In the midst of tackling a seemingly unsurmountable mountain of end-of-year work, I keep flashing on the orange cinderblock walls of my junior high school principal’s office. For a kid who did okay in school, I spent an awful lot of time in the principal’s office–no surprise, probably. Combine hormones with a deeply ingrained mistrust of authority, and I was born to be an 8th grade teacher’s nightmare. Also no surprise that I keep flashing on that pocket of purgatory right about now. My malaise: the holidaze.
Although I recognize Tom Menino’s salt-of-the-earth goodness (he wasn’t called the “urban mechanic” for nothing), his death marks the first landmark Boston moment I’ve not emotionally responded to in my lifetime. I realize it’s because his entire mayoral reign (1993-2014) dovetails with my time in NYC. Have I finally become more of a New Yorker than a Bostonian? My new license plates would suggest so but–as I type this–I learn of the death of Car Talk’s Tom Magliozzi, and it hits me like a ton of bricks. He was the best wiseass (and, ironically, crucial in keeping my car Sadie alive). It’s such a Mass cocktail of tragedy and oddity: two Italian-Boston working-class heroes with startlingly similar names dying within days of each other. I can’t help admiring the confluence even as I realize no one here will care. Oh, I miss my people. Maybe you really can’t take the Masshole out of the girl.
I’m sitting up in bed—an unmade bed, even, which is so unlike me these days. It’s a big, soft tousle of linens and pillows and books, and I’m leaning against a velvet headboard, drinking a latte—extra-hot, extra shot—while eyeballing the grey, cool morning right outside my window. I like the idea of it all but, frankly, I’m exhausted.
Part of my exhaustion is just another day at the races: I did my laundry, fetched my groceries, picnicked by the water before it was even 10 am. But partly I’m exhausted because this was a huge week for me. It marked the real end of my Summer of Reckoning.
I fear bureaucracies—the IRS, the DMV, health insurance companies, housing agencies, patriarchy—the way others fear public speaking or being alone. In June my fears came home to roost or, rather, the rotten fruits of my avoidance became unavoidable. In the months since, every day I’ve had to do something that scares me. Which, of course, has not been the worst thing in the world. But a fun summer it did not make.
I crossed the last onerous item off my SOR to-do list yesterday morning, and immediately took off for the beach to celebrate the occasion. It was my first trip to the Rockaways this summer, never mind that to most summer had already ended. Continue Reading →