In this installment of weird historical events, I’ll touch on The Great Molasses Disaster, one of my favorite wacky accidents, that devastated the North End of Boston. On January 15th, 1919, a storage container holding 2.3 million gallons of molasses burst, flooding the streets at 35mph and killing 21 people.
Now, let’s unpack this a little. First of all, let’s picture what 2.3 million gallons of anything coming at you like a soccer mom in a carpool lane. Not great. Now picture molasses: it’s gross, it’s sticky, it’s heavy, and the more you try and fight it, the quicker it’ll take you under, like some sweet-smelling version of quicksand. Now imagine you’re on your way home from one of the many amazing restaurants in the North End when you hear something that sounds like a freight train roaring down the street, enveloping you in some sticky bullshit that slowly drowns you.
Why did this happen? Simple physics is to blame. New England weather is wild, we can go from 60 degrees and sunny, to -5 and snowy, in the same day. That’s what happened ln January 15th. The molasses was previously warmed to make it easier to transport, but when the newly-delivered molasses met the previously-delivered cold molasses, the difference in heat caused the molasses to expand and puncture the container. Thankfully, storage regulations changed, and now there aren’t any more industrial accidents*.
After all the damage was done, and the flood of molasses was cleaned up, over $9.18 million dollars (adjusted for inflation) in damage was done. Locals say that on a hot day, you can still smell the molasses. I’ve been to the North End in the summer, and I don’t buy it, unless molasses smells like the combination of great Italian food, garbage, and stale beer.
So, I’m a tad drunk, (shocker), and I’ve been thinking about the creative process, how the flow of ideas in my brain translates to the words I type out. I can’t control their generation, so I have to filter them for content. Due to my wonderful neurological disorder, I’m bombarded by thoughts every second of every day, and some of them aren’t pretty.
My thoughts are coming in free form jazz, with no semblance of structure or decorum, they just exist. I’m not blessed, I’m cursed by the inability to capitalize on the ideas I have, and when they don’t materialize, I feel like a lazy sack of donkey shit for not being focused enough to do anything with the gift I’ve been given. Wow, that’s such a douchey thing to say, there are millions of people who also got straight A’s in English who don’t think they’re gifted writers, so what makes me so fucking special?
Maybe bitching about how unhappy I am online isn’t healthy, maybe it’s just a coping mechanism, maybe I’m just full of myself and like to read my own writing, I really don’t know. What I do know is that Frank Sinatra sounds better on vinyl, Hunter S Thompson was a genius, and that Lil B the Based God is an internet icon.
I get a wide variety of customers at work, most of them are decent enough people, or harmless. There are always outliers though, people like…
4. The Barely-Awake Stoner
Look, there’s nothing wrong with hitting the ol’ electric lettuce, but c’mon people, get it together before you venture out in public. Sometimes these customers are awesome, they’re usually open to suggestions, they’re funny most of the time, and you might get a big tip if you joke about how baked they look. You can tell you’re in for a bad time when you can smell the reefer before you see the customer, this usually means you’re in for 5 minutes of silence while they figure out where they are, and what they might want to eat. Further signs someone might be catastrophically cooked are when they have trouble relaying their order to you, or if they get distracted in the middle of their sentence and stop talking so they can think. Please smoke responsibly people.
3. The Soccer Mom
I don’t know how common these are everywhere else, but in my pasty-white slice of suburbia they run rampant. This sub-genre of white person is identified by their superior attitude, their cropped haircut, and their complete inability to control their children, who usually have ridiculous names like Braedyn or Jaedon. These woman are about 2 cups of coffee and a Xanax away from total meltdown, so they don’t have time for things like manners or complete sentences. Soccer Moms usually hate the taste of coffee, but rely on the caffeine, so they order drinks that are 95% sugary garbage and 5% coffee, and they expect you to know how much of each of the 7 ingredients to put in without telling you. Jesus help you if it’s even a little off, they’ll make you redo it 4 or 5 times until they think it’s right, even if you make it the same way each time. God forbid, they bring their kids in, forcing you to deal with whatever future asshole they’ve raised to talk down to retail workers. These people have never worked a service job on their lives, so they don’t understand that what they’re doing is wrong.
2. The Conspiracy Nut
There are different stages of conspiracy nuts: the first layer is my favorite, they just vomit out whatever clickbait headline they just skimmed so you think they know what they’re talking about. The layer below that is where I start to get annoyed. These people are usually a couple crayons short of a box, and lack the awareness to realize that I’m not interested in listening to them talk about how Obama was a lizard person, or how the government is secretly giving us Lyme Disease to keep us from getting insurance. Every time one of these Alex Jones- level nuts come by, I pray for someone else to come along so I have an excuse to stop listening to them.
1. The Asshole
These are way too common. I don’t know what these people are like outside of the store, but it seems like the second they get into the store they evolve into some sort of enraged nuclear bomb. For the most part, these people are miserable people who get shat on in their own lives so much that they feel the need to make someone else’s day miserable. I deal with this type of customer every day, and I’ve noticed there are more of them than ever, which provides great material, but I’m getting tired of old people yelling at me because I can’t read their minds. Today, I got yelledat because apparently I didn’t get that “Black Coffee” means small iced with extra cream and sugar. I guess I’ve gotta work on that. I’ve found that laughing at these assholes works like a charm, as does being overly nice to them. Both approaches fry their circuits and leave then speechless, which is alway nice after 5 continuous mintues of verbal abuse.
For my friend’s birthday, we decided to do something different for a change and go to Boston for a night out. It went poorly. The journey in was a nighmare, but I thought it was just a momentary road block. Turns out, it was just the first thing to go wrong.
The Game Plan
We had a decent game plan: my friend Caleb and I would drive into the city early, get a parking spot that was affordable (not easy to do in Boston on a Friday night), and wait for my other friend Sherman to take the train to North Station. Easy peasy right? Wrong.
To The City
After arriving at Caleb’s house, we begin our trek into the city. Since Caleb used to drive into the city every day for work, he drives in, since I’m a very bad city driver, and would like to survive the night. It turns out this would be one of the better choices I made that night. Driving into the city on a Friday is one thing, but it was also Halloweekend, and there was a Celtics game that night, so we couldn’tve had worse timing. Cars littered the Mass Pike like some post-apocalyptic wasteland, none of them moving for minutes at a time. Wonderful. 20 minutes later, we were finally in Boston. Our next challenge was dealing with Boston drivers, who are a whole different species than regular drivers. Our welcome into the city was performed by a Silver Honda who had blocked both lanes.
Now, I’m pretty tolerant of stupid people, but this guy was too much, not only did he block both lanes, preventing anyone else from passing, but it turned out he was waiting to pick someone up. After almost getting hit by 3 additional morons, we arrive to the parking garage had in mind. I knew the night had taken a turn when I saw the two worst words you can see on a parking garage: “Lot Full” Great, now we have to find another one that’s not too far away, and isn’t going to scalp my wallet. After driving a additional 10 minutes around the Seaport, we got lucky: a lot for only 7 dollars an hour, an oasis in a sea of 50 dollar parking. I get my ticket, and put it straight in my wallet as I always do. Thank God I did.
Now for the fun part: finding one person in a sea of thousands leaving the TD Garden after a Celtics win.
After walking a mile and a half in the blistering Boston wind, Caleb and I arrive at the Garden. We looked for Sherman for around 10 minutes before calling him, apparently he was waiting on the other side of the street, which explains why we couldn’t find him. We eventually pick him out of a crowd of drunk basketball fans who were singing a barely-recognizable version of Don’t Stop Believing. After finally meeting up, we decide to nix our plan and go straight for the nearest bar that didn’t look crazy packed.
Now, I’m not a big “crowds” guy, so I usually avoid crowded bars and places where I have to yell to talk, but I’m trying to get out and be more outgoing and such, so I thought it would be good for me to go to a more populated place. Within 45 seconds of arriving, I reconsidered my decision. The bar that had looked so empty and quiet on the outside was actually packed to the rafters with Finance bros in their Brooks Brothers suits and Patagonia vests. The only upside of this location was how quickly I was served a beer, the bartender was on top of her game, and I appreciated how quickly I had a beer in my hand. After learning that thevbar had a second floor, we mosey on over, taking an elevator up. I’d never drank beer in an elevator before, it was pretty cool. After reaching the second floor, we see that while it is less packed than downstairs, this part of the bar is still overpopulated with Patagonias. Surprisingly, we find a table and sit down. As I sip my overpriced beer, I start to be immersed in the conversations around me, none of them very interesting, most about basketball, the rest about how much working in Finance rocks, and how laid they’re going to get. Way to break stereotypes there guys. We finish our drinks and decide not to stay at this expensive post-graduation frat house. As we leave, Caleb suggests we stop at Pizzeria Regina, an amazing pizza place that’s open until the wee hours of the night. It’s half a mile away.
Rejuvenation at Regina’s
As we walk to Regina’s, I notice that we are very far away from our parking lot, and that we have quite a trek ahead of us on our way back. That didn’t matter, I was fixated on having a couple slices of amazing pizza and a beer or two, everything else was unimportant at the time. Just as we’re starting to have second thoughts, we see it: the giant neon sign for Regina.
We made it. After a brief wait, the server seats us and takes our order. Now, my pizza taste is a little odd, I’ve been in this pesto sauce mood lately, so I’ve been experimenting with different toppings. Tonight, I ordered a bacon pizza with pesto sauce. 5 minutes later, the server comes back with a chicken and pesto pizza, which isn’t a problem for me, but our server felt so bad that she offered to put extra bacon on it for no extra charge. How nice of her. After another couple minutes, she drops off this monster of a pizza with more toppings than cheese, and we all dig in like it’s our last meal on Earth. After we finish our beers and pizza, we begin the long walk back to the parking lot.
Finding the Car
By this point, it’s 12:30, and I’m starting to get tired, but we have a 3 mile hike before I can sit down and relax, so I figured the only way through it is to do it. We made it about a mile before I realize that the address on the parking ticket is for the wrong garage, and we’d been walking in the wrong direction for 20 minutes. Shit. Usually, every parking ticket I’ve ever gotten has the address and name of the garage, making it easy to find where you parked. Not this one. After having a mini panic attack at the thought of losing my car in Boston at 1 in the morning, my mind starts working. I check the GPS tracking app on my phone to see where we had stopped, and after double-checking with Google that it was indeed the place, we resume our journey. Around 30 minutes later, we arrive at where my GPS says my car is. There’s just one problem: it’s not the right lot. Now I really start freaking out, Caleb’s got work at 730, I’ve got to come in early myself, it’s going to be at least an hour and a half before I get home, and I can’t find my car. Things are looking bleak. After pacing around the area thinking of a plan, I see it, the most beautiful sight I’d seen all night: my car. After letting out a scream of joy, we rush over to the car, pay the 18 dollars for our parking, and get the Hell out of Boston. It’s 1:30.
The Journey Home
Now, I’d say Caleb drove like a bat out of Hell, but that wouldn’t accurately describe how fast this man left the city. I’d liken it to how a husband drives his wife to the hospital when she’s in labor. What’s usually a 45 minute drive took us 32, which I was thankful for. As we near Sherman’s car, Caleb starts looking tired, and his driving skills start to suffer. Seeing ad he had to get up in 4 hours, I decide to take over and let him rest a bit. As I sped home, I thought about how we’d laugh at how terrible this night was later. When I finally arrived back at my house, it was 3:15am. I set my alarm clock for 8:30, cringing when I saw how much time I had before I had to wake up.
I could’ve stayed home, watched Mad Men, and been asleep by 11:30. This is why I don’t like to leave my house.
So, it’s super rainy and slow today, so I’ve got some time on my hands, and I know how many people enjoy my Dunkin disasters, so I figured I’d write another one while still at work.
Right out of the gate, we lost power, which, in addition to killing my tunes, killed the walk-in and our Point of Sale system. Fantastic. I called my district manager, and she came in to see what she could do, because apparantly resetting the router didn’t work. When she arrived, she asked what I had done, as if I had somehow killed the power myself. She then proceeded to reset the router, and when that didn’t work, she called my manager and yelled at her. Apparently she should’ve predicted that we’d lose power. After the yelling was complete, the district manager decided the best course of action was to hit buttons until something changed. After around 20 minutes of this madness, she had run out of ideas, and left.
Now, I figured that this would be my excitement for the day, but I was wrong. So, if you’ve read my other posts, you’ll know that my Dunkin is attached to a gas station, and this is the source of much confusion, as people apparently can’t figure out why a coffee shop doesn’t sell gas. After informing a group of people that I couldn’t pump their gas, I look outside and I see it; a man trying to light a cigarette while pumping gas. Usually, I would let nature take its course, but I really didn’t want to have to clean up after he met his fiery demise. Luckily, a large construction worker beat me to it, smacking the cigarette out of his mouth and asking him “The fuck’s wrong with you? You tryna blow us all up?” Well put, Construction Guy.
It’s around 2:30 now, and things are still slow. A customer comes in and asks for a bagel, no big deal, but after I give him said bagel, he remains at the counter. Apparently, he has an issue being given a bag for his bagel. After looking at him for a second, I ask why he’s got a problem. He responds with a rant about how we could be recycling the bags, and using the bags more than once. Now, I do my best to recycle and go green and all that, but I’m not about to reuse bags that have had food in them. After informing the gentleman of our food safety guidelines, he stares at me for a second, and laughs to himself like he can’t comprehend how someone could think he was wrong. As he walks out, the girl behind him barely contains a laugh, confirming that I’m not just an asshole.
I thought that my fun was over for the day, but I was wrong again. Our bathroom is a bit of a wildcard: some days it works,some days it doesn’t flush, and some days it pushes water up. Today was a “push water up” type of day. Usually, people are understanding when I tell them that the bathroom’s broken, but every once in a while, we have some issues. Today, I was accosted by a woman who apparently decided that the water leaking out from under the bathroom door was insufficient evidence that it was broken. She then demanded to use the “employee bathroom” because apparently we have one, which is news to me. After informing her that I have been using a spot behind the dumpster, she flew into a rage, and demanded that we give her access to the broken bathroom. Seeing as this woman looks like she doesn’t have the healthiest diet and would further agitate the plumbing, I directed her to my spot behind the dumpster. As she stormed out, the woman informed us she would be leaving us a bad review on Yelp.
Other than that, my day has been pretty quiet, the network is down, so my workload has been cut in half for the day, leaving me ample time to make fun of morons who can’t behave in public. Hopefully, I’m not here much longer, these people are starting to get to me.
Today was a good day, I actually finished everything I wanted to get done. Usually, I only get to two or three things on my To-Do List, and get distracted and end up doing something completely different. What changed? That’s simple: music choice and medication.
I woke up at 7:30, which wasn’t planned, but super useful because I forgot to take the trash bins out, and I’m not too fond of letting this week’s trash become next week’s partially-decomposed sludge. After rushing outside in my sweatpants, I tried to go back to sleep, because why not, it’s my day off, I deserve to get some beauty rest. I was unsuccessful. 8:30 rolls around, and my Adderall is starting to kick in, so all hopes of sleep fly out the window.
I had no idea what I wanted to do today, so I do my usual job search, typing in “marketing internships” and “content writer” into Glassdoor, and applied to every job I think I could do. Now, usually, I get about 4 pages into the suggested jobs before getting distracted. Not today. I went into a groove, which was helped by the groovy tunes I had in the background (Mississippi Mud by Black Blood & the Chocolate Pickles), and next thing I knew, I was on page 36, and had applied to more than 20 jobs.
Now, I can tell the difference between “hyper-focus productive” and “Medicated productive”, and this wasn’t either, I think this might be the start of something new for me, I might not be a slacker anymore. I hope this continues, and I hope I continue to crush this job search, because if there’s anything that I’ve learned over these last 5 years, it’s that I never want to work fast-food again, and I’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.
Now, this post is called “Musical Motivation” for a reason: I’ve been switching up my music choices, and I think it’s actually doing things other than broadening my sonic horizons, I think it’s actually improving my mood and how I think about things. Usually, I listen to super depressing music, which probably isn’t good for me, but it feels incredible to listen to someone who understands how you feel, and connects with that. My favorite time to listen to music is that time of night between 12am and 2am, I think there’s something about that time that brings out a different side of music, especially sad music. I think my late-night listening, mixed with sleep deprivation, has taken me off my A-game, but I think I’ve found a great replacement for it: morning music.
Now, I’m terrible at getting up in the morning, I usually sit in bed until I absolutely have to get up, or if I have to go to the bathroom, but today, I was wide awake, and had nothing better to do than get things done. I think that if I go to bed early, and wake up early, not only will I get better sleep, I’ll get better results from my job hunt, my gym time, and my relaxation time, because what could be better than completing all your To-Do’s for the day at noon?