Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Red Sox victory parade

I guess I should say something about the Red Sox World Series victory parade since it was right here in my backyard. I guess I went. Rather, I was sort of drawn to it, was standing there for awhile, then left. I went out to catch some air at lunch, and then thought I’d check out what I knew was going to be madness. But there’s this urge in us…me, at least…that wants to be part of the greater world, though more and more I know through experience that I really don’t fit into that greater world. As was the case on Tuesday.

I eased up to the crowd standing up where West Street and Tremont meet. The crowd was thick there, maybe ten people deep, but I figured the players would be up on the ducks so I’d see something when they passed. But I couldn’t handle the crowd.

There were four construction workers sitting there on the bumper of a UPS truck, and the scene was such a cliché. One big loudmouth and his three little lapdogs. The loudmouth was named, Paul and he was from Medford. Now there’s something unique to the adult male Irish population here in Boston that they add a –y or an –lie to their names. Hence, grown men who look like they’re probably suffering from such adult maladies like advanced hemorrhoids and really nasty, smelly feet call each other little boy names like Bobby or Tommy or Billy. Their “maws” probably still thump them on the heads with their index fingers when they do something wrong, like use the tablecloth for a napkin.

So this guy was Paulie, and because he was from Medford, it was said with that regionally slurring of words unique to that particular city: Puaulie, from Mefah. He brayed like mule with a speech impediment. To passing police officers, all of whom he seemed to know, young girls with whom he flirted. Everything was punctuated with this loud, horsey bray of a laugh. That pretty much set the tone for that particular corner, and I know Boston well enough now that I knew that was pretty much the tone all along the entire parade route.

When I was more in love with this city, I thought guys like him colorful. And I suppose they are, to some degree. Harmless, really, just a guy enjoying himself and the world. But he’s rooted in this city, and I’m not any more, and I feel as disconnected to him as I do about everything else around here.

Which brings me to the Sox. I am long past hero worship, or at least hero worship of sports figures. Funny, the cube in which I’m typing this right now has pictures of Lucinda Williams, Jimmy Hendrix, and Ernest Hemingway pinned to the walls. I don’t think I worship them as much as I’d like to emulate them. I don’t want to be them. I want to be me, with their qualities. So I’m long past standing on a street corner to wait for a glimpse of an overpaid entertainer, which I think all sports figures are. Manny and Schilling are the same as Michael Jackson or Mick Jagger in my mind. If I go to a game, which I rarely do because I can’t afford to, I root for the Sox, but would rather see a good game rather than a sloppy win. And I’ve long since stopped tying my self-worth to the won-loss record of any sports team.

So, the Red Sox won the World Series. Good for them. They all seemed happy. The crowd seemed happy. I was happy, too, because when I turned around there was one of my favorite bookstores right in front of me, the Brattle Bookstore, and I went in and found a birthday present for Sue.

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