When I was little and my older sister went to a concert, something at the Meadowlands, my mother would drive her, drop her off at the door and sit in the parking lot. No sense in going all the way home and driving back two hours later, right?
Well, as I write this, it’s the Sunday night before the federal holiday Xmas—or if you prefer its more Jesusy equivalent: “Christmas”—and I’m doing much the same thing. I’ve dropped my wife and mother-in-law off at the TD Bank Arena in Boston and I’m sitting in the car with my laptop open, typing away like a jerk.
If you saw me, doubtless you’d think I was up to something more interesting than I actually am. The spot I’m in is at the end of one parking area and before the start of another, so there are plenty of people slowing in cars, seeing if they can park here too, and people on foot. I’m not at the center of the universe, but I’ve gotten a strange look or two. Rest assured, the real answer is incredibly boring. Though The Aquarian has covered them several times in the past and we tried to again this year but unfortunately no one answered my emails, I just don’t care for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. My mother-in-law, on the other hand…
I couldn’t tell you what street I’m on, but there’s a cheapy burger and hot dog joint with a flashing “OPEN” sign, an eyeglasses place, a liquor store, a bank. It’s swanky in that Boston way, less intense and anxious than Manhattan ever really is but has more of what makes American cities distinct from their European counterparts; alleyways for function, those little embankments in the middle of the road, brick architecture whose sole purpose seems to be to square off. Brick sidewalk too. Flashing, unpaid parking meter. Some fog rolling in because it’s warmer than it should be. If you showed me a slide of this street and any number of them in Philadelphia, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference but for the occasional New England Patriots paraphernalia. That’s a dead giveaway.
I don’t regret bringing a CD to listen to.
Once, relatively soon after I was old enough to drive myself to concerts, I went to a show at what was then Continental Airlines Arena. Afterwards, I was walking back to my 1988 Ford Bronco II with the red interior and I spotted a woman sitting in her car, clearly a parent who had driven her kid, dropped him or her off at the door and parked to wait. I knocked on the window to tell her how great and generous I thought that was but she refused to roll the window down to speak to me. She looked me up and down and shook her head no. I’m older now but I’d probably get the same reaction. If anything, I’ve only gotten funnier looking.
And this, and the coming holiday that will be gone by the time this issue’s out and the beauty of this land and impermanence of the colonial experiment will be on my mind as I sit in the car for the next couple hours, listen to music. I brought a book to read. The Year Of The Flood by Margaret Atwood. Bleak, but good. Second in a trilogy.
There’s a Starbucks up on the corner that, if I wanted to or if my laptop battery was dying, I could probably go sit in and keep warm, but I think I’d rather stay in the car. It’s Sunday night, so the street’s hardly crowded, though vehicles of various sorts—cabs, cars, trucks, so on—whiz by with each change of the light. Still, I like where I am, don’t mind the idea of sitting, and if I get cold, it’s not like I can’t just turn the car back on. It was warm this weekend though.
A silver Jeep Cherokee wonders if it can park behind me. Stops, looks in, leaves. And here’s me, killing time.
Next week is New Year’s. Hope you have a great one.