Everything Is Different

19 May

It’s been one week and 3 days since my friend died, but the past two days have been almost the most difficult. I think this may be because I was surrounded by friends ever since this happened, and kept busy preparing for the services. It is very difficult to be alone and getting back to my routine. I think it’s also been tough these past two days because it wasn’t until my husband said out loud in a sentence yesterday “Paul died” that it sunk in. It hit me like a ton of bricks. And I use “sunk in” loosely because when I am in Paul’s house, I still expect him to walk through the front door. Even when I was sitting in his dining room making picture boards for his wake, I half expected that he was upstairs in his room. His room, where I unofficially lived for years. The headquarters of all of my friends for years. I will probably never go up there again because I can’t face it anymore. Making picture boards for a wake will really make you incredibly aware of all the times you didn’t take pictures, and it will make you wish you didn’t listen to your guy friends groan over “another fucking picture?!”. Another strange feeling is to think that my friend will be a happy memory as years pass. It’s not strange that he will be a “happy” memory because everything about him has always made me happy, he is associated with “happy”, whether alive or not alive – but the fact that he will just be any sort of a memory at all, and not be alive, is hard to articulate. That it will become a new normal for him to not be alive. It is weird to reminisce about funny shit that has happened to all of us with him, without him.

Death is really weird and makes everything look and feel different.


13 May

Since posting Statistics I have received so many nice Facebook messages and WordPress comments. Thank you so much for your kind words. I wasn’t seeking condolences, just an outlet for what I am feeling, and I am so truly grateful for the support – even from strangers. Writing helps me put my thoughts together and make sense of life sometimes, and if it touches or helps anyone, that makes me happy. I am also appreciative of the shares, especially on that particular blog, as I can tell from the reactions that addiction is a topic that people can relate to. Sharing and talking about it helps. Let’s keep the conversation going.




12 May


I blog when I can’t find words in real life. Happens often because I hate confrontation. Maybe this is healthy, because it’s out there in the atmosphere and off my shoulders and someone is reading it, and it’s an outlet. Maybe it’s unhealthy because if I’m pissed at someone, I’d usually rather vent in the form of typing (sometimes) vague words loosely describing my situation on a computer for whoever to read. I’ve blogged the funny, the good, the bad, the pointless, the fights, everything. I have even live-blogged my panic attacks (thank YOU Generalized Anxiety Disorder for the blog topics!). But this weekend one of my good friends died unexpectedly and I have found myself, for the first time in my life, totally speechless. In fact, I even rewrote this post about five times.

Here is my attempt at words.

I have hung out with the same group since high school. My girlfriends and my guy friends all hang out and have forever. We all somehow merged together, despite some of us having gone to different elementary or middle schools. We spent weekends and Summers hanging out, usually the girls watching the guys on the Montclair basketball court during the day, and all of us, together, drinking in the woods at night…always laughing. I went on to marry one of the guys. Two of my best friends also date two of the guys in the group, who are also my husband’s best friends, as well as my friends. We are all best friends. It is a big group, my husband and I each had nine bridesmaids/groomsmen, and we felt bad because even with nine each we had to exclude part of our group who we also considered very close friends. Our group is so big that I guess statistically, the odds were stacked against one of us. But it’s not particularly common for twenty-something year olds to think in terms of statistics when it comes to death, nor should it be.

This kid was my husband’s roommate for years (which meant I was the obnoxious girlfriend that unofficially moved in on the bachelor pad). His family took my husband in when my husband’s family moved out of the city and my husband needed a new place to call home. He was given so much more than a “home”. Ryan and my friend were more like brothers than friends. They both lost their mothers on the same day and were there for each other during their toughest hours. He stood tall next to us in wedding pictures (he had about a foot on my husband). A gentle giant. He used to pick all of us girls up and throw us over his shoulder – he had a real awesome way of making a girl feel skinny! He could pin down most of the guys and with his foot alone, keep them down, laughing as they tried to get out. He loved WWE, maybe that’s because he could have been a wrestler, given his size. Basically living with him, and intruding on the man cave, I got to experience so many real laughs (I fake laugh a lot) that go along with hanging with the boys. The disgusting conversations. The legitimate fighting over one of the guys beating the other in Madden. My husband would write parody songs and sing them, with the boys doing sound effects and recording them (one in particular being our late friend doing turkey sound effects as my husband sang to his guitar a song about one of the boys having relations with a girl with turkey-like features). When my husband and I would go for late night dips in the pool, our friend would sneak out in a Jason mask and rise up from the back of the above ground pool slowly, staring, until I noticed him and screamed more loudly than I have in my life. The pranks that go down when being a girl amongst a group of guys.

The shock of the phone call we got with the news of his passing was so great that it brought me to my knees. I kneeled for 20 minutes on the grass in my backyard. On this warm and sunny day in May, the world had stopped. It’s ironic that the most ugly thing that I could imagine happening had happened on such a beautiful day. It has been extremely difficult to be there for my husband, his best friend, who has experienced more loss in his life already than I ever could imagine. In fact, this is my first real loss and I am, I think, handling it poorly. I don’t know how to judge how I am handling it, is there a tool that measures grief? I am really upset. I am also feeling regret. I wish I had more pictures. I wish that last Saturday when I saw him during the Mayweather fight that I had sat next to him and talked to him more, because it had been a couple of weeks since I had last seen him. I wish that I had paid more attention and noticed certain things about his demeanor that I am now seeing in pictures I took of that night. Something in hindsight, was not quite right.

My friend was an addict. Despite stereotypes, not all drug addicts are the same. They don’t all look the same, how a stranger might describe a “junkie outside the T” with sores, sunken-in eyes, looking gaunt. No, some look like my big, goofy friend, who smiled with his eyes and wore Patriots jerseys. Some people with addictions hold down steady jobs, and are respected by their coworkers. They come to our cookouts and parties. They stand with us while we get married. They watch boxing matches with the guys on Saturday nights. They don’t all act the same. Or possess the same qualities. They aren’t bad people. They, like my friend, can actually be the best kind of people. That give their jackets to the homeless guy they talk to on the way to work every day.

People suffering from addiction come from wonderful families. My friend lived with his aunt, who became an aunt to all of us. She is one of the best people I know. People suffering from addiction also have friends that don’t use. I say this because I’ve gotten a lot of slowly asked “Did you and your friend have a lot of mutual friends?” the last few days and if it comes from the wrong person I just want to scream at them: “ASK WHAT YOU REALLY WANT TO ASK!!!!  ASK IF I HANG OUT WITH JUNKIES BECAUSE GOD KNOWS THAT AN ADDICT WOULD HAVE FRIENDS THAT DON’T USE!!!” I am really learning the past few days that there are stupid questions. I am not speaking of the questions from friends, I know they care. It’s the randoms. And I know that I am just really angry and being irrational and people in general have good intentions (that “people have good intentions” bit sounds like one of those statements on a job assessment you are supposed to strongly agree with). But I see through it when certain people question. I am finding that there are questions that people ask that are really just nosiness and unfair judgments in disguise. They will reword the question to make it sound nice. Like asking if we had mutual friends. It’s a strange question. Why does that matter? I get it, no one knows what to say. I don’t even know what to say. Yes, all his friends were my friends, and my friends, his. Almost every friend we had was a mutual friend. My friend was a person with a skeleton in his closet, like everyone else. His vice was just more deadly than my glasses of red wine after a shitty day. And we all knew it was there. I can’t even say it was a closeted skeleton, because here we go with another question that I find to be stupid when asked by the wrong person “Didn’t you know?” . Of course we knew it, but why would we express what we knew to someone outside of our circle? All any good friend wants is to protect their friends. From harm. From judgment. Of course it was out there between us and our friend, and he knew that we were there.  We were family. We still are. And we tried the best we could to fix it. But sometimes “the best we could” is not enough.

Statistically, this was going to happen. I hated statistics in college, but I’ve never hated statistics more than I do now.


What You Owe

30 Apr

Here is a non-funny Buzzfeedy blog with a list of some things we don’t owe anyone but need to stop stressing over!!!

An Explanation: Unless you make a real commitment to something important to someone, we owe no sort of explanations for anything. “No, thank you” is just fine. You don’t need a reason for not wanting to do something other than not wanting to do it. If someone in your life takes that personally, then that is their problem to work out, not yours. If you make plans with a friend to hangout after work, then you have a long, shitty day and decide you’d rather house a buffalo chicken sub alone on your couch, you shouldn’t worry that your friend will make a big deal or talk shit or use the old school fan favorite childhood vocabulary word “ditched” . You also shouldn’t feel the need to make up a better excuse because you think they’ll pick your excuse apart. Don’t lie to appease someone. I would rather hang with my friends when they want to hang, not when they feel obligated. Here is a good way to say it, “Hey, today sucked. I won’t be much fun today. Rain check?”. Easy peasy.

An Immediate Response: I love my iPhone in an unhealthy way. My iPhone is for me to use how I want to use it. If I don’t feel like talking, I don’t have to. If I mentally reply to a text, but forget to hit “send”, I don’t need to hear about it (example: “You didn’t answer my text but you opened my Snap!” Unless you had definitive plans to meet up, shut up and move on). We are so connected to our social technology that it’s almost expected that we always be available for everyone. A cell phone is a lifeline to socialization. We pay for it monthly to use it how we want to. Your friends should understand that you will reach out when you reach out. And them, the same.

The Same Priorities: Everyone has different shit going on in their lives, and some are in different places. My husband is one of my priorities, because he is under the “family” category now. If a friend is asking you to set your priorities to the side to accommodate them, then maybe they need to tone down the neediness. Example “But you live with your husband! You see him every day. Hang with me!”. Um. What? Okay, why don’t you call in sick to your highly important career to get day drunk with me because “I need you right now because I’m in a fight with my husband!”. Priorities don’t have to be the same in a friendship, but they do need to be acknowledged and respected.

An invitation: I have more that one friend. Sometimes I just want to hangout with one. Sometimes all of them. It doesn’t always have to be a party, but sometimes it’s nice. If a friend sees you check in on Facebook to the dive bar up the street and wants to join, let her call you and say “Hey, saw you and so and so are at bladdy blah, I’d love to join for a beer!”. There is no need to be butt-hurt over not being included in the initial plan. If someone gets mad at you for that, it is their own insecurity. I’ve had this problem in my own life, as I am sure everyone has heard the old “thanks for the invite” jab (side note, I’d love to jab the people who write this under Facebook check in’s…right in the face). It always confused me, because I just invite myself to places I think it would be okay for me to go. I’m not saying I invite myself to weddings or anything major, but a simple “can I join you guys at breakfast?” will suffice. I started taking inventory on who was doing this crap to me…the “thank for the invite” shit. Noticing a pattern of hypocrisy, I too would call it out, just to make a point (example: “You got pissed at me for doing this without you, but now you’re there and didn’t ask me to come!”). I am vowing to never do that again. If you notice yourself doing that, stop. Maybe you weren’t invited because your friends were going to a restaurant they know you don’t like. Maybe they thought you had plans. Or MAYBE they just didn’t think about you on this occasion. And that’s alright, too.

A little branch off of this topic is that you also don’t owe anyone updates on what you are doing. If you invite someone to hang, and they decline based on what you’re doing, you don’t need to update them if your plan changes. If they were tired when you invited them to come by for vino, then why should you feel bad that you decided to grab a slice of pizza up the street instead? They said they were tired. If the plan sounds more exciting than it used to and the thought of pizza and beer wakes them up (it would wake me up!), then they can give you a call. You don’t have to constantly update someone based on plan changes. You have the right to change your mind. You are an adult and you can do whatever the fuck you want without consulting anyone.

An Apology: If you aren’t sorry, don’t apologize. Too often we apologize to keep the peace. If you feel you didn’t do anything wrong, don’t feel the need lie about being sorry to make someone else feel better. What about your own feelings? Fake apologizing is giving in. It leads to built up resentment, and that’s counter-productive. There is nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree then working towards a resolution based on a mutual want to make a situation or relationship better.

We also have the tendency of keeping quiet about things that hurt our feelings. Why? If something upsets you, just say it. We teach people how to treat us. Don’t let anyone treat you like shit..which leads me into what we DO owe friends, and that is: Respect. I get that to get respect we have to earn it. But I am talking about friends here. If someone is on friend level with you, they should have already have earned your respect. If you don’t respect your friends then you are being a bad friend. If your friend doesn’t respect you, then they are being a bad friend. Friendship is a mutual respect and if one side is lacking, it is probably time to lay the relationship to rest. Respect ties into everything mentioned above. I don’t owe it to my friends to invite them every time I leave my house. But I do respect them enough that I am not going to go to brunch and invite all of my other friends and leave just one friend out. I respect them enough that I am going to call them back when I get a free second. If I am going to their favorite restaurant, I will give them a call to see if they want to tag along. If I have unintentionally hurt their feelings, I am going to apologize because I don’t want to be responsible for hurting them. But I am not going to constantly sacrifice my own feelings to make someone feel better. Any “friend” who expects you to do so is someone you should move on from.


What People Give A Shit About When It Comes To Weddings

14 Apr

When a girl gets engaged, there are about 5 billion things that run through her mind that first week. These thoughts range from “DO I LIKE MY RING?!” to “DO MY FRIENDS LIKE MY RING?!” to “HOW MUCH WAS MY RING?!” to “Oh my God, I FOUND THE RING RECEIPT! SHOULD I LOOK AT IT?!”, etc. After the hype dies down and the planning begins, the feelings of ” I HAVE SO MUCH SHIT TO DO” starts to set in. You gotta book a reception, make sure the reception hall availability matches up with wherever the ceremony is, play phone tag with your priest – which is weird in itself because calling a priest feels weird- start thinking about who is going to be in the bridal party, and how much fat you need expelled from your body effective immediately… aaaaaand then comes all the vendor booking. I did all that worrying and freaking out myself when I got engaged. I was the first to get married out of my girlfriends, so there was this added pressure that comes with being the first (that rhyme does state that “first is the worst”, no?), and fear that no girl I knew had done this before – recently at least.

I wish there was just one thing that someone had told me. And that is:

NO ONE GIVES A SHIT. There. I said it. No one cares. Before you get all sad and think “What?! No one is happy for me!”, know that is NOT what I am saying. I am saying that no one cares about the details of your wedding. No one. Not even God. No one cares, and no one wants to hear it. Except your mom, she loves wedding shit, probably. And actually, she will probably tell you all that I’m about to, but no one really listens to their moms when they are excited about getting married. Until after they are married, and by then it’s too late and you’ve already probably lost all of your friends after being a psycho bitch for 12-13 months on average. I wish there was someone there to tell me that no one gives a shit about all of the following:

No one cares about your Save the Dates, invitations, place cards, table numbers, ceremony program, or really any other paper goods/stationary associated with you getting married. This is so important because this shit will add up and pretty soon you will have spent $1798.23 on 245 pieces of sturdy “matte” paper that has some calligraphy on it. Think about what you do when you get a Save the Date or invitation in the mail. Do you analyze the font like you’re straight out of that scene from American Psycho when Patrick Bateman wants to chainsaw the dude over his business card? No. You don’t. You open it up and see that it’s a Save the Date and you groan and think “A-fucking-NOTHER one?!”. Then you throw it on a table or on your fridge and dread all the events that you know are going to be associated with this one big event and all the Saturdays you will have to sacrifice over the course of a year. Unless it was made on Microsoft Paint, no one will judge you. Also, people will rag on your engagement photos, for the most part. You can still get them, just know that.

No one cares about your flowers, centerpieces, or knick-knacks: All this shit is pretty to look at when guests are struggling to make small talk during cocktail hour before their buzz kicks in. And stranger reading this blog, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you don’t have tacky taste. But overall, does anyone other than David Tutera care whether you have babies breath in a vase or white carnations in a jar? Unless they are your one gay friend, probably not. If I’m being honest here, I don’t even like bringing centerpieces home when offered. Why? Because I am always drunk when I am offered or win a centerpiece, and just throw it in my car, and forget it’s there until a month later when I’m looking for something on the floor of the back seat of my car, and by then it’s just a mound of dead roses in a dirty container. We should really just start calling it “losing the centerpiece” because all we are doing is losing time picking up dead flower petals in the car 30 days after we “win” the centerpiece. This not giving a fuck extends to favors, too. Sometimes you get cool wedding favors you can reuse (I guess?). But then again, most people will eventually throw out that plastic birdcage with the couples’ names etched into it. Maybe I’ll feel a little bad about throwing it into the barrel, but I will never think about it after that initial and irrational “Aw, I might have needed that plastic birdcage with Greg and Julia’s name etched into it”.

No one cares if you don’t have an equal number or bridesmaids to groomsmen: Oh my God, you have 3 bridesmaids and 2 groomsmen?! Everything is going to be uneven and awful!!! ACTUALLY, aside from the concern that your fiancé might be a serial killer due to the red flag of having no friends other than the bride’s brothers in his bridal party, no one cares. No, it doesn’t look stupid when just one girl walks down the aisle. No, it doesn’t look stupid if they all walk down single file, or 3 at a time. No one thinks about it, and no one cares. Similarly, if your bridesmaid has a giant tattoo, or a mushroom cut, no one cares. Maybe your sassy grandmother will make a comment. But who cares? No one. The only one who ever cares is the bride, and maybe the bridesmaid if she’s self conscious about a tribal tattoo she got when she was 18 that is impossible to cover up in the dress you picked out. But that’s not your problem, now is it? And there is always someone who brings up “But their bad hair is going to ruin the pictures!”. One bridesmaid is going to ruin all of the pictures? Are you going to deck your house out in pictures of you and your bridesmaids? Maybe one. But most of your framed pictures will be of you and your husband. That will nauseate your friends and family enough without the extra collage of you and your girly girls fake laughing.

No one cares about your cake: Everyone is drunk. They are just eating the cake because they are drunk. They don’t care what it tastes like, and probably wish it were pizza anyways. The only ones who care about your cake are the photographer (until they get a picture of it before and after cutting), and the flower girl, and let’s face it: she’s been kind of a bitch lately. You know what? Fuck the cake, just get pizza. It comes with one of those little white table things in the center for free, and you’ll save $75 by not having to buy a cheesy cake topper that doesn’t even remotely resemble you or your husband. And the “funny” cake toppers? They aren’t funny. No, not even the one with the wife dragging the husband away from the couch.

On the topic of food, wedding guests don’t expect to go to the average wedding and get  a steak that rivals the aged Porterhouse at Capital Grille. Any person who has been to camp knows that most food that is cooked in large quantities end up being bland, and wedding food isn’t exactly known for winning any awards. Everyone knows it, in fact, they expect your stuffed chicken to be best described as “edible”, and they will eat it anways and it will be fine. Sorry for calling your wedding “the average wedding” a few sentences ago. My point it, don’t get bent out of shape if the food isn’t 5 stars. This is getting a little redundant, but, no one cares.

American-Psycho-Patrick-Bateman-Business-Card-Picture Okay, now to cancel out all of the negativity from above, let’s talk about the things that ARE important when planning a wedding. And none really have to do with what other people think, because weddings shouldn’t be about what other people think. It’s what you think. And your husband. I guess.

Pictures: You want to look back and get a flashback of how you felt in that exact moment on your wedding day. Find someone who you think can capture your wedding in a way that is personal to you. Look through portfolios of reputable photographers and if you like their “vibe”, hit them up. Meet with your photographer. Check out their work in person. Talk about what you want. And what you want to be a focus. I vibed with my photographer and felt comfortable with her doing her thing on my wedding day. In my opinion, it also eases a ton of stress to go with a photography company that does packages. It’s less people to worry about and reach out to in the days leading up to, and day of, the wedding. Also, you might think you will never watch your wedding video, but it’s so fun to get one and watch it months later. Just don’t host a viewing party, because no one cares and you will lose the few friends you may have left. (Quick plug for my photographer, the amazingly talented Kristen Conte of Conte Sound Production. Kristen’s husband Tom sings during cocktail hour and is the best DJ. They also have packages for videography/uplighting/pretty much everything. Check them out and tell them I told you to!)

Music: Nothing kills an event faster than bad music. I went to an event last Summer during which the DJ played Sinatra’s version of Old McDonald. Pick a good DJ. You’ll care when you are looking out into the most socially awkward scene since middle school. Only this is your wedding. Yikes.

Dress: No one really cares about your dress (but maybe non-guests will judge you when you upload your wedding album onto Facebook if you pick something that makes you look unflattering). But you will. You will want to feel comfortable and beautiful the day you get married. Put some effort in, for once in your Goddamn life!!!! Oh, and don’t wear anything too weird on your head. I mean, if you love head-wear, who am I to stop you? But there was some chick next to me at the bridal boutique the day I was dress shopping for my gown and she was wearing the ugliest effing bridal hat on her head and her entire “support” team was telling her “Yeah, yeah, that looks GREAT!”. Listen, it doesn’t look great. You’re wearing a white satin top hat with a bird cage and you aren’t in England. Get a new support system if anyone suggests a hat without you ever expressing any kind of an interest in hats. It’s likely that person is your enemy and trying to steal your husband and sabotage your life.

And okay, I guess the guests are a little bit important, so here are a couple things that guests will feel good about:

1. Open bar. Obviously. But it’s not wise if you have too many guests. An open bar at a big wedding can easily turn into a more violent version of the pie eating contest in Stand By Me if you have any wild cards on your guest list.

2. Short ceremonies. Praise Jesus! (Funny story: I had a full mass!!! LOL, right?!)

3. Short car rides between ceremony and reception.

4. Short speeches (threaten the bridal party).

5. Associated events, like showers, being local and not at the ass crack of dawn. 10AM is only a good time for people over 60. Also: make sure mimosas are there. If you have a dry shower, you are just jinxing yourself into an unwanted pregnancy before you exchange vows. It’s bad karma.

6. A dimly lit dance floor. Maybe I’m just speaking for myself here, but no one likes to dance in broad daylight.

7. A decent sized wedding registry with varying price ranges. Don’t worry about putting the big things on it either, people go in on the Kitchen Aid stand mixer in groups! And the attachments are perfect for those loner guests who don’t know anyone else in attendance!

8. A good seating chart. AKA please GOD put me with SOMEONE I know. ANYONE!

So brides, try not to sweat the small shit, because really, no one gives a shit anyways. You can take that and feel depressed that life isn’t all about your wedding. Or you can take that with a side of red wine and stop talking about your wedding. XOXO. pie

Excuse Me Sir, But Can You Get Me A Run?

1 Apr


DISCLAIMER: I do not condone any of this.

Being of age is something I often take for granted. Can you imagine all of a sudden being 20 years old again and unable to walk into a liquor store and pick up a bottle of $5.99 Sutter Home after the shittiest day in the office?! But at least when you’re 20 you might have had some friends who were a few months older that could do the deed for you. How about when you’re 16 and have no connects?! Not being able to purchase my own booze is something I can barely imagine, yet at the same time remember so vividly. And it’s fucking HORRIFYING to look back at the outrageously compromising situations my friends and I put ourselves in. Seriously, if and when I have kids, I can only pray they will never stand outside of a train station with a backpack scoping out anyone who looked “rough around the edges” to buy them a half gallon of Rubinoff or a 30 of Bud Light to split with 4 people. It can only be described as the most dangerous rite of passage that Suburban white kids could partake in, aside from whatever idiotic trends are “in” right now (I hope small town Midwestern teens are over the whole choking game thing).

Here is how it went down:

If you were the only girl, which I often was, the boys would recruit you to do the asking, THANKS GUYS!, as they eagerly stood a few yards away, staring at the ground anxiously pretending to kick pebbles. Like I said, you’d wait for someone who looked to be in distress. You would discuss amongst each other: “Nah, nah, that guy looks like an undercover. And that one looks like the dad from the Sound of Music. You know, Christopher Plumber. Can’t ask him.” The perfect candidate was a homeless man. The worst candidate was a woman. Maternal instincts can be a real buzzkill. Once you made your selection, you would get your game-face on and go into the cutesiest persona you could fake. The more innocent, the better (GROSS). You’d approach the potential buyer and squeak out in a babyish voice, “Excuse me, sir?”. When they say “Yeah?”, you beat around the bush a little so you can gage the person’s reaction: “Could you get me a run?”. A lot of adults didn’t know what a ‘run’ was, so you’d get a quizzical “a what?”, as if they were expecting a knock-knock joke. Point blank you’d say “Alcohol’. You have to know that you strike out more often than not. Usually you’d get a “You fuckin’ kiddin me?! You want me to get arrested?!?! The fuck outta here!”, (which is precisely what me nowadays would say to a kid asking me to buy for them) until that moment of glory when you find someone who pretends to be apprehensive, but relents after a few “Pleeeeaaaaaaseeeee!“‘s. You can be waiting for hours sometimes. You might have to ask 16 people. Sometimes you’d get lucky and a well-known mentally-not-there bum named Bugs would stroll past the lot. Bugs referred to himself as the “President of Quincy” and his turf was Wollaston. Roger was North Quincy and hung out by the generator behind Hannaford’s. Jerry lived in his van in the Vane Street parking lot, behind the Irish Pub. He would get PISSED if you woke him up, so you had to sit on the curb next to the van until he got up to cook sausage on his griddle. Every one of these men had different personalities. None of them very endearing. Sometimes you’d see a hunchbacked man walking around near the old theater with a shopping cart and think “This is a sure thing”, only to hear him utter his raspy response “I’m just a simple can collector”. You just never knew.

Wollaston was ideal because Bugs was always a safe bet. My friends and I knew all of Bugs’s normal hiding spots and usual benches. His breath stunk of booze and butts. He also required payment in the form of change from the packy order, 5 beers out of the 30 (which really stung), and a pack of Newports. This was a lot for kids who either didn’t work or barely worked. After a couple years of utilizing Bugs’s packy run services, he disappeared. Looking back on it, he was probably dead.

Older kids with fake ID’s, AKA a “connect” knew the power they had over the minors. Sometimes we would call a connect in the early afternoon to secure a run for the evening. They would tell you to trim your order down and not to buy several different liters of flavored vodka. Too obvious. If you got too confident in their promise, you could really set yourself up for huge disappointment if they stopped answering your phone calls as night approached. This was a common occurrence, unless the connect could be described as a “fucking loser” who had no friends their own age. There was an older kid named Shawn who used to buy for my friends and I. He was probably 18 at the time and drove a brown rape van around Quincy. He picked us up after getting us liquor one night and there was shattered glass all over his back seat. We asked why we were sitting on shattered glass and he replied “Oh ha, THAT. My friends were kidding around with me and punched my window in.” Ha…

Unless your connect didn’t have much of a life of their own, or was a direct relative, you had a 50/50 shot. Of course you could water down your parent’s liquor cabinet, but that was tough for anyone with an older sibling. My parents were serving their guests diluted punch far before I was interested in catching a buzz, thanks to my sister. Things aren’t always handed to you, sometimes you have to work for what you want in life.

Perhaps the most stressful part of getting a run came after the victory of actually finding someone to buy it for you. Nope, just having the booze in your possession didn’t mean you were in the clear. Lots of 16 year olds don’t have cars. We had to walk from Wollaston Center to Piney Island or White Rock without a cop getting suspicious about why we were carrying an LL Bean backpack on a Saturday afternoon in July. I likened it to that arcade game, Frogger. Dodging obstacles to get to your target destination. You couldn’t just walk down Fenno Street carelessly like you were carrying a bag full of Thin Mints and sidewalk chalk. You took Wollaston Ave to Waterston Ave to Marlboro Street, and cut through Langley Circle: where the opening to the marsh was. Home base. Of course I wasn’t as observant to this at the time, but in retrospect, growing up is a weird thing. The backyards you were hiding in during a game of Relivio the previous Summer, were the same ones you cut through with the boy you had a crush on and a bottle of stowed away Raspberry Smirnoff vodka a year later. Still hoping not to be seen, but on a different scale and with a slightly more serious consequence that involved an angry mother.

The police knew that Langley was a hotspot, and they’d circle around the perimeter, waiting. The grass behind Langley Circle in Wollaston was hydrated with Natural Ice that Super Cop made teenagers pour out themselves. It felt sadistic. I remember one cop laughing as we cracked each beer open, to pour them out one by one, saying “This is why I love America! You kids work your dead end gigs at Stop and Shop to buy booze for me to bring home to my wife!’ and looking back on it, was one of the most perfect lines I’ve ever heard. A few minutes later, my Nokia (my mom’s phone that she let me borrow on weekends so I could check in) blew up. It was my mom: “I’m listening to my scanner and you better not be at Langley Circle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”. Better luck next weekend.

I’m going to leave out the parts where my friends and I got sick of dealing with white strangers and their disgusted Absolutely Not!!!’s and lectures when we were just looking for a bit o fun. You know, that part where we quit asking for runs in Quincy all together and traveled to Fields Corner to ask strange men who walked by the old Bradlee’s instead. It’s a little less coming of age/endearing than everything else.

Don’t Tell Me How To Live

31 Mar

There are two things I don’t like in this world. The first are a masculine set of Tevas on a woman I respect.

The second is when I’m texting and walking and someone stops me to point out that they know someone who knows someone who got hit by a truck and died while texting and walking. Or that they saw a video online of someone walking into a mall fountain whilst texting and walking. Why are people telling me this shit? I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life. I was once walking on Kneeland Street while talking on the phone and was hit in the head (hard!) by a descending parking lot toll gate. I was disoriented for 20 seconds and…I’m still here! I don’t walk near fountains because they are cesspools for piss and pennies. And I certainly don’t appreciate anyone telling me not to use technology unsafely if I’m not in an automobile. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

“I was texting and driving in LA once and almost drove into a mountain. That could have been a person.” -Tyra Banks


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