Lightening up

Rather than navel (or hip) gazing, I thought I would try to write something interesting or funny. It may or may not work out.

There’s a creepy video making the rounds of social media today.

I would totally freak out and not have any idea what to do and likely get robbed. But that’s not funny, hence not the subject of this post. Instead, it reminded me of the night I actually did the same thing.

Years and years and years ago, when the planet was new, my hip was organic, and I had not reached the geriatric state in which I now find myself, I was younger and foolisher. I wasn’t actually young when all of the foolish in me happened, and I’d reckon there is foolish to come. But foolish I was and actively doing stand up comedy.

My favoritest place to be comedy-wise was the Walsh Brothers’ Great and Secret Show every Thursday at 10 p.m., conveniently located in my old neighborhood of Inman Square Cambridge. As a side note, in addition to being my most favorite place, it was also a place of butterflies in my stomach, insecurity and some not insignificant degree of anxiety.

But, what the hell, what didn’t kill me made me stronger. And, I got to hang out with two of the best guys I have ever met. People who I hope will be friends to the end. People with whom I have had rambling and brilliant conversations into twilight hours and ate pizza or chicken doner or guacamole depending upon the coast or continent.

Anyway, the scene is an empty urban street in front of an empty urban theater with yours truly between two urban brothers. Undoubtedly beer had been drunk.

Off to the side, a pothole or manhole or other kind of city street hole was surrounded by orange cones. A serendipitous ring of orange safety.

The street is called Cambridge Street, and it’s one of two or three main streets in the city of Cambridge that run through a large length of the city. It’s boulevard wide and mostly commercial with the occasional row of houses breaking up squares of shops. Cambridge Street is the heart of Inman Square.

It was probably David, but it could just as easily have been Chris, who pumped the beer in his veins to his gray matter, took in the orange cones and decided it was time for a roadblock. The three of us moved the orange cones perpendicular to Cambridge Street, straight up blocking all traffic.

It was cold but not unbearable, and a there was a bench nearby.

We giggled as cars approached from either direction. They would slow and then stop, assessing the situation and slowly turn around and head back from whence they came. We were laughing like loons.

Honestly, it was perhaps the only time in my life that I was a full on vandal. Part of my laughter was the liberation from my other self, the completely serious, maybe too serious, woman who by day managed grants and budgets for a large research center within a cancer hospital. My daytime colleagues would have simply been confused by my nighttime beahvior.

Actually, I have to confess. There was another transgression in my life. I was there when a group of elementary school kids surrounded the telephone pole kitty-cornered to my house and contemplated what would happen if the attached fire alarm was pulled. Someone pulled it.

I remember the door-to-door canvass by local law enforcement and the knock on our own door. I sort of remember my mother’s anger. But I cannot recall if I confessed then or ever.

Meanwhile on a dark bench with the Walsh Brothers, our laughing was interrupted. One man who approached the roadblock got out of his car to thoroughly scan the situation. His surveillance led him to lock eyes on a benchful of giggling knuckleheads.

Perhaps in August, when people sit on stoops or benches all over the city to catch whatever errant breeze might waft by, we may have gone unnotieced. But in late fall or early winter, coat weather, too late to be sitting upright on a city bench rather than lying asleep, hopefully inconspicuous and sadly homeless, we were our own beacon under the street lamp.

I wish videotaping on a cell phone was the ubiquitous thing it is now. He was literally hopping mad. Words couldn’t form around the idiocy of why we should do such a thing.

He strode into the street, moved enough cones to clear his path, and drove off into the night, no doubt with steam shooting from his ears. We walked in the opposite direction.