Every so often I’ll remember this story and have a good chuckle. I had no ideas for today’s post, so I will share:
In January, 2007 (or as I like to call it, Junior year of college, round 1) I transferred schools from That Baptist One to The Music One up in Boston, MA. In an attempt to keep their daughter safe by educating me on the less safe areas of town, my parents accidentally scared me shitless about Boston. At this point in my life, I’d lived in Atlanta, London, São Paulo and Pittsburg, so the idea that I was in any more danger by moving to Boston was absurd. That being said, I never got over it and I’ve never been more constantly terrified in my life than when I lived in Boston.
The best part about this is that my first apartment was here:
But I felt like I lived here:
And because I was on a college campus, we’d get these crime report emails every few days. They were always like such-and-such had her Marc Jacobs bag grabbed from her while walking down a dark street. I wasn’t exactly like being on “The Wire.”
So anyway, about three weeks into my life in Boston, a few of my friends came to town for the weekend. They had friends out in Allston, a neighborhood of Boston that’s basically a bunch of rundown apartments and houses that college kids rent out. And some Asian food places, because there’s nothing anyone living on a budget loves more than Asian food. It’s the best.
Allston is ALSO not super dangerous, but when we took a cab out there I was FLIPPING out. My brain was like, “Where the fuck are we? Why are there houses? The sky looks darker here. It’s definitely darker. The T isn’t underground… That only happens in the ghetto, right? Are we on the Orange line? My mom said that’s the bad one? Fuck, I can’t tell if it’s orange! ARE YOU THE ORANGE LINE, TRAINNNN???”
We got to the old house that this group of boys lived in and within two seconds of my meeting them they were all like,
Oh, the joys of college. Turning 21 before pretty much everyone else made me the Designated Alcohol Purchaser for about three months of my life until everyone else caught up. And because there is always someone who came before you, there is no way that you can deny the request to purchase alcohol because you need to honor the good that was done by those who came before you. The drunken forefathers. The ones with summer birthdays. You had to pay it forward in drunkenness.
So these boys requested that I purchase them a beer ball. Having never gone to real college, I had no idea what the fuck a beer ball was, but it sounded kind of cute and I was like, that’s fine as long as you drive me through this ghetto that you live in. So off we went to the liquor store three blocks down the road in one of the boys’ cars. My two girlfriends sat in the backseat and when we were one block away the dude driving was like, “Yo. You should probably get out here. There’s some law about not being able to have liquor in a car with people who are under 21.” Because I was terrified, I was like, “Aw, hell naw, if I’m getting you drunk you are not getting me murdered, drop me off at the curb.”
They drop me off, and I enter the FORTRESS that was the giant Allston liquor store. Massachusetts has the most fucked liquor laws of any state I’ve ever lived in. I think it has something to do with Red Sox fans getting shitfaced and destroying the city, or bar fights, or whatever, but it is literally easier to buy any illegal drug than it is to purchase alcohol. I’m not talking about if you’re underage either… At all. I never felt confident in the fact that I was going to indeed receive alcohol even when I was 23. Even when I had my passport.
I think that this was the moment I first learned this harsh reality, because as it turns out a beer ball is basically a mini keg. I’m standing in the aisle of the giant liquor store and the clerk comes up to me with a huge box on one of those rolly cart things that I can NEVER remember the name of and Google isn’t being helpful right now. My immediate thought was, “How the fuck am I even supposed to carry this out to the car?” THEN the clerk is like, “Excuse me miss, we’re gonna need you to fill out these papers.” Because in the state of Massachusetts, you have to register yourself when you purchase anything keg-like. I am freaking out, but also thinking of my drunk forefathers and so I persevere.
Rolly cart clerk takes me out to the sidewalk and as my friends pull up he informs me that indeed I am not allowed to get in the car because they’re under 21. I look at the driver, who is wide-eyed when he sees me next to the giant beer ball. I look at the clerk, who is similarly wide-eyed but kind of smirking at my unfortunate situation. I shrug my shoulders and pick up the beer ball. I figure, if I’m walking through the ghetto at least I can swing it at people.
But because Allston was not the ghetto, as I walked down the street, hunched over and wrestling with the beer ball box, tons of college bros were yelling, “BEER BALL!!!!!!!!!!!” at me.
And that’s the story of how I learned that Allston was not the ghetto. I was still freaked the fuck out every time I went there or anywhere I go, anytime I’m in Boston.
Peace, love and beer balls,