Thursday, May 22, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Greyhound of Death

As I write, I sit on a Greyhound Bus rattling through the Bronx on my way to Boston, and I wonder what, in the eyes of God, I did to deserve this. (Some guesses: I serve my community only when forced, I hate small children, and I write musicals that celebrate the destruction of furry mammals, often endangered.) Whatever my crimes, however, they seem less egregious than those of the man sitting two rows behind me. Through his cell phone conversations, here's what I've learned so far:
  1. He's drunk. In his words, "[The driver] said, ‘You smell like booze. Maybe you should chew some gum or something.' I said, ‘Fuck you, motherfucker.'"
  2. He can't visit Canada. Rather, he can, but if he does, he won't be allowed back into the United States. I agree with him that his parole officer is being entirely unreasonable.
  3. He's headed to Bangor, Maine.
From these items, there's only one conclusion: all people in Maine are drunken convicts. (True, Stephen King is from Maine; this does not disprove my hypothesis.)

Now, as the bus veers past West Haven, I feel myself torn between my two definitive characteristics:
  • Parsimony. Ever since I was a child, I've hoarded money and abhorred spending it. (During my middle school Europe Trip, I spent $50 over thirty days.) I'm taking Greyhound because it's the cheapest method I could find to get to Boston. If there were a less expensive method, even if it took significantly longer than Greyhound (camel ride, dirigible) or were significantly less comfortable than Greyhound (nothing), I'd be on it. Unfortunately, there is something to be said for economic self-discrimination, which leads me to—
  • Elitism. Generally, I don't like people (exception: Angela Lansbury), and I take all measures necessary to avoid them. For example, I attended schools that limited my exposure to the populace at large (thank you, gates and swipe cards); I live on the Upper West Side, high enough to avoid the crowds of midtown, low enough to not be shot. Life has thrown me the occasional curve ball—a dayjob which requires me to help strangers; a career goal which requires collaboration; friends, inexplicably—but, in general, when I'm forced to deal with the public, bad things happen. Specifically, people (and not just Bangorites) go to jail (cf. jury duty).
Further complicating matters is my destination. While the goals of my journey are admirable (seeing Natalie, Indiana Jones), the locale is not. Boston has its time and place, but these are 1776 and hell, respectively. Since its eponymous tea party, Boston's glories have migrated elsewhere, leaving only a barren Commons (their version of Central Park), a crumbing "T" (their version of the subway), and a university whose sole prerequisite is douchiness. So why would anyone move there?

Natalie's judgment, exemplified by her choice in friends (best-, boy-, and otherwise), has always been dubious. Back in 2006, she decided to move from the best place in the world (our apartment) to Boston, so that she could live in a corner of the living room belonging to Hanneke, her Christian roommate named after a Jewish holiday. Natalie claims that Boston has a much larger fiddling scene than New York, which speaks to comparative taste of Bostonites and New Yorkers. She also claims that she couldn't teach at Boston's Berklee School of Music (not to be confused with California's Berkeley School of Everything Else) if she didn't live within walking distance. I accredit this to women not being able to drive.

Since Natalie moved to Boston, I've visited her twice, each time for Thanksgiving. The highlight of these encounters has been the Thanksgiving movies we've seen (Casino Royale, Enchanted!!!), rather than the Thanksgiving food we've eaten. In 2006, we made like the pilgrims and supped on Junior Mints. (I had wanted to give small pox to Indians, but Natalie doesn't believe in community service.) In 2007, our meal was vegetarian (Or is it vegan? Which is grosser?). Instead of Tofurkey, however, we had Giant-Block-of-Squashurkey, which resembled a brick in all aspects but taste, where it fell short.

Whenever I visit Boston, my goal is to complain about everything (so that I'm not invited back), and Boston's goal is to justify my complaints. So far, Boston is winning. (My cursory understanding of pop culture suggests that I should insert a Red Sox reference here.) This time round, however, I'm rife with methods for effecting my disinvitation: lighting Natalie's possessions on fire, calling her roommate other Jewish holidays (Purim, Christmas), humming "Rent," and bringing along some of my fellow Greyhound passengers if it doesn't violate the terms of their parole. (I'll ask the Bangorite once he regains consciousness.)

Come to think of it, perhaps Greyhound is the only mode of transport that can accurately prepare one for Boston. In any case, it better act quickly. The turnpike informs me we're but 60 miles away.

 We lacked whip and fedora, so we had to improvise.

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