Since moving to Maine, G has been traveling for work tremendously. Because his clients are not lobsters or moose – though tax accounting types have a similar sense of humor – he has to leave the state in order to do his work. Because I loathe being at home since my house represents a never-ending cycle of floor cleaning and clothes washing, I am quick to bring the kids on our own ‘business trip’ to join him. Truth be told, I whore myself out for a good hotel chain. While Maine may claim to be the way ‘Life Should Be,’ hotels with high star ratings are what life should be for me.
In my home, I’m the chamber maid without the gratuity envelope. The only thing marble in my bathroom are the ones that litter my floor. I never fear bed bugs since I have bed wetters. Escaping to a hotel for a couple of nights is like being transported into Pretty Woman. I meet a cute financey guy on an expense account. I sing badly in the tub while he reports to meetings, and then we reconvene in the evening for dinner. And because of the presence of my two small pimps, G and I never kiss on the mouth either. The comparisons end there as G never buys me clothes no matter how lowbrow mine appear, and I’d never leave cash on the bed, no matter how insulted I was to receive it.
Occasionally my escapades feel more like turning tricks on Hollywood Boulevard than dining on escargot in a swanky restaurant. This last trip was one of them. Not only was my hand mangled, leaving me an Eloise-like Pirate, but I was nearly drowned and murdered in the streets. We met G in Boston, which is the big city not just for Massachusetts, but for all of New England. Boston newspapers are read in Maine. Their news is broadcast on our channels. Their sports teams are revered by all of New England. I learned this the hard way when I dressed our son in a Yankees shirt for his first day of school. I thought the teachers were going to banish a two year old to detention. After noting that most of the population displays a bumper sticker that reads “We support any team that beats the Yankees,” I figured we’d be safe so long as I didn’t send D and E Trick-Or-Treating as A-Rod and Jeter.
The sky had been threatening rain, but the allure of a mini fridge and printed carpet had dissipated. Armed with an electronic map and a double stroller, I set out in search of the Children’s Museum. We pushed over cobblestone roads, taking in the sights and the city bustle. There wasn’t a drop or two to herald the rain; It began in a weighty spray. I gritted my teeth and said something ridiculous that toddlers don’t understand like, “It’s like Seattle, guys! Two cities for the price of one!” When we were too far from the hotel to turn around yet still a substantial distance from the museum, the gale-force winds and pelting rain began to punish us. More ludicrous statements flowed from my mouth, ranging from ‘creatures as stupid as caterpillars managed to find Noah and his Arc in the floods’ to ‘Wisdom comes with winter and wandering cities with wet underwear.’ We’d found ourselves in a belt of Boston that was purely residential with no cafes or needle exchanges to take cover in.
As our jackets became saturated and their cries amplified to the level of ‘my home life is abusive,’ I did all I – or any hooker – could think of. I began taking off my clothes. An episode of Survivorman played in my mind. While thinking I should whittle sticks and forage for rat carcasses to use as mittens, I wanted to put enough layers on top of the kids. I stripped down to the undershirt I’d worn to bed. I knew without taking stock of myself that I looked like a woman in search of spare change and methamphetamines. The shirt is tight fitting when I’m not pregnant, so it’s really more like Polish Sausage casing when worn in the third trimester. I knew I didn’t look alluring, but I was a little surprised by the honking horns and middle fingers directed at us over the next several blocks. Then a man yelled from his speeding truck:
“Hey Lady, I hope you drown in this rain!”
While I told the kids that was Boston-speak for wishing they had an umbrella to give us, I wondered what I could have done to enrage this town. When a car slowed down beside me and a man leaned out to yell, “Go back to fucking LA – this is our town,” I realized the trespass I’d committed against Boston’s mankind.
I was wearing a vintage “I love the LA Lakers” T-shirt.
I don’t love the Lakers. Other than Lamar Odom, who I only know from watching too much Keeping Up With the Kardashians, I couldn’t name another player. I just like purple and things that cost $4.99. I never intended to be seen wearing this shirt in public, but like an aid worker in Calcutta, I just care too much for the children! After a few more death threats, I ducked into an H&M to buy dry non-sporting apparel. I found myself a shirt that appeared to have a urine stain on it and a pair of skanky leggings that still held the imprint of Lindsay Lohan’s ass. By then the deluge of rain had stopped and we wore our new ensembles out of the store.
We found G back at the hotel where he was decidedly disinterested in our tale of narrow survival. Midway through the story he stopped me short, “Wait…You were wearing a Lakers shirt?” Shaking his head in disgust, he said, “Erin, they’ll kill a pregnant woman here for that.” I nodded resolutely for I’d seen the dark side. “You’re an idiot. That’s like walking around Afghanistan without a burka. You just can’t do that if you want to be safe.”
Just as the Pretty Woman was spurned by evil store attendants for her mini skirt, I was scorned, and nearly stoned, by the sports fans of Boston for my inappropriate attire. And now my husband is buying me a burka. Big mistake, Boston. Big. Huge.