Periscope Depth

to douchebags, with love and squalor

I was having a bad week last week. A week where I was recovering from a mild but persistent sinus infection that left me coughing, sneezing, aching and feverish. One of those weeks where I left the office late every night. And this night was one of those nights where I Wished a Sucka Would. When I boarded the train at South Station just as Boston’s loudest panhandler was getting off. That seedy white guy with a rolled-up newspaper who’s always asking for bus fare, because he just got out of rehab and his friend hooked him up with a place to stay, but he can’t move in until the start of the month, and he’s going to stay with his grandmother in Springfield, so he just needs $27.50 to take the bus out there, at the top of his hoarse lungs*. Never mind that a $27.50 bus ticket could get you to New York from South Station. I wanted him to stay on the train, not to leave, so that I could give him a piece of my mind.

I wanted to get in a screaming match with a meth head on the Red Line. That’s the sort of day it was.

I nursed this foul mood all the way back to Somerville. I scowled my way up the escalator, brushing past people who had the nerve to stand while I was in such a hurry. Exiting the station, I started walking down Elm Street.

“Hey, Davis Square’s pretty cool.”

The voice came from behind me. It was a young voice, male, not a local accent.

“Definitely.” A similar voice at an equal distance.

“Check it out – Boston Burger Company.” He indicated the tiny, expensive but tasty burger joint across the street.

“This is a great neighborhood,” the other guy said. “When the weather gets warmer, we should definitely come back here.”

“There’s that theater,” the first guy said. “Lots of great bars. Good places to eat.”

“Plus those Harvard chicks.”

“Oh, totally.”

I smiled. The tension dissolved from my shoulders. My head sank into one hand as I stifled a laugh.

“Which way is Chester Street? Do you think we’re going the right way?”

“We’re going the right way.”

“We haven’t passed it, have we?”

I sighed. Of course they were going to Redbones. Of course.

That’s where I left the gentlemen, ducking into Chipotle for a burrito and then heading straight home. I ate my dinner, wondering what sort of trouble these gentlemen from the Green Line were getting into. Maybe they were meeting some friends at “this awesome barbecue place in Somerville.” Or maybe they would end the night getting kicked out of Sligo.

Either way, I was grateful. Because even on the shittiest day in a long and shitty week, I still go to bed in one of the cooler neighborhoods of one of the cooler cities on the East Coast. I get paid an absurd amount of money to work online all day for one of the most desirable startups in the marketing industry. I’ve got a wealth of options right outside my front door and most of my friends live or hang out within three subway stops.

So thanks for the reminder, guys. I hope you had a good time.

* Boston is a small enough city that it only takes a few years to recognize the major panhandlers.

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