Yesterday, Michelle, DJ, and I made it to New York in time for last night’s Tool concert despite Mass Pike’s being closed from the 128 Exit all the way through Auburn, at least. I’m not sure why I was there—I didn’t want to see Tool; I didn’t even have a ticket; nor did I intend to get one.—but as I’ve said before, “Danny has no soul, and I have no will.” And that’s probably why I spent from 9-11:30pm alone at the Pig & Whistle on the corner of 58th and 3rd. The Mets were playing the Yankees, but no one seemed to care much. In fact, it was just my luck that I wandered into what may be the city’s only Irish-gay-sports bar. Well, it wasn’t overwhelmingly any of those things. Popular Irish phrases were painted on some of the wooden rafters in Celtic script. And the waitress I chatted up towards the end of the game had come from Northern Ireland. She wasn’t sure of the rules of baseball. I admitted that neither am I. But I did explain that all it takes is one pitch to decide the game. My timing couldn’t’ve been better. It was the bottom of the ninth with two outs and two strikes. The teams were tied at six runs each. The last pitch let up a double, bumping the Mets up 7-6 to win just as I spoke. Four people cheered. I was one of them. I heard an unemphatic boo. It was time for my new friend to bus a table.
I read that at 11pm the bar was going to host an event which featured “Party Tunes.” I couldn’t guess if this would be worse than the Robbie Williams Millenium they had been quietly pumping during the game. Luckily, the crowd thinned out, giving me hope that I could finally start what I had come to do in the first place: math. All night I had lugged around my backpack, fully stocked with laptop, a few pages from a book on type theory and functional programming, one of my books on general relativity, and the things Michelle thought people might steal from DJ’s car. [Someday I will return her camera and CDs.] All night I had been spying a table by the door. From my view, it was free. When I got there, I saw that the man whom I asked to watch my beer while I stepped outside to talk to Susannah earlier in the night hadn’t quite left yet. It was obvious that I wanted to sit; perhaps it was harder to guess that I wanted to study geometry and not talk to strangers. And so for the next forty minutes we talked about race, the theater, and Harvard. When DJ and Michelle returned, he left immediately. Having only eaten two double cheeseburgers and about three-quarters of a pound of salted cashews all day, I was a little hungry. Not wanting to incur food costs, I forced DJ to dare me to ask for some nachos from the table of girls neighboring us. So I picked out the one who was closest and begged from some food under the pretense of saving my pride over a dare that I had concocted myself. They all thought me very brave and waived to us when we left moments later.
Being from Boston, we had no problem finding free parking on the street. However, in the excitement of the moment, DJ forgot to turn off the fan to the motor in his all-too-custom car. The battery was dead. But ho! I am a platinum-level AAA member. I’m covered for towing up to 150 miles and as many jumps to my battery as I need. The problem is, though, the service isn’t especially prompt. We waived down an unmarked, gypsy cabby who stopped and started us right up. At least we were on our way now.
Perhaps inspired by Harold and Kumar, DJ went out of his way to stop at a White Castle. I knew I would regret it. This morning I was right. Stick to the big three: McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s. There’s no reason to take in local cuisine. Ever. It’ll only make you sick.
Two hours and twenty minutes later, we were back in Boston. By this time the T had started running again, so we dropped Michelle off at a stop convenient for DJ and me and headed home. Rather than spend the following twleve hours on DJ’s couch, I accepted his offer, took his keys and car, and drove home. Now it makes sense to stop a moment to describe DJ’s car a bit more: it’s a 1981 Camaro Z-28 (or something close to that) with T-tops, painted in seven glorious and distinct shades of black, brown, grey, and blue, with a working panel of instruments—even the clock—except for the spedometer, and for some reason it speeds up initially when you put on the brakes. It’s like someone beat up the Batmobile and DJ found the corpse. Not knowing my speed, and without cars in front of me to use as a guage, I tried not to go too fast as I passed a police car waiting at a speed trap in the parking lot of the old golf range. I watched him edge out in my rear view mirror. But he decided against it. Still, DJ drives over two hundred miles averaging about 100 mph and nothing happens; I drive 35 in a 30 mph zone for fourteen seconds and I almost get pulled over. How does he do it?