. At the party, I looked and felt like this:

It was a real “You have no ability to dress yourself nor any right to be in the world, at any time of day” moment. In that regard, it was similar to my own 21st birthday, which I shall have to touch upon another time.

A la New Year’s Eve, we advise you to stay in this St. Patrick’s Day. At the very least, it’s best to leave your camera at home.

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If You Can’t Swim, Don’t Take A Swim Test

Catherine: As a youngster, I went to a Catholic Lithuanian Heritage camp in Vermont. It was awesome. I get that you don’t think it’s awesome, but that’s only because you are judging. Stop it. It was awesome. Except maybe for my brothers the short week they came, when their sleeping bags were set on fire. They didn’t think it was too great.

At camp, every day had a pretty similar outline, with swim time coming after lunchtime. After getting either a soda or an ice cream (it was also a health camp), we lined up with our cabins and walked down to the pond, which had a leech problem. Like, if you went in, you were gonna wanna make sure you didn’t just get ‘leeched.’ The most prominent leech spot was the shallow end, which was also not the cool hang out spot.

The cool hang out spot was the dock. You could only hang out on the dock if you passed a swim test, which meant that you could swim, oh say, 30 feet and back, or some really stupidly short distance, without drowning. And then you had to tread water for two minutes or until the lifeguard got sick of watching your head bop unenthusiastically up and down. I REALLY wanted to hang out on the dock, and for this I convinced myself that I COULD swim, despite every bit of evidence to the contrary (largely, that I had never been able to do so.)

I went at the same time as my friend, Alex, which calmed my nerves (which were REALLY JUST WAY TOO LOW FOR SOMEONE WHO COULDN’T SWIM). We got to the little floating rope thing, me doggy paddling just marvelously, and then I starting sinking (since I couldn’t swim). So I thought Alex would get my back and let me lean on her a little. Well, that backfired when she yelled out (and I can still hear this ringing in my ears) “She needs help!” Oh, good god. For someone taking a swim test so she could hang out with the cool kids, I really needed to have thought about the implications of making the too-cool-to-jump-in-the-water counselor rescue me.  It didn’t make me any cooler, you guys. It made me  LESS cool.

The counselor inquired, why did you take the swim test?? And I probably mumbled, “I thought I could swim… but I guess not…”

Sulking back to the leech infested half of the pond, everyone was staring at me, and asking if I was ok – I wasn’t dead, so just drop it guys. Don’t wanna talk about it. If I were to guess,  I was fighting back tears as I headed back to read my Baby-sitters club book on my towel.

I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. So, guys, if you can’t swim – don’t take a swim test. You can’t swim. You will fail.

You can’t tell from the picture, but that dragon is covered in white glitter. This was taken the summer of the incident – 1998.

Jana: Oh, Cathy. Poor Cathy. This reminds me of endless horrible camp experiences (my parents sent me to “Adventure Camp”; Adventures TERRIFY me), a similarly embarrassing swim test experience, and a bad leech experience. So yes, we’ve all been there (or possibly just me and Cath). I forget if Cathy can swim now, but I feel like she can’t, and this story brings a lot of things together for me.

Also, just so everyone knows, Cathy once told me about a “Genocide re-enactment” day that took place at this Lithuanian Camp. Apparently, they put the children into vans and blindfolded them and some other stuff that she’ll probably share at some point. She told me this story while we drove from Vermont to Boston, and I thought she was kidding most of the time. Then I realized that she was NOT kidding, and felt like I should take some kind of legal action on behalf of the Lithuanian children. I have to, I thought! But then I thought, ah well – someone else will take care of it.

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