This is a hard one to share. Make it embarrassing, BIGLY embarrassing for someone who lived and worked in Boston for more than 30 years. The résumé says I worked as a knowledgeable, street savvy TV news reporter. Familiar with all the nooks and crannies of Beantown. Well, as the man says, that’s FAKE news!
We had premonitions of a mission impossible last night when we discussed if we should attend the noon luncheon featuring nationally respected Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. Marilyn and I bandied emotions about the drive from rural Uxbridge into the big city.
Yes. No. Maybe.
We agreed it would be a noteworthy event. I looked forward to getting Bill Bratton’s take on crime in the United States, especially the frequency of mass shootings across the country. I remember Bratton’s tenure in Boston when drive-by shootings filled my assignments three or four times a week. Bratton has also headed Police departments in New York City and Los Angeles.
Surely, he would have cogent observations I could share via blog and our local newspaper. That was all on the plus side for attending the Boston luncheon. The negative side? Marilyn and I shared murky smiles about our mutual nemesis — the Mass Pike and downtown Boston. It seemed almost comical as fear gripped our sensibilities.
Sometimes you shouldn’t sell your fears short. We made it into Boston with minimal trouble, but I wasn’t fooled. The first hint of trouble came when the designated Mass Pike exit was a no-show. No problem! Marilyn, always the excellent navigator, directed me to and into Boston’s financial district.
Marilyn’s Note: You just know your excursion is in trouble when the designated exit from the Pike doesn’t exist. It means the directions are old. When there’s one error, you can bet your bippy there will be more.
The second hint of trouble came amid confusion in the parking garage of our designated building. First, we were on the wrong side of the building and that part of the garage was only for those with a transponder. We got to the other side of the building. Parked. It turned out we were in the wrong building entirely — despite the instructions on our invitation. I was confused and angry. I believe Marilyn was irritated with my confusion. Why didn’t I, the know-it-all reporter, know where we were supposed to be? I was irritated with myself!!
Marilyn’s Note: I was not irritated at Garry’s inability to find his way through streets that have changed completely since we lived there. I was annoyed because I told him to make a left and he ignored me — and went straight ahead. It turned out not to make any difference since we were at the wrong building in the wrong part of town.
As the situation deteriorated with ever-increasing aggravation, we finally agreed on something. Let’s get the hell out of Boston and head home!! Surely, the worst was behind us. Make that mistake number three! We escaped Boston and were back on the Mass Pike. We would laugh about this when we got home and relaxed.
Marilyn was talking to me but I couldn’t hear her over the ambient car noise and blare of sirens from Police Cars that snaked around us and the Pike traffic. She thought I was faking deafness — which elevated my irritation as I focused on the route home and our newest nemesis, a giant midday traffic jam on the Pike.
Mother of Mercy!
Judas Priest in your Mama’s combat boots!!
I couldn’t take much more of this. Marilyn talked. I nodded while missing almost everything she said. I looked down at the dashboard and saw the fuel gauge edging down to “Empty.” For chrissakes! We’re running out of gas??
Obscenities filled my mind as traffic inched along like an aging battalion of frogs. I had a nightmarish vision of what might happen next and told Marilyn I’d tell her about it when we got home. Surely, now the worst really was behind us. My stomach was churning as the highway traffic continued at a snail’s pace. Marilyn was taking pictures of our slow-mo drive to document our long day’s journey into hell.
Finally, we negotiated our exit off the Mass Pike. I casually looked at the fuel gauge which had now dipped below “Empty.” I silently cursed the gods and looked for an opening on the last major artery of our drive home. My mind drifted off to other things, including tonight’s World Series game. Something to smile about in anticipation of more in what’s become an exciting fall classic between the Houston Astros and the La La Dodgers.
I was pondering the possibility of my hero, broadcaster Vin Scully dropping in to cover tonight’s game. That thought prompted my first smile of the day. My smile grew bigger as I realized we were HOME … in downtown Uxbridge.
We ended our afternoon with Marilyn explaining to shoppers and staffers at our local supermarket why we were dressed in our Sunday best. Marilyn’s account of our trip to Boston seemed to draw smiles and laughter.
I’m glad someone thought this day was funny.