Go-vember, Part I

Greetings, readers!  I apologize for the brevity of my posts, as well as the lack of variety and frequency.  There’s stuff I’ve been meaning to write; I saw two shows last month and by now I’m three Glee-caps behind.  But if it’s any consolation, I’ve been slacking with the blog because I’ve been out having many adventures!  In fact, the month of November has turned out to be so chock full of excitement, that I have decided to rename it Go-vember.  I’m pleased to say that I finally have the time to regale you with the first three outings of Go-vember.

Adventure #1: The New York City Marathon

First of all, relax yourselves: I was not running the marathon, merely observing those who were.  Among the tens of thousands of competitors were four friends of mine, including kickball heroes Stacy and Tony.  Some of Hoboken’s other most notorious intramural athletes joined me for some marathon morning bagels and booze, and then we headed into the city, with a thermos full of spiked hot chocolate to keep us going.

We managed to get right along the race route in the east side of Central Park, at roughly the 23rd mile mark.  If you’ve never gone to watch the marathon in person, I highly recommend it.  It’s so easy to cheer the runners on, because half of them have their names written on their shirts.  So, you don’t know these people from a hole in the wall, but you can still shout, “Go Bob!”.  The other half of the people running are wearing the flag or coat of arms or just simply the name of whatever country they hail from, and so you can encourage them with appropriate national slogans and expressions of encouragement.  In short, it’s a great excuse to come out and yell at total strangers.

Extra points go to the people who ran in costume.  I saw Minnie Mouse, Wonder Woman, and SpongeBob SquarePants, among others, all huffing and puffing towards Columbus Circle.

Adventure #2: Inside the Actors Studio

Last Wednesday, I headed downtown with frequent adventuring companion Maggie to attend a taping of Inside the Actors Studio.  I’ve been to some of these before, but I was pretty excited for the guest this time: James Franco.  I’ve been a fan since he played James Dean in that TNT biopic, so I was interested to see what he was like.

As it turns out, he’s alternately verbose and reticent, excitable and subdued, but overall an intelligent guy who is very clearly grateful for and happy with what he does.  I learned that he has a minor criminal past, that he’s taller than I expected, and that he almost went the full Method when preparing for the role of a male prostitute.  Way to commit to the craft, Jimmy!

Adventure #3: Massachusetts Road Trip

This past weekend I hit the road, bound for Massachusetts to make some anticipated visits.

First, I stopped in Springfield, where my brother would be coaching some college football.  The last time I was in Springfield was for a summer camp trip to the lackluster Basketball Hall of Fame.  It hadn’t changed much.  I was pleased to see that Springfield College continues the proud tradition of pretty, tiny liberal arts colleges plopped smack in the middle of a destitute community.  It’s nice to know my college experience wasn’t so unique in this regard.

My brother’s Union Dutchmen had been having a difficult season.  At this, their last game, they fought tooth and nail, but ultimately and unfortunately came up short.  It was a good game, though.  The two teams were separated by a two point margin for three quarters.  My brother was in decent spirits, both before and after the game.  I left, marveling at the fact that the kid who once blindly walked into a pool (without his Swimmies!) is now a responsible young adult blazing a career path in education.

My next stop was just beyond the city limits of Worcester, where I was going to see my best bud–and soon-to-be medical student–Kevin.  I’ve recapped previous adventures with this hooligan before.  This one would be no less entertaining.

We met at his brother’s house, where a birthday party for his two-year old nephew was in full swing.  I don’t remember the last time I was around that many small people.  Maybe when I was a camp counselor; maybe when I was in China.  After I was force-fed a plate of sausage and peppers, Kev declared we were Boston-bound, where we would meet up with his two friends, Brendan and Chris.  As an added bonus, one of our mutual friends from college, a man-child named Mike, was going to meet us at our eventual destination, the Bell In Hand Tavern.

The Bell In Hand is a stone’s throw from Faneuil Hall, so it was a crowded part of town on a Saturday night.  It’s an interesting place, that Bell In Hand Tavern.  It can’t quite make up its mind as to what kind of establishment it wants to be.  Is it a neighborhood pub with live music?  Is it a sports bar with multiple televisions and bucket o’ beer specials?  Is it a party venue for your special occasion?  Or is it a Jersey Shore dance club, full of inebriated twenty-somethings beating the beat?  Depending on where you were at various points throughout the evening, it was all four.

After commiserating over very large beers, we decided to move our little stag party upstairs, where the music now seemed to be coming from.  To the strains of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” (no, I did not do the fucking dance), we walked right into what appeared to be someone’s retirement party.  There were Olds as far as the eye could see.  Only a handful of females, tightly clustered into small pods near the dance floor, were representative of our age bracket.  Refilled glasses in hand, we found a comfortable corner in which to set up base camp.  We watched and waited as the demographics in the room gradually began to change in our favor.

Now, as long as I’ve known him, Kev has been a Casanova of the highest order.  He could charm a traffic light into turning green.  While I was content to marvel with detachment at the one girl tearing up the dance floor by herself to some vintage Whitney Houston (girlfriend really wanted to dance with somebody, with somebody who loved her), my best friend was looking to make more serious connections.  His attentions soon fell on two raven-haired beauties who were sharing a table with what appeared to be–yes, in fact, really were–their moms.  Undaunted, he put on his best Eddie Haskell act and, with Brendan and Mike in flanking position like a pair of well-mannered beta wolves, introduced himself.  Chris and I filled the David Attenborough role, commenting on the courtship display like it was a bonus feature on the Planet Earth DVDs.  Upholding his impeccable rate of return, Kev soon had everyone on the dance floor, moms and all.  To be fair, after a few drinks, there’s no turning back when the DJ starts dredging up the early 90s hip-hop hits.

We rang the Bell In Hand until nearly closing time.  Kev and I crashed on couches at Chris and Brendan’s places, and cured our hang-overs the next morning with a massive diner breakfast and a few episodes of Family Guy.  It was a brief but busy visit, potentially the last before Kev begins his studies at a respected university along the 18th parallel.  That’s somewhere in the Caribbean, for those of you who are not geography dorks like I am.  I tell you, some guys have all the luck.

Stay tuned for future posts about the remaining shenanigans set for Go-vember!  It’s going to be a shit-show up and down the eastern seaboard!

~ T

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