Friday, June 30, 2006

Free At Last! Free At Last!

It is finally here. My sentence of living in Boston for almost three years is effectively ending tomorrow. We're not moving quite yet, but my wife and I will be going to Chicago for the next couple of weeks and moving to New York right after we return. I've been waiting for this joyous day for so long. I'm giddy with excitement.

Since I will be out of town and staying at the mother-in-law's, where there is no computer, I will probably not be posting anything here for the next couple of weeks. Maybe I'll get a chance or two, but I doubt it. So I'll leave you now with just a few random thoughts I've had lately, some of them are just plain wrong (what else is new), and I'll hopefully be back in full swing once the move is finally over.

So there was some roundtable thing in Washington last week with some of the cast members of "24" and Michael Chertoff, the head of Homeland Security who apparently has nothing better to do with his time, and a few other conservative types, including Rush Limbaugh, sponsored by the Heritage Foundation. The topic? How the TV show is nothing like real life in the fight against terrorism. Just in case you didn't already know what an asinine and worthless organization the Heritage Foundation is, this is all the proof you need. Gee, you mean a TV drama about a fictional government anti-terrorism agency where about a gazillion things develop in one single day isn't anything like real life? Boy, they've got some on the ball genius Senior Fellows over there at that conservative think-tank. Good thing they were around to tell the people the difference between art and life. I always assumed that most conservatives were stupid, and apparently so does the Heritage Foundation. I do have something in common with them!

I could go on and on about the idiots over there, but I won't. What really stood out from this little dumbfest is that at some point, I think at the end, Rush Limbaugh planted a big sloppy kiss on the woman who plays Chloe on the show. There is speculation that they are dating. I don't know or really care if they are, it could be just that she is a big fan (barf), or that he just did it without warning and it was basically sexual harassment (seems likely). But if they are, here is the thing that I don't get. Her last boyfriend was the great talented genius comedian/actor David Cross. It is beyond the realm of imagination that someone could go from him to a fat, loudmouth, bloviating, sexist, racist fuckwad. David Cross and Rush aren't even in the same gene pool, how could they possibly be in the same dating pool? It boggles the mind.

Newest thing to make me feel old: I got an email from the alumni association of my college. It was signed by the Director of Alumni Programs. She graduated four years after me, and she's like the head of the whole alumni thing. Geez, I don't even think I'm old enough to do alumni crap, and someone the same age as my younger sister is in charge of it. I need a cocktail.

I just saw on-line that the kid who died on the ride at Disney World had a heart defect, just as my doctor wife predicted they would find. I think it's a cover-up myself. The ride in question involves really loud Aerosmith music. That has to be what really killed him. I know it would kill me to be strapped into a seat and forced to listen to that shit.

And since she seems to have gotten herself into the news again recently, let me just reiterate my feelings about Star Jones. She is one of the biggest fucking wastes of oxygen this side of George W. Bush. And she's huge bigot who I hope someday gets beaten to death by a gay gang.

If you disagree and think she is someone who adds some value to the world, well, then you are a big fucking moron who needs to get a life.

Although one great thing to come out of the news about her the last couple of days is Keith Olberman showing a clip of her getting smacked in the face by a football over and over again. That shit is just funny.

Have a great couple of weeks everybody!

I'll be writing to you next from either Chicago or New York.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Well Excuuuuuuse Me!

I haven't posted anything this last week because my whole life has been about packing. Pack, buy boxes, pack more, buy more boxes, pack more again, buy more boxes, buy yet another roll of tape. I did get one of those awesome packing tape dispensers like I used to get to use back in my warehouse worker days after high school. I have very few man-toys, so it's good to add to the collection and show my wife that maybe I do have some testosterone. Oh, and bubble wrap. Rolls and rolls of bubble wrap. There's nothing like moving to make me feel nothing like the environmental-friendly person I like to think I usually am. Hundreds of feet of plastic just doesn't feel right.

But we are so close to getting out of this godforsaken shithole of a town that I can taste it. And unlike any other time in my life I have moved, I'm not getting one bit of nostalgia for anything I would miss when I leave. In fact, I've just been having moments of "Fuck, I'm so happy we're leaving soon."

Like going to Staples the other day to get a few more boxes and a huge roll of bubble wrap. I'm walking home with a 110 foot roll of wrap and a strapped together bundle of three boxes. Now these are not heavy of course, but they are extremely awkward. This is made even more so by the fact that it's really windy. So I'm trying to carry these things home while the wind is whipping them around as I walk. With flat boxes in windy weather you might as well be trying to carry a sail.

Now, usually when walking around Boston people are pretty much huge ass holes and don't make room for other people on the sidewalk. An example of this is when you are walking and there are two or more people coming from the other direction and they are spread across the whole sidewalk. In most places those people would move a little to make room for you to get by. Not in Boston. In fact, I've noticed that people sometimes even adjust the other way and purposely take up more space on the sidewalk, like a dog pissing on a post to claim the territory for themselves. Even people walking by themselves will do this. I can be walking and another person is coming from the other direction and I am to the far right side of the sidewalk and they will stay right in the middle and not even make an attempt to avoid bumping you.

"But surely this wouldn't happen when they see someone struggling to carry awkward bulky things down the sidewalk," I thought, "Even Bostonians can't be that big of ass holes."

Boy was I wrong. In my short ten minute walk home I was bumped no less than four times, twice what I would call pretty hard. And I was not walking on crowded sidewalks. Every single time I was as far over as I could get and the other person had plenty of room to get over to make enough space for me without putting themselves out in any way. But noooooooo, wouldn't want to give a fucking inch for a fellow human being would we?

Oh man, I need to get out of here. Basically just have one more week to get through. Then it's off to the nice friendly confines of Chicago for about two weeks, then back here to load the truck and we're off to New York.

And never look back.

Except maybe to flip the bird as we're leaving the city limits.

Friday, June 16, 2006

World Cup Fever

I get. I really finally get it.

Soccer that is. And for the rest of this blog I will refer to it by its more proper name of football (I would spell it futball but that's too overly pretentious even for me), because it is a lot more "foot" than our stupid American sport. When you think about it, American football should be called something like "passball" or "catchball" or "big-stupid-Neanderthal-fatass-ball."

My friend Joe wrote a good little piece about trying to watch the World Cup but just being bored by it. I can appreciate that notion about football, but I really disagree.

Back during the football Cup in 1998 my buddy Jose tried to get me to get into it. I admit I tried to watch the championship game between France and whoever, but ended up falling asleep in the middle of the match. Granted, this may have had something to do with the fact I was lying on my couch drinking beer and smoking "stuff" while trying to follow what the hell was going on.

So I didn't get it then. But a few years later, after I moved from Seattle to Chicago, my friend Amy took me to a football game at Soldier Field (before they re-did it to look like a toilet bowl) for the local team called the Fire. It was seeing it live that made me finally get into football. I don't know if it was the almost all-immigrant crowd singing that ole' ole' ole'-o song or what, but I just loved it. There is something both relaxing and exciting about football. There is a poetic flow to the whole thing that is just mesmerizing. I'm definitely a convert.

As for the whole "boring" charge, I just don't understand that. People in America say it's because of the low scoring and the ties (and I'll admit I still think of the Simpson's going to the game when I watch. Where Homer yells "boring" and Ken Brockman calling the game in the bored way as he says "holds it, holds it, holds it.."), but that's a crock.

First of all, the high scoring American sports are artificially that way. Regular football would be almost as high scoring as American football if they gave seven points for each goal too. And what the hell is with the field goal? That's exciting, watching a failed football (soccer) player kick a weird shaped ball through a couple of upright sticks? And what a pussy thing for a "manly" sport. "Awww, poor baby couldn't score the real way. Here, why don't you kick this though these poles and we'll give you...oh I don't know...three points. Just for getting kind of close."

Fuck that man. During the World Cup, if you don't score a goal...well then you don't fucking score. Nobody is there to make it easier for you.

And speaking of easier, how the hell does all the scoring in basketball make it more exciting? Doesn't seem to me that anybody has to work at it. Run down the court, dunk. Run to the other end, dunk. Repeat. About a hundred times. Yea, real fuckin' exciting.

You know why the scores are so low in football? Because it's fucking hard man! And I don't mean artificially hard like that stupid sport hockey. If you make the net that small and give the goalkeeper so much padding that he can cover the whole opening, then of course it's hard to get it through. Have you seen how big the net is in football? It's goddamn huge, and it still takes a lot of work to get it in.

Boring? I don't think so. Anybody who says it's boring didn't watch that amazing match between Germany and Poland the other day. A constant back and forth match with no goals scored after ninety minutes. In the last ten minutes the Polish goalkeeper repelled attack after attack in mind-blowing deflections and it appeared to be heading toward a tie. But then suddenly Germany got one through in extra time. It was a breathtaking 90 minutes.

And that's another thing, the clock seems to actually mean something in football. In American football a sixty minute game clock takes 3+ hours to click away. A ninety minute football game in the Cup takes less than two hours including halftime and adding on extra time for substitutions and injuries (but not because it's tied). The clock stops for nothing. I love that. And the constant action makes it a hell of a lot more exciting than American football's 30 seconds of playing followed by four minutes of players standing around with hand motions by refs and moving chains and bringing in the punting team and then calling a timeout and then reviewing a play on the TV, and then finally a commercial break.

No commercials during the matches may very well be the best thing about it.

And I know ties are one of the complaints as well. But I saw an over-matched Trinidad and Tobago team, in their first World Cup as well as the smallest country to ever make the tournament, play Sweden to a tie and you would have sworn they just won the whole thing, they were so ecstatic.

The excitement comes in the game itself, not just what the scoreboard says after it's over. I mean, if it's not fun to watch while it's happening, why would the final score matter anyway? An exciting tie game is a lot more fun to watch than a boring blowout with a winner at the end.

But I suppose that's not very American.

I've watched about half the matches so far this World Cup and I'm just loving it. I also see nothing but pure sportsmanship during the matches. Players get knocked down and the opposing guy helps him up with a smile and a pat on the head. Haven't seen a single fight yet. There has certainly been no equivalent of plunking a player in retaliation like there is in baseball. The crazy fans/hooligans may go at each other, but players during this tournament, from what I've seen, compete with class.

I still don't understand every little rule and nuance about the sport, but nothing beats the drama of the World Cup.

I should have listened to Jose years ago.

It is pure poetry in motion. I finally get it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

...And Rinse

I went to the dentist today. The last time I went was a year ago, which the dentist pointed out. She reminded me I should go every six months, but that she was happy to see I didn't go seven years between visits like last time. I certainly won't let that happen again since last time I had to get a procedure called scaling that involved them having to scrape my teeth under the gums, because of how heavy my plaque buildup was. Trust me, it's not something you want to have done if you can avoid it. It's nice to have health insurance now, so that doesn't happen anymore.

Since it had been a year since my last appointment I had to get x-rays as well as my cleaning. I realized something during the x-rays. It seems that when I get them done I hold my breath when they snap the shot. I'm not exactly sure what I think is going to happen, whether I'll get cancer or super powers (I would call myself Super Opinion Man if that did happen), but something about the fact that you have to wear a lead bib to get them done makes me think that I have to take every extra precaution.

So when the x-ray person puts the film in my mouth and steps behind the wall to shoot the picture, I hold my breath. I also sometimes wonder why they don't tell you to say "cheese."

Man, I'm a dork.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


I've always thought that the worst thing about Kurt Cobain's suicide in 1994, besides poor Francis Bean losing the wrong parent, was the creation of the crappy band the Foo Fighters. How someone that came out of such a great band that made incredible music could go on to create such pedestrian pop shit is beyond me. But Dave Grohl has made the transition with ease. But I have discovered recently that the Foo Fighters music, as shitty as it is, it's not even the worst thing about the band.

I was reading this incredible Op-Ed in the New York Times the other day, on the 25th anniversary of the first published report of the disease that we now know as AIDS. It was titled Deadly Quackery, and it was about the co-called AIDS denialists and their affect on the policies and attitude toward the disease of the idiot president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki. Read the article, it is really good. One person that is mentioned in the piece is a woman named Christine Maggiore, an HIV-positive Californian. This is what they say about her:

By courting the AIDS denialists, Mbeki has increased their stature in the United States. He lent credibility to Christine Maggiore, a Californian who campaigns against using antiretrovirals to prevent transmission of HIV from mothers to children, when he was photographed meeting her. Two years later, Maggiore gave birth to an HIV-infected daughter, Eliza Jane, who acquired an AIDS-related infection last year and died at age 3.

I had never heard of this person so I googled her. She runs an organization called Alive & Well and I spent some time looking around their web site. It is absolutely horrifying to read the kind of misinformation she promotes. These groups of AIDS denialists make absolutely outrageous claims that fly in the face of all proven medical science. HIV doesn't cause AIDS, AIDS is not a real disease but a renaming of a group of 29 different diseases that have been around for a long time, HIV isn't transmitted by sex, AIDS is caused by malnutrition and also that it is caused by the drugs created to treat it. There is a popular opinion among these people that the best treatment for AIDS is multivitamins, dietary changes, homeopathy, cleansing and even some dipshit thing called "imagery."

Even worse, this woman has promoted the idea that pregnant women should not take antiretroviral drugs to prevent passing the virus to their babies, ignoring the fact that since this has become the standard treatment for expectant mothers the rate of babies born with the virus to HIV-positive mothers has plummeted. As mentioned in the NYT article, she practiced what she preached and her daughter died of AIDS. She continues to deny that it was AIDS that killed her kid.

Anyway, to get back to my point why the Foo Fighters suck even more than we thought before, you can read about this crazy woman on your own, I discovered something during my little exploration of her site. Besides support from the leader of South Africa, it seems that she has big fans in the Foos. If you go to the community/causes section of their official website they have a link to the Alive & Well website, with the description ‚"Alive & Well is a non-profit grassroots education, support, and research organization founded by a group of HIV positive diagnosed men and women who have learned to live in health without AIDS drugs and without fear of illness."

Sounds real nice if you don't know the truth behind this "research" organization.

The sad part is that this is listed with a bunch of great social and political causes like Campus Progress, Future Forest and Runoff Voting. They have put this lunatic fringe group side by side with genuine progressive organizations and given them an image of legitimacy.

This crazy woman, Christine Maggiore, should be in jail for killing her kid by not providing medical treatment. Instead, she's getting her picture taken with the president of South Africa and hanging out with Gen-X indie-poppers who promote her insanity.

And that's why it's dangerous what they are doing. The Foos have a lot of fans who weren't around in the beginning of the AIDS era and don't know what a difference the development of these drugs has made. Some newly diagnosed, young, scared, impressionable music fan could be steered to this questionable organization and get bombarded with a load of legitimate sounding misinformation and decide to not seek out real treatment for HIV/AIDS because of the Foo Fighters' promotion of this whacko group. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Making shitty music is forgivable, maybe. Spreading deadly propaganda is abhorrent.

Monday, June 05, 2006

T-Shirt Liberals And New England Hypocrisy

I sent this to the Boston Globe last week as an Op-Ed submission. They didn't run it. Oh well. I sent it to the Boston Herald earlier today, but I'm not going to wait to see if they print it because I probably have a higher readership than they do anyway. Seriously, they give it away outside the train station because nobody will pay to read it. That's what happens when you are the uglier step-sister to the New York Post I guess.

Thanks to
Joe for editing advice.

T-Shirt Liberals. Bumper Sticker Liberals. Limousine Liberals. Checkbook Liberals. They go by many names, and they are everywhere, though not nearly as pervasive in other parts of the country as they are in New England. While living in other regions of the country I was confused by conservatives who derided the "New England liberal elite." I've always been a proud liberal and I couldn't understand how the charge of elitism applied to believing in protecting the environment, workers rights, racial and gender equality, and freedom of speech, among other things. It took me moving to Boston almost three years ago to understand not only why the charge of liberal elitism is so often made, but also so easy for people to believe.

One needs to look no farther than environmental issues for the evidence. The progressives in this region talk a good talk about energy conservation, alternative sources of energy, recycling and mass transportation. These are all great ideas to care about. But the problem with New England liberals is that they treat them all like they are abstract ideas and not an action you actually take to make a difference. Walking all over Boston I often see those pro-environment license plates that generate money for the Environmental Trust, slapped on to the back of 12 miles-per-gallon SUVs. This is a classic bumper sticker liberal move. Put a nice little message on your car that supports the environment, maybe even in the form of something that says you give a little money (in this case about $40 per year) to environmental organizations and then happily drive your fossil fuel-burning behemoth to the symphony guilt-free. Forgive me if I don't applaud their gift to Mother Nature. I think that walking and taking public transportation to get where you need to go does a lot more for the environment than someone slapping a pro-nature message on their car, even if it does send a few dollars to an environmental trust.

Just look at my neighborhood of Beacon Hill. It is a place where a lot of the rich, left-leaning residents had Kerry/Edwards signs in their windows and they are very proud of getting their picture taken for the society pages at events to raise money for environmental causes, among other things. Yet in a neighborhood that is the most perfectly located in the city for using your feet and the subway to get around, the hill is bursting at the seams with fossil-fuel burning vehicles, with a perversely high percentage of them being SUVs and other gas wasting luxury cars. And one only needs to walk around Beacon Hill on a Friday morning to see just how woefully low the number of residents who participate in the city's recycling program is.

Nothing has put the national spotlight on liberal elitism and New England hypocrisy like the Cape Wind project. A lot of otherwise liberal Cape Cod residents have come out fighting against the clean energy project. We're not talking about the usual suspects - conservative hacks backed by the oil and coal industry - but self-described liberals. Their argument usually begins with something like "We agree that we need alternative and renewable energy, but..." followed by a list of reasons as weak as George Bush's for attacking Iraq. It really comes down to a simple case of "not in my back yard."

Even the "liberal lion" Ted Kennedy has come out against the wind farm for no other reason than it might be visible from his family's compound in Hyannis. The senior senator from Massachusetts talks a good game about the need for conservation and renewable sources of energy, but gets around by SUV and private jets instead of public transportation, Amtrak or commercial flights. And even more disheartening, he makes backroom deals with an Alaskan wildlife oil-drilling advocate to get the Cape project killed. One can guess the price to be paid Sen. Stevens of Alaska for his help in protecting Sen. Kennedy's view. Robert Kennedy Jr., a prominent environmentalist, has also come out against Cape Wind, in complete contrast to the rest of the environmental community.

This is why the left is painted in such a bad light. We tell everyone to conserve and argue the need for better energy sources, then jump in our SUVs and fight against a clean energy project because it might be (barely) visible from our backyard. This is not leadership. Until we are willing to make those sacrifices ourselves - using public transportation even if it takes a little longer, recycling, promoting not just the idea of clean energy but also the reality - then we can't expect the rest of the world to take us seriously.

"Save the earth" should not just be catchy t-shirt slogan. All the bumper stickers in the world and big checks written to out to Greenpeace won't make a bit of difference if we just expect everyone else to bear the burden.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Old Apartment - Part 2

So letting the broker show our apartment even though he didn't give enough notice turned out to be a good idea. The guy he showed it to (the one who said he had no intention of talking to the neighbors) told him that he wanted to take the place. As they left and I heard them talk about going back to the office to do the paperwork. Awesome, I thought, it was over and we wouldn't have to worry about having a parade of people coming through the place every day. The cockatiel isn't too fond of strangers (which still includes me really) so he would be happier this way too. The guy actually first stated out loud he wanted the place about three seconds after he stepped in the door (seriously, that's not an exaggeration). It probably has something to do with the fact that in our neighborhood, our roughly 400 square foot apartment is considered "big," something the broker even said while he was there. "This is one of the biggest apartments available on Beacon Hill," he said.

In case you needed any more evidence of how tight the Boston housing market is, this was it. Our apartment was on the market for less than a half of a day, about 7 hours.

I told the wife when she got home, after admitting that she was right and I was wrong about how soon brokers would start calling and that they would want to come over right away. Her annoyance with me for letting someone come to look at the apartment when it was, in her mind, messy was offset by her happiness that it was over and we didn't have to deal with it anymore.

The next morning my honey was still getting ready for work when the phone rang.

"Hi this is Marc from Red Brick Real Estate. I want to show your apartment today at 10:00."

I looked at the clock, it was 9:50.

I explained to him that it wasn't a good time and that we wanted 24 hours notice on any apartment showings. I figured the place would still be listed until the credit check and all that crap went through with the guy who wanted it, but I still wasn't going to let these brokers (did I mention before I think of brokers as scum sucking maggots?) push me around.

"24 hours notice?!?! John (our landlord) didn't tell me that," he replied.
"Ok," I said, "I don't know what it is about you New Englanders, I'm not from here, but where I come from (I think I made myself sick that this phrase actually left my mouth) people don't do this. Common courtesy says you can't expect to come over to my apartment in ten minutes."

He made some indignant grunting noises (I can't think of a good way to convey the sound, I spent the last twenty minutes trying to think of a way to spell them, with no luck), kind of like a child who isn't allowed to have a cookie.

He then said, "Then I want to show the place tomorrow at 10:00."
"That's no good." I said, "Nobody is going to be here tomorrow at that time. But I'll be here after 3:00."
"You mean you need to be there, too?"

I pretty much decided by this asshole's attitude that no way would I let him in my apartment without me there. I figure, act like a baby, get treated like a baby. I told him that the concern was the bird, who is not locked in a cage and is allowed free range of the apartment (hey, it's his place too).

He made some more of those grunting noises and then, "I'll call you back." Click.

He called back a few minutes later and said he wanted to show the place on Saturday (this was Thursday) at 10:00. This guy had a thing about 10:00 that I couldn't understand. I know that real estate brokers don't actually do any work for the obscene amount of money they make, but shit, he only works what, from 10:00 to 10:15?

I told him that was fine and then he said, "It probably won't matter because the place will probably be taken by then."
"That's probably true," I said, "the guy who looked at it yesterday said he was going to take the place."
"It's going to cost me a commission." (Presumably he meant my not letting him show the place in ten minutes was the cause)
"Well you know what? Your commission is not my problem."
"You see, the way it works on Beacon Hill is that people stop by the office and want to look at places and we just swing by and show them."
"Well how it 'works' on Beacon Hill is also not my problem. This is my apartment until the end of July and I make the rules. My rights, by law (more proof brokers are useless, they are supposed to be the ones that know rental law) are that you have to give me 24-48 hours notice if you want to show my place."

I wanted to add the words, "you stupid asshole" at the end of the last sentence but I kept it at a mature level. I'm sure that comes as a surprise to everyone.

The thing that bugs me about twats like this guy is that he depends on people not knowing their rights and he tries his best to bully them. Well fuck that, I don't let people walk on me. This attitude is probably even more pronounced since I got married. My wife was still drying her hair and in her underwear that morning. Now, people seeing my hot lady in her skivvies and seeing how lucky I am doesn't really bother me, but she's not really into that. So I wasn't going to let her get rushed or pressured in her own home. There is some sort of weird primal male thing that I always thought was bullshit, but there might actually be something to it. Whenever anyone does anything to fuck with my wife I want to take a baseball bat to their heads. And that's on top of the fact that I already hate dickheads like this guy.

Anyway, my landlord called the guy just a couple of hours later to tell him the place had been taken.

The prick never called back to thank me for saving him from wasting his time showing the place.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Old Apartment - Part 1

The landlord left a message on Monday night last week. We were home when he called, but it was the same time as the 24 season finale and no way in hell was I going to answer the phone during those two hours. I called him back late the next day and he just wanted to ask what was up with us because our lease is ending in July and he couldn't remember why we had changed the ending date. Despite a degree from MIT and a fortune made in the antique business, he doesn't come across as the brightest bulb in the box sometimes. Anyway, I reminded him that yes, we were planning on moving out of the apartment and out of Boston (Woo-Hoo!) to relocate to New York (double Woo-Hoo!). He asked if he could go ahead and list the apartment with the brokers he uses and I said no problem. My wife differed with the "no problem" opinion. She was freaked because the place wasn't clean. First of all, it looked fine. Second of all, I still can't figure out why she would care what the place looks like to people who might be moving in after we are gone. I mean, people are coming to look at our apartment, we're not holding interviews for new friends. I guess it's a girl thing. She told me I should have told him to wait to list it so we would have more time to clean up and blah blah blah and she wasn't ready to have people start showing up to look at the place already. I told her not to worry about it so much. It wasn't even June yet, I told her, so no way would people be looking for August 1st already, and anyway they have to give us 24-hour notice to come show the place. She pretty much just gave me the old "you just wait and see" look.

Boy was I eating crow the next day. I got home form work at about 3:30 and there were three messages on the machine from different brokers (or as I like to call them, scum sucking leaches) wanting to come over and show the place. And every call, without exception, had them asking to show the place at a time that was about 10 or 15 minutes after their phone call. I was about to start calling them back to explain the 24-hour notice rule when another one called, "Hi this is (so and so) from Crescent Realty and I have a guy in my office and want to swing by to show him your apartment."

Holy shit I couldn't believe these damn people. I explained to him that I wouldn't be letting people show the place with any less than a 24-hour notice, and something completely unexpected of a Bostonian happened. He apologized. No trying to talk me into it or giving me a hard time, he just apologized and tried to figure out when he could show the place. I ended up telling him to go ahead and bring the guy over (the wife wasn't home to freak about how the place looked) since he had somebody there, but that from now on I would be sticking to my "guns," as it were. He turned out to be this really sweet old guy and when he showed up he apologized again and thanked me many times for letting him show the place and was all around really nice about it.

So the guy looking at the place is the real point of this story. I was telling him about the place - the crappy laundry machines, the loud neighbors, the water damage in the ceiling/wall over the fridge, but great water pressure and hardwood floors and decorative fireplaces - and he said the heartiest thing.

There is a single-level coach house connected to the back of our building and our back window (we're on the first floor) looks directly out onto their little patio, and it is a married couple that lives there. Anyway, I was kind of telling him a little bit about them since you can't help but see them a lot if you want to have your window open. I mentioned that the wife will talk to you but the husband comes across as really antisocial. This is what he said:

"That's OK, I don't plan on talking to the neighbors anyway."

That, in a nutshell, represents exactly why I hate living in Boston. This town is full of that attitude. No desire to know your neighbors. It's not even that people here are shy, which I secretly always hoped that's what it was really all about. It is actually a conscious decision to not be friendly. Man, I am so happy we're finally leaving.

Six weeks to go, six weeks to go....