Friday, March 18, 2005

St. Patrick's Day Predictions Realized 

On my way to the library yesterday, and during my trip across the street to Starbucks before class, there really didn't seem to be too many drunken revelers lurching around. I was wrong - they were just mostly still inside City Place drinking (here's a guide to City Place, including NESL's location across the street).

Latte in hand as I headed to the curb to cross Stuart Street, I was approached by a guy who at first glance when he called to me I assumed was going to ask for money, but who then asked me where Congress Street was. I stopped briefly to tell him, then started to continue, but he very politely followed up with an apology for troubling me further, "But I'm looking for..." As I paused again, he launched into his prepared speech about what his name is and he doesn't want to bother me but he's homeless but polite, and he's not going to hurt or bother me, blah, blah, blah and the whole time I can smell his booze breathe just wafting over me, so I cut off all his preface and asked what he's looking for. "Something to eat, a sandwich, can you help me out?"

I turned around and walked away. The booze breath had primed me for walking away, but the assurance that he wasn't going to hurt me really pressed the accelerator. If you want someone to feel comfortable talking to you, it's probably not a good idea to bring the possibility of violence into the conversation at any level. I'm surprised he hadn't thought of that, since he'd clearly worked on his pitch. The distraction of asking for a street location was brilliant - many more people will stop to give a quick pointer than when they're being accosted for funds.

Anyway, back over on the other side of Stuart Street, I noticed there were many more available carrels than usual in the library, and the Student Lounge was practically deserted. The same was true when I got to the classroom a little on the early side. A few minutes before class started, more groups arrived from their modest revelry at the various bars in the Theater District. There were still a lot of empty seats though. As the class progressed it became clear that at least a couple of people had perhaps engaged in more than modest revelry but hadn't had the good sense not to show up to class. About a half hour into class, Homer got up from his seat and practically ran out of the room, not to return for at least 15 minutes. Once he got back, I noticed his face was quite red, and he was doing that deep-breathing hurl prevention technique. One other guy left the room for about 10 minutes. His departure was at a slower pace, but he seemed to have that concentrated carefulness about him that perhaps indicated he was trying really hard not to appear at all intoxicated.

But we made it through with no projectile fluids, and I headed down the hall to the MSA-OUTLaws Movie Night showing of The Wedding Banquet. Fun movie, great group of people in attendance, and good food (crab rangoon - yum!) from New Shanghai.

Then I re-emerged onto Stuart Street at 10 pm to make my way home on the T. Oy. First there were charter buses full of gregarious youths offloading right next to the school (perhaps heading to Blue Man Group?), so I had to weave my way through them. Then there were groups of two or three either making their way home from a bar or heading to another one, but it wasn't too bad. Quite a few at the T station, certainly more than a typical Thursday night, but not as bad as I had anticipated.

Until the train pulled into North Station.

I could hear the whooping and hollering on the platform before the train had even come to a complete stop. The doors opened, and they flowed onto the train, filling it to capacity. I had the extra pleasure of having a passionate couple in their late teens or early 20's stand right in front of my seat and paw each other nonstop. And lucky me - they and many of the other partiers got off at my stop. Yay! Then I had to avoid them in their cars as well.

But I made it home without incident (other than steering clear of the honking carloads of drunks - the police should just park near the garage exits if they wanted to keep drunk drivers off the roads). I'm hoping the other people did as well. But I wouldn't give odds on it.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:42 AM