Saturday, November 5, 2016

some anecdotes

Heyyy. About a month and a half ago, I wrote most of this post (Stories 1 through 4) and then promptly forgot about it. Today I realized that I'd never published my post of odd/weird/interesting occurrences in my recent history, so I slapped on a few more and here you go.


So remember how when I introduced Ethel, I said she is really old? Well she is. And that means that we have some complications with her sometimes. When we first moved in, we noticed that the latch on the downstairs bathroom was a little stubborn and didn't always move completely when you open the door. On the second or third day we were here, one of my roommates got stuck in the bathroom, but she was able to jimmy it open with a butter knife I slid under the door. No harm, no foul. We kept the butter knife on the bathroom shelf just in case. I was hoping this would be a good conversation starter ("So, uh, why do you keep a knife in your bathroom....?"), but alas, that would involve inviting people over. Which would involve having people you know well enough to invite over. But I digress.

So when I couldn't get the door open after brushing my teeth one night, I wasn't too worried. I thought I could just use the butter knife trick and be on my way to bed. Nope. I tried, but to no avail. I could turn the doorknob, but none of the internal mechanisms moved at all; they were totally jammed into the door. Luckily, my roommates heard me making a bit of a racket trying to get the door open and came to my rescue. They tried from the outside, I tried from the inside, and nothing worked.

Then tools were brought into the equation. They unscrewed the doorknob, but we still couldn't unstick the stuck pieces. At this point, they suggest that I try to take the hinges off the door from the inside. I was able to get one, but the other was rusted/painted on. In retrospect, we weren't really sure what this would accomplish, even had I been successful, but Will Turner made it look so easy when he sprung Jack Sparrow from jail, so we thought it was worth a try. All that was left was hammering until enough things broke that the door would become unjammed. So hammer they did.

After nearly a half an hour, I was released from my prison with remarkably little damage done to the door. And the next day, we came home to a new doorknob and lock installed by our landlord, and it works like a charm.


Some classmates and I were chatting before class started, and one of them mentioned something about walking through Cincinnati, so I asked if that's where she's from. She said yes, and so naturally I told her that I'm from Florence, because that's just what you do when you're living somewhere that's not your hometown and you meet somebody who's almost from your hometown. As it turns out, she's from Florence too! She just says she's from Cincinnati to make it easier, which is something I've done before as well. So I moved to Boston and enrolled in a small grad program and ended up in a class with somebody who grew up within a few miles of me. Small word, right? And unlike that time I ran into the guy I'd forgotten I went to prom with, no, I didn't go to the same high school as her and didn't recognize her. She went to a fancy, schmancy, accelerated smart person private high school, and I...didn't.


This isn't exactly a story, but it's somewhat entertaining, so I thought I'd share it. One of my professors has the most pronounced Boston accent you could possibly imagine. Like, imagine a comedian imitating a Boston accent and blowing it way out of proportion, and you've got this guy's accent. It's delightful. He says things like "drawring" and "fustrating." If I could trick him into saying "I park my car at Harvard Yard," I totally would. But the absolute best part is his day job. He only teaches at night, and by day, he's a designer at Martha Stewart Magazine. Just take a moment to let that sink it. Martha Stewart. In Boston. Now imagine somebody saying Martha Stewart in a Boston accent. Multiple times a class period. It's wonderful, and I love it.


Sparked by some interesting experiences with people on public transportation, one of my roommates and I have started a competition to see who encounters the weirdest thing on their commute, whether by car or public transportation. I was of the opinion that she'd have an advantage over me, because she always takes public transportation, and I only take public transportation twice (sometimes thrice) a week. She's seen some interesting things (a man who, in her words, had "an actual baby someone photoshopped a baby's head onto him" and a lady pin curling her hair on the bus, among others), but I am currently winning.

So I was waiting at a red light behind a car with a Star Wars-themed stick figure family on the windshield. I was admiring Chewie and Han and Princess Leia when several things happened very quickly: the trunk of the car opened, a dog scrambled from the trunk into the backseat, and a giant kettle bell fell into the middle of the road. I don't know if the dog somehow opened the trunk from the inside or if the driver accidentally popped it or what; all I knew was that the light had just turned green, and there was a kettle bell directly where my left tire needed to go. There was a string of cars on both sides of me, so I couldn't swerve around it. Just while I was trying to figure out what to do (and the cars behind me began honking like their life depended on it, because #BostonDrivers), the driver hopped out of the car to retrieve his wayward kettle bell and close the trunk. The driver was a middle-aged man who was barefoot, half-naked (he was wearing a tiny pair of running shorts), and extremely oily. And, just so we're clear, I am not speaking metaphorically about the oily part—he looked like he'd just climbed out of a giant vat of olive oil, and his wet skin glistened in the sunlight. He waved at me like this kind of thing happens all the time, slammed his trunk closed, and took off.

Meanwhile the light had turned red again, so I had to wait for it to cycle around again.


The weather this past week was insane (in a good way), so I spent a lot of time at the park with the kids I nanny so we could soak up the last bit of delightful fall weather before Boston goes glacial. One particular day, I left an opened granola bar in the cup holder of the stroller (it was a two pack, but the three-year-old only wanted one of them) before going back to the play structure for the kids to play. A few minutes later, I glanced back at the stroller and saw a rogue squirrel robbing the stroller. It climbed up the stroller, picked up the granola bar (in the wrapper), took the granola bar out of the wrapper, replaced the wrapper in the cup holder, and scampered back down the stroller. I kid you not.


Two of my roommates and I went to Walden Pond today and then decided to go visit the graves of Thoreau and his nearby-buried buddies. While at the cemetery, we encountered a guy around our age dressed in all black except for a pair of white sneakers who was wandering around the graves a little ahead of us. We visited Thoreau's grave and Louisa May Alcott's before wandering over to the grave of Ralph Waldo Emerson, where the guy was currently standing. Emerson's grave is partitioned off by a chain that's bound to marble pillars on each of the four corners, and the guy was resting his chin on one of the pillars, deep in contemplation. We felt uncomfortable approaching the grave; it was like interrupting somebody communing with the grave of a recently departed relative. So dallied around, looking at the graves of some of Emerson's family members, thinking the guy would leave at some point. When it became clear that he was going to stay put for a while, we bucked up and went over to the grave. That's when we realized that he kept bowing his head and closing his eyes (presumably praying? Or maybe just very deep in contemplation?). And he was sniffling. And wiping tears away. He was literally crying over the grave of Ralph Waldo Emerson. It was simultaneously strange and hilarious and strangely touching?

1 comment:

  1. Very entertaining post, and I'm glad you got a new lock on your bathroom, lol.
    It sounds you have all the smart squirrels in Boston, and then the rejects came to Charlottesville. Preston and I were walking through our parking lot when we turned a corner and startled a couple of playing squirrels. The first squirrel jumped to the nearest parking block, then off to the side to scamper around the car. The second squirrel tried to follow, but instead of jumping to the side, went to dive underneath the car. It was pretty obvious that there was absolutely no space between the car and the parking block, so instead the squirrel just smashed his head into the car, tumbled to the side, and ran off. Preston had a good laugh at the poor thing.