Chez Michael et Laura

by vivin

As some of you may already know, I spent Spring Break at Michael’s and Laura’s in Northampton, MA. Before any of you point it out, yes, I notice the inconsistency. Where was I? Was it Boston, Springfield or Northampton?! It was all three. I spent time in all three places. Laura and Michael however, live in Northampton. The town is 350 years old.

I left Phoenix at 12:15 pm on Wednesday. It was a four and a half hour flight to Baltimore. A nice Sardarjee man bought me beer, AND gave me his free drink coupons. He was on his way to New Delhi and didn’t need those coupons any more. Awesome – I got FREE BEER!

I only had a one hour lay-over in Baltimore. That is, if you assume that one is equal to three. I didn’t leave till 9, eastern time. Our flight was delayed for some reason. It wasn’t too bad because I had a book to keep me company. The flight to Hartford wasn’t very long. It was around an hour.

As we were touching down, I saw strange white things falling from the sky. Furthermore, the ground was covered in this white stuff! What was this strange whiteness?! Ahhh! This must the “snow” they are always talking about. Strange stuff. Being a desert boy, I had only experienced snow twice before.

There was a nice lady sitting next to me. She was in her 40’s or 50’s. She asked me where I was from. “Phoenix”, I replied. “And this is the first time I have actually seen it snowing!”, I added.

“Oh how exciting!” she said. Then she asked concernedly “Did you bring warm clothes? And I hope you are not driving!”. “Yes, I have warm clothes and my friend is picking me up!”, I smiled and replied. “That’s good!”, she said and smiled.

I always elicit some sort of maternal response from women in that age group. I guess I probably remind them of their sons.

It was about 10:30pm when I touched down. Laura and Michael were waiting for me. I was really happy to see them. Michael, as usual, said a lot by saying very little. Laura gave me a big hug. As soon as I stepped outside I noticed the extreme cold. It was about 20 something degrees. It was snowing lightly. My breath came out in steamy puffs. I was exhilarated! We drove home and I saw snow EVERYWHERE. Snow is such a novelty to me. I was very excited. We reached Northampton and Michael gave me a quick tour of the town. Like I mentioned before, it was established in 1654. Michael had to turn in early as he had to go to work tomorrow. Laura gave me the grand tour and we sat up talking. We had Mac and Cheese and watched some TV.

Michael’s room knows not the passage of time. I am serious. You can’t tell that time passes in Michael’s room. The reason is that he lets NO sunlight into the room. So you never really know what time it is! I woke up at 1 pm.

Laura and I walked to downtown Northampton. I jumped and walked on every bit of snow I could see. I made tracks all around. I was like a 10 year old trapped in a 22 year old body. Of course, according to Sadhana I am ALWAYS a 10 year old stuck in a 22 year old body. But she says a lot of things. Anyway, I digress… we went to this cool little coffee shop and had a nice breakfast. The town is very quaint… old. I am amazed by old stuff. I love things with a lot of history.

After breakfast, I had my very first sledding experience! There is a little hill behind Laura’s and Michael’s place. It is a five minute walk. That’s where we went sledding. Our bright orange Walmart sleds were very noticeable on the snow. I fell down so many times, but it was absolute fun! I also made my very first snow-human. It was a snow-woman. She was anatomically complete… mostly. I’d say C cups at least. We named her “Crystal”. We sledded some more and then came back home.

That evening, Laura and Michael cooked dinner. We had baked chicken with herbs. Laura made some kind of rice that was really cool. It had some herbs in it, and some other stuff that I can’t remember. It tasted great. We sat up for a while. We had shots of tequila from the 1800’s bottle that I brought over. I also tasted some cognac. Strong stuff. Later that evening, we went to see Starsky and Hutch. Pretty funny movie. We also got kinda drunk at a bar in the mall. The waitress was really cool! She gave us three DOUBLE shots of 1800’s tequila for ONLY ELEVEN DOLLARS! How GREAT is that?! After the movie, we were in the parking lot and I ran out and made tracks on the snow. I also made snow-angels. Then Michael and I tried to hit Laura with snow balls. I also got into a shopping cart and Michael wheeled me around the parking lot. It was tons of fun. I guess you had to be there.

The next day (Friday) we tried to figure out our trip to Boston. It took us only FOUR hours. After that we went sledding some more. Laura and I saw our poor snow-woman. She looked like a victim of a horrible radiation accident. Her hair and eyes had fallen off, and her arms were drooping. Her breasts were still C cups though. We sledded and had snow ball fights. We did a recreation of Omaha beach with Michael climbing up the hill and Laura and I lobbing snow balls at him. I threw some really big chunks. They were mortar rounds. It was getting dark, so we had to head home. But first, we had to put our snow-woman out of her misery. We beheaded her. It was quick. I also had my first experiences with proper snowing. They really are “snow flakes”.

After sledding, we went down to Michael’s and Laura’s favourite bar. We took monopoly over. We played that for an hour or two. Laura drove Michael and I to bankruptcy. And I even had Boardwalk and Park Place. After that, we went to a really classy bar. It was actually a converted railway station. A really old one. I had a cigar and some really nice cognac. I learnt how to drink it “properly” – it takes too long to explain. The cigar sucked. I had never had one before, so I had to at least try one. We came back home and had MORE cognac. We went to sleep really drunk.

The next day, we made our way into Boston. We stayed at the Wyndham. We walked along the Freedom Trail. It gives you a nice sampler of Boston’s history. I was completely taken with the quaintness of Old Boston. I loved it. Here I was, a part of HISTORY… a part of this nation’s BEGINNINGS! It was thrilling! I saw the graves of people who had made it here on the Mayflower… I touched what was possibly the oldest house in America… I stood at the place where the Boston Tea-party started… It was simply amazing. I loved it. Could the people who lived there so many years ago have known what it would end up being like? And how would Boston end up being like 400 years from now? It was a rush of emotions – too complex to explain… happiness, sadness, awe, exhilaration, pride, nostalgia… I wanted to document everything… remember EVERYTHING. Humans are not immortal… but Humanity is. I could see that as I looked at these pieces of history.

We passed by a tavern that was established in 1790. It was a little too pricey for our pockets, so we had to settle for one that was only built in the late 1800’s. We had some Irish whisky and I had a nice steak dinner. We then went to the Boston Market and had ice-cream (yes, in 30 degree weather). The last thing we did that evening was watch some Improv comedy at the Improv Asylum. We went for the 10 o’ clock showing. It was really quite funny and the comedians were very talented. We also stayed for the free midnight showing, which was also a drinking game. They even took one of my suggestions! I yelled out “Declaration of Independence” and they did a small skit on that. It was pretty funny! They were all talking in British accents and one of the other comedians says “You sound pretty dumb for talking in British accent!”, and so the other guy goes “Well of course! Because at this point, we’re all still fucking British!” I thought that was rather hilarious. If any of you go to Boston, make sure you go to this place. It’s called the Improv Asylum.

The next day we went to see the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Broadway street. It was pretty cool! I saw a lot of bagpipes and a ton of other stuff I can barely remember! It’s all on tape though. After the parade, we made our way back to Northampton. We just sat and watched TV and ordered some take-out food. It was pretty good.