I did not expect at first to enjoy Boston the way I did. That has got to be one of the most navy friendly cities in the states. The first couple of nights out, I didn’t pay anything. Food, drinks, bar tabs etc were all picked up by some random patron. I heard the phrase, “Thank you for serving” about 500 times in 5 days. On the first night we went to a Boston Bruins hockey game courtesy of our ships MWR department. The game was fairly boring though it was cool that our friends performed the colors ceremony. When we walked in we just grabbed some seats about 14 rows up from the ice. We noticed in route to the stadium that the seats given to us were up near Alpha Centari. So there we are sitting in these expensive seats 14 rows up from the ice, when an announcement is passed on the jumbo-tron. If you sit in row such in such, you automatically get your seats upgraded to an ice side row. Sure as my sister’s deodorant, it was us. I should also mention that there were about five or six 10 year olds sitting behind us. At one point of time during the game a fight broke out. All of the sudden we all heard five or six high pitch voices yelling fight, kill him, kick his balls, etc at the top of their lungs. We got a good laugh out of that, we really did.
We left the game due to boredom and decided to check out some of the bars close to the arena. There were several and we chose the Best bar, or some bar with some such name. There were about 7 of us in uniform in there just chewing the fat, drinking, and watching an endless video tribute to Larry Bird. We had all eaten and had several beers, when an older man came up and spoke to one of my friends. He whipped out about 200 bucks and told the waitress we were taken care of. It was at that very moment that I figured out Boston was going to be the sleeper of our trip. Most of the night followed in similar fashion until eventually I just decided to leave a pub and help my friend find his way back through the subway system to the ship. The local rumor was that MIT students helped design the mass transit system in Boston. I found one particular system amazingly simple, effective, and efficient. The city buses would ride around on the outskirts of the city normally, as would any other bus in any other city. Once they approached a downtown area with a diameter of say 5-7 miles, they would go underground, attach to an electrical cable and turn basically into a one car subway with tires. The network of tunnels underneath the city was impressive. Oh if Texas would ever learn.
Earlier that day a group of friends and I went to the Samuel Adams tour courtesy again of our MWR department. That was very entertaining. I am not just saying that because I somehow managed to get trashed there for free. It was a good tour. I found out they hold the record for the strongest beer in the world at something like 29% abv. They actually entered it as a joke in a konyac taster’s competition and won it. The judges were pissed. Samuel Adams has a tendency to win every beer tasting competition they enter in. It’s no wonder too. They are dedicated to beer. Every employee there no matter what their craft, must have a home brewery. Crazy. They even have a trophy for winning the most awards.
Now, the transition from the companies I endorse to those I want to burn down. Fuck you Papa Johns! You can go to hell and fucking die, you fucking communist, Nazi pizza chain. I think I am going to start a chain message saying the owners are French or something. When I was on duty I could not leave the ship or for that matter my post. This translates to 24 hours straight of work in the same room. 3 small meals are not enough I assure you to sustain a strapping, half asleep, young lad for that long. I decided I would call Papa Johns and have them deliver to the pier so my shipmates and I could eat a late night meal. I called…..here is the kicker……..5 hours before I wanted the pizza delivered and had them assure me that it would be there at 8:45 promptly. I could not give them a return number other than my mobile which meant if they wanted to get a hold of me they would be screwed. So 8:30 rolls around and I go outside to wait for my wonderful pizza. 9:00……9:15……Call Papa Johns, talk to manager, driver on way……9:30….still waiting….. 9:45……..10:00, try to call again, phone dies…..waiting….borrow phone, call again…..get angry….driver on the way now.. .will get free large pizza whenever I want later in the week. I get my friggin pizza at 10:30, which was an hour and a half late and 6.5 hours after I called it in. My supervisor was steaming pissed that I was out there that long. So the next day rolls around and I am thinking I will make it up to her by getting that free pizza for all of us to eat. I call it in, go outside to wait for the driver, and he never showed. I called the manager and he said he came, and nobody was there to pick up the pizza, and that he would not come back. I had been outside waiting for an hour this time, and I assure you nobody came. You can go to hell and die you pompous pizza pricks.
On the lighter side of things, my wife arrived on the day of the 3rd, and I could not wait to see her. We had some marital issues about a month earlier but I had found myself getting closer to her since the conflict. I did not know what carrier or even what flight number she was on, but I decided I would again put to use the mass transit system and try to find her as she arrived at the airport. I also knew where her layover was Cincinnati. Once I got to the airport I went from carrier to carrier looking for incoming flights from Cincinnati. In the third building I walked in I saw that a Delta flight from Cincinnati had just arrived. I looked up and saw Laura walking out the door. I snuck up on her and gave her a hug. I was extremely happy to see her. Our time together consisted of exchanging music, shopping at cool stores, and laughing like 6 years olds. In an odd way it was almost like we just met. Everything went pretty damn good with an oddly familiar exception.
On the day of the ceremony a man was murdered, apparently right outside our room while we slept. Let me first explain a couple of things. I have a knack for staying at hotels on the night a violent event takes place. Here is a rundown of my stays at my last three hotels:
1 – Arriving in San Diego on our first night in town a drunken man is confronted by two cops right outside our door. I do mean right outside our door too. We awoke in a terrible confusion. He then decided it would be a good idea to fight the two officers, who, as I would have done too, beat the piss out of him against our room for what seemed like 15 minutes. My favorite part of that night was the following exchange,
Purp: “Help me somebody, call the cops.”
Cops: “We are the cops asshole”.
2 – Now fast forward to Norfolk Virginia where I am awoken at 9 am by the sound of all hell breaking loose in the room next to me. There we loud thuds and pounding and screams every few seconds. At one point of time I though the picture hanging above my head was going to come off the wall. I called the operator and told them to call the cops. They showed up 30 minutes later. The beating was still in progress, the screams had stopped 15 minutes earlier.
3 – So, now with some history you may understand why I might have reacted funny, when Laura and I stepped outside our room to see crime tape and cops everywhere. I suppose smiling to myself and saying “not again” was uncalled for. Needless to say we were questioned.
L and I decided on our last night together to go check out Cheers, since we both grew up watching the show. It was entertaining getting there (guessing 5 miles as crow flies, 35 miles, and 1 hour for us). Laura decided to let her right leg go swimming on the way back from the bar. I will let her explain that to you someday if she wishes to do so. The gift shop was very cool, but we were very disappointed that the bar looked nothing like the one depicted in the show. They did make a second Cheers which was actually a replica of the one on the TV show, but we were not up to another navigating adventure, so we decided to go back to our hotel. The blood was still on the floor. I proposed a new motel 6 motto, “We’ll leave the light on for you to see the blood”. It seemed like L was only around for a few hours when it was time for her to go. I won’t bore you with the intricate details of the rest of our time together. I will just say I needed her to be with me then, and it reminded me why I married her to begin with.
How can I forget? I cannot believe I made it through this whole segment on Boston without discussing the Commissioning Ceremony yet. Holy hell was that a doozy. Okay, so let me try to do this justice. Take a whole mess of captains, admirals, generals, and other persons who have distinguished themselves in the military, add Senator John Kerry, 2000 spectators of which the average age is like 80, a tropical storm with sustained winds of 50 mph and gusts up to 65, 4 inches of rain, 44 degree temperature (outright), and myself dressed in only my dress uniform with no jacket, no thermals and no otherwise useful clothing items. It was a beautiful disaster. I stood at attention for those two hours, while the storm gutter drained the rain from the roof down my back. I shivered and shook violently, I was hypothermic, I loss feeling to all four extremities, and a smile never left my face. If that was an omen for the ship I need to get off and soon. I have never been that cold in my life, and I don’t think I have ever been outside for that long during weather that bad. It truly was a site to behold. Not many umbrellas survived. Laura bolted about 20 minutes into the ceremony and sat in the car…I can’t say I blame her. Afterwards I had to literally wring out my clothes I stopped shaking a full 45 minutes after the ceremony. My legs and ass were actually cramping from all the convulsing. I had trouble walking. The smile never left my face.