I’m in Boston right now and it’s weird. OK, it’s not Russian-ice-dancer-full-body-black-face-aboriginal-costume weird, but it’s bizarre nonetheless. See, I feel kind of like a phantom here, and not just because I insist on wearing a half-mask. No, I feel this way because this city feels like some strange simulacrum of a place I used to know. I’m realizing that I’m no longer a “former resident” — someone who, while not privy to the latest city openings and closings, could still tell the different between east and west. But now? Now, I’ve regressed into a bonafide tourist here. Indeed, I am a f*cking moron.

I mean, how could I forget so much? I lived here for three years. I used to know this town like a Russian knows how to unknowingly, yet hilariously, offend a huge group of people: I could direct you anywhere; I knew where all four green lines of the T went; I knew the best walking routes, the best bike routes, and, most importantly, the best neighborhoods in which to dramatically instigate then break-up a street fight.

But yesterday? Yesterday, I walked out of the Downtown Crossing T stop and couldn’t tell right from left. Luckily, as I stood there looking very much like an asshole, someone stopped and said, “Can I help you with something?”

“Yeah, thanks,” I replied. “I need to get to Park Street.”

“That’s easy. It’s right there,” he said as he pointed toward the sign that read, “PARK STREET.”

D’oh.

I thought, maybe I just had to get used to this place again. My mind is too in-tune with the quadrant system of DC and the no-sense-system of South America, I told myself. I thought I just need to give myself a few hours and it’ll all come back.

Of course, if you then use those few hours to get crunk in front of your friend’s baby, you’ll just wake up the same old idiot, only more of a dick because you just got drunk in front of a baby.

So flash forward to 45 minutes ago. There I was again, standing around like an ass who drinks in front of children, wondering how to get to Newbury Street when another kind soul approached wondering if he could help me.

“You look lost,” he said.

“I am,” I said. “I’m looking for this bookstore on Newbury so I can Internet.”

“Well if that’s the case, you might want to first try facing the right direction.”

This old dandy was a sassy bitch.

“You might even want to just take the T at this point.”

I looked down in shame.

“The nearest stop is in sight so you won’t get lost. Go one stop and get off at Copley. Newbury is one block up. There will be other people around to ask if you can’t figure out which direction to go…although, it’s pretty self-explanatory.”

After that, he probably talked for another 5 minutes or so, which blew not only because it was raining and cold but also because I was jonesing to compute. Not for nothing, he also sort of spat whilst he spoke, which I realized only after sensing some drops of water hitting my face were a lot warmer than others.

Finally, I interrupted and thanked him for his help before sprinting to the train. My half-mask doesn’t handle water well.  But no worries, my phantom attire and I are currently safe, sound and dry, basking in the glow of the Internet and $5 cups of tea. Yeah, I also forgot how pricey Boston is.

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