Sunday, August 31, 2014

Taking My Boxes From The Warehouse

In the past I've written about me and my mysterious boxes. And this is going to start off just like one of those blogs, because a couple of weeks ago I got the call from Special Ops.

(Actually, let me back up for a sec. That's not exactly how it happened.)

A couple of weeks ago I got my "special assignment email" for the latest cycle, and there were some new instructions that were foreign to me. So I sent out an email asking "WTF?"

Then, I got the call from Special Ops.

"Phil, we have an 'extra-special new assignment' for you."

This 'extra-special new assignment' required a trip to The Warehouse to grab more boxes. Today, this is the story.

Because to get the boxes, I have to 1) punch in a secret code to enter The Warehouse, 2) unlock the sliding door to the first storage unit, and 3) grab the key that's in the first storage bin to unlock the sliding door to the second storage unit.

And here's the thing: I enter the first storage room and the key to the second storage unit IS NEVER WHERE IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE. THIS ALWAYS HAPPENS. I look all over for the key, other places where someone might leave it, and I don't see it.

How the hell am I supposed to complete the extra-special assignment?

Screw it. There's actually no wall in between the two units -- only three cumbersome metal bookcases and more boxes (not the boxes I need, unfortunately, a different kind of box). I drag the bookcases out, kick some boxes aside, and, voila, I'm in the second unit.

I take 15 boxes and bring them to my car. And I leave everything askew. Because unfortunately, the next time I need boxes, I'm sure the key to the second unit will still be AWOL.

No wonder people ask if I'm a spy.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Talking to the Chest

Once, a girlfriend told me that one of the things she liked about me was, "When we have a conversation, you talk to my eyes, not my chest."

I remember a sense of relief coming over me when she said it, because it honestly was something I'd never consciously paid attention to. But I could imagine how rude it would be, even though it's not something that would ever happen to me.

Or so I thought.

Recently I was outside a fine establishment where I was attending a party, and a young woman I knew came outside to have a smoke. And she started talking to me about some guy who kept talking to her chest.

"I'm sorry," I said. "That must be obnoxious."

"Very obnoxious," she said. "Let me demonstrate."

And so a conversation between the two of us began, throughout which she stared at my chest:

Her: "Hi, Phil, how are you tonight."

Me: "I'm good, you?"

Her: "I'm excellent. The band is great."

Me: "The food here is pretty awesome too."

Her: "Oh yeah, totally. Do you come here often?"

Me: "No, I've driven by before but I've never actually been."

Her: "Well I'm glad you're here. It's always a good time."

I think it was about here where I finally cracked and said, "OK, stop."

I'm sure I've had a handful of moments in my life where my attention has lapsed and I've talked to someone's chest, but I really hope my ex-girlfriend was right. Dealing with it from the other side (even in a half-joking manner as we were), I can now vouch that having someone talk to your chest is extremely uncomfortable.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Defense of Leominster, and an Indictment of Boring People

A recent list cites Leominster as the most boring place in Massachusetts.

I happened to have had the opportunity to be in Leominster one night recently. I don't think it was the most boring place in Massachusetts.

I saw a band play.

I caught up with some good friends.

I hung out at a fire pit.

Next door to the fire pit was a party that seemed to be raging.

While en route from one venue to another I saw someone being given a sobriety test by police (certainly not acceptable behavior, if indeed the individual didn't pass, but also not boring either).

All in all, it was a fun, non-boring night.

The list in question was comprised by people from San Francisco and only includes the 50 most populous municipalities in Massachusetts. Since Massachusetts has 351 municipalities, the list really can't make a valid claim that Leominster is #1 in boredom when only one-seventh of the cities and towns were included. It also consisted of criteria, some of which, to me, were arbitrary and had nothing to do with whether a community is boring -- for example, population density.

I've had fun camping in the middle of nowhere with only a handful of people around, and I've had fun in a stadium of 70,000 people. Life is what you make of it.

If you're in Leominster, Boston, Pittsfield, New Bedford, or anywhere else, and you're complaining about being bored, look in the mirror. Maybe you're the problem.