Over the Fourth of July weekend, Paul took me up to New Hampshire and Massachusetts to meet his family. Saturday night was dinner with his mom and a trip to a bar. Sunday during the day we ventured to his dad’s house on a river in New Hampshire.
It was beautiful, even though it rained. Not a fun downpour where you think God himself is raining buckets down upon us just to prove what he can do. No. No this was just Mother Nature being lazy. She didn’t feel like raining all at once, getting it out of the way, just to feel productive. She decided to throw some precipitation down at us during the commercial breaks. Effectively making it seem perpetually gloomy throughout the day.
As you can see from the picture, the sun stayed away. I had to take the photo inside. Behind the screen door. With an iPhone. Although during about a 30 minute break from the rain, his dad did take us out on that tiny boat. I was promised I’d get to see a river otter, but Mother Nature wouldn’t let me have that either.
That night we drove back to Paul’s hometown to watch fireworks and something he would only explain to me as “The Pots & Pans Parade.”
The fireworks were surprising, given how tiny the town was. But the Pots & Pans parade was something else. Image a normal parade. Now imagine the firetrucks. You know, the loudest part. When I was little I used to cry my eyes out while the fire trucks blasted their horns completely destroying my tiny eardrums. Now imagine that everything in the parade is a fire truck. A fire truck hell-bent on being the loudest fire engine in the parade.
Yes. The entire parade is that. Fire engines, giant trucks, men on loud motor cycles, old cars with loud engines. Everything is just loud. But then adorable all at the same time. There are floats, children throwing candy to the crowd. And yes, people banging pots and pans. The town seemed like it was only about 5 blocks long. Yet the parade lasted over an hour. So it was loud AND slow-moving. It’s a pretty big deal in the town.
Onto Monday. The actual Fourth of July. We woke up. Got dressed. And headed to Dunkin Donuts. In Dunkin Donuts Paul and I have a conversation while waiting for our breakfast sandwiches that goes like this:
“So what do you want to do today, babe?”
“I don’t know. You’ve kidnapped me to New England. I have no idea what’s up here.”
“I figured you didn’t have anything planned. That’s why I took care of the planning.”
At this point I just glared at him. I knew he had something planned. I assumed it was just to some park he knew around here. Or visiting some of his old friends. So we got back in Paul’s truck and he started driving east. It was about 10:30 AM.
Once he finished eating, about a half-hour into the car ride, Paul said. “I need you to make a phone call.”
Then he adds. “I’d do it, but I’m driving. I need you to call the hotel.” I think by this point he recognized utter confusion on my face. Something between What the Hell are you talking about?! and Ohmygod! Am I going to die?!
So he reached for the envelope he had stashed on the visor above him and handed it to me. I opened it. Inside were two tickets to the Red Sox game that day and a hotel reservation for some nice hotel in Boston for that night.
He clarified more as he watched a giant smile tear apart my face muscles. “I need you to call the hotel and ask if it’s OK if we check in early. We’re going to be there before noon. And we have a game to get to by 1:30.”
Yes, go ahead world, you can agree with me as much as you like. I’ve captured the perfect boyfriend.
He’d planned on holding out on the surprise longer. But he realized he had no idea where the hotel was in Cambridge, and once again needed me to use my phone.
After our mini-fight over my less-than-stellar navigation skills and lack of ability to use a map (Not everyone has navigated a submarine through the oceans of the world, Paul!) we arrived at the hotel.
It was nice. Too nice. Too nice for us, I mean. Regardless of what it says on his birth certificate, Paul and I are still too young and childish to be staying in such nice places. When he picks hotels in the future. He should really look into ones that are made for the youngin’s who like to leave every light and TV on while they go out to bars and don’t make the bed before they check-out.
We walked to Fenway Park. Even saying it while we walked over, “How far is Fenway, Paul?” was a rush. To answer your question, it was about a 15 minute walk, including a beautiful stroll across the Charles River.
Then we get there, and I am beyond excited. To the point where Paul is asking me to not squeeze his hand so tight and to not stop and look at things while he tries to navigate us to our gate through the giant mass of people.
We get in and the next step is finding our seats. He walks toward the first base line and stops about 20 rows back. And all the while, in between being mesmerized by America’s Most Beloved Ballpark and wondering when he will get us beers, I’m thinking “No. These can’t possibly be our seats.”
“Oh wait. These aren’t our seats. This is the wrong section.”
I knew he’d get lost somewhere. He found an usher and that guy showed us to our seats. Our seats. You know. The ones CLOSER to the dugout. The ones less than ten rows away from the field.
The game itself was alright. The Sox lost. They were down 7-0 by the second or third inning. But in the seventh they rallied to score a few runs. It was exciting. By then we were drunk. We danced to Sweet Caroline in the seventh inning stretch.
We were also convinced that the guy sitting behind us was famous. We just didn’t know from where. Paul was convinced he was a retired athlete from somewhere. He had about 4 rows of seats around us for his family. He must’ve been rich. When I got back from the bathroom, Paul said he won a “who’s a bigger man” match with that pseudo-famous guy. Apparently it had something to do with standing on the stairs and whichever man moved first was less of a man. According to Paul, the other guy moved first, and then bought us a round of beers.
The tiny boy across the row from us waited for a foul ball all afternoon. And he was sitting patiently. I like my children like I like my inanimate objects. Quiet. Paul, and the family in front of us vowed to catch a foul ball and give it to him. But no such luck.
After the game Paul and I hung around. I promised him I’d get a picture of him in front of the Red Sox Dugout. So we did a small photo-shoot. He didn’t really know I was hitting the shutter button on my iPhone repeatedly. But how else am I going to get a candid picture of him where he’s not trying to do his Blue Steel.
Alas, he never smiled. Due to the fact that a small boy, possibly 8 or 9, bumped into me while i was shooting Paul. This enraged him. Incredibly. Mind you, Paul had been drinking. But he really doesn’t like children. Almost as much as I don’t. But after what came out of his mouth at this boy, it’s a miracle we didn’t spend the night in jail.
“Watch where you’re going, idiot.”
“Paul, wow, it’s fine, he just bumped into me.”
“No. It’s not fine. Some F***ing, tiny little kid needs to watch where he F***ing walks! No one walks into my girlfriend and doesn’t apologize!”
“Jesus. Take it easy.”
“I’ll take it easy after I grind his bones into the dirt on the field. Little Sh*t.”
At this point… this is where I immediately burst out into laughter. Grind his bones? Are we in a 1950s gang movie now?
I was too busy laughing to take any more pictures. Luckily no one heard. And Paul was allowed to get away with threatening the life of a young child.
And therefore this was the best smile I got out of him. I recognize it as the “Do-you-even-know-how-to-use-that-iPhone?” smile.
Also, yes, those are my sunglasses. And if you hadn’t noticed before. Yes. His shirt does say “Beam Me Up Scottie.” He’s pretty clever, too, I guess.