God Damn my wallet when it’s dry…
- Justin Rutledge
So there we were. It was 3:30 in the morning. We’d spent the night at the Blazers-Wings game, drinking Bud Heavies and posing for photographs with the Sparks Dance Team. After the Dawson boys had dominated the affair (an 11-7 Blazers win), we had gone over to Sully’s Tap for a few Sam Adams before meeting the rest of the Blazers at “The Greatest Bar”, a huge assist going to NLL Legend Brian Bendig for getting us through the door. After slamming back multiple Jager Bombs with Big Joe Dawson, having future Congressman Smitty pose for multiple photos with the entire Sparks Dance team, and having a less-than-bashful girl walk in on me mid-piss in the single stall men’s washroom, we were eventually escorted out of the establishment at last call by one of Boston’s finest, who politely asked Dinner to “put down your beer you FUCKIN ASSHOLE”. Clearly still raring to go, the Blazers invited the group of us back to their digs ("The Blazers Den"): a six bedroom, one bathroom frat house with a fridge full of Bud Lights and a living room full of Sparks Dancers. It wasn’t long before Dinner was holding his own Blazers tryout, twirling a stolen lacrosse stick and tossing a mini red potato around the kitchen like a young Gary Gait. Some kind of a physical altercation broke out between one of the cheerleaders and her “boyfriend”, complete with scratching and slapping, and many other kinds of physical altercations were apparently breaking out in some of the bedrooms upstairs, as girl after girl kept coming down the stairs in various states of undress. I was sitting on the couch with Flats, having a drunken heart-to-heart, trying to take in the entire scene as Dinner continued to show the uninterested collective his upside-down sidewall spin, when suddenly, one of the Blazers players came parading down the stairs and waltzed into the living room... proud as a peacock, and naked as the day he was born.
It was at that moment that Flats turned to me and asked: “Are we in Guyland right now?”
This particular 4-day venture into the realm of Guyland began on Thursday afternoon with my buddy Dinner picking me up at 3 o’clock, the two of us driving to Buffalo to catch the $9 JetBlue special to Boston. We had an hour to kill before boarding, so we obviously hit up the newly opened Buffalo Airport Anchor Bar for a Sam Adams and some wings, paying our tab as they called our flight. The flight really couldn’t have been better, and at the very moment we got to the baggage coral upon our arrival, our bags were literally coming down the chute. The timing was impeccable, and the service top-notch – definitely worth every penny (all 900 of them).
Logan International is located about 3 miles from downtown Boston, so we were literally walking through the alley to Flats’ North End apartment less than 20 minutes after landing. Seeing as it was our first night, we decided to take it pretty easy by mixing triple Vodka-Sprite-and-Sunny Ds with the duty free Kettle One, and then dipping into the Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron (12% beer) and Raison D’Etre (8% beer), while waiting for Strombo, Flats’ roommate, to get home.
Eventually, it was off to Dillon’s to meet up with DJ Smitty and his coterie of beautiful babies: Hays (legend), Mairead (DC in the HOUSE!), and O’Leary. What can you say about Buffalo that hasn’t already been said? They roll thick. I can’t tell you much of what happened at the bar other than I inexplicably have a photograph of a urinal with a Heineken bottle resting on it… I guess that’s what happens when you warm up with 12% beer. We eventually piled into a cab and headed back to Flats’ place, popping into the 24-hour Italian bakery for some freshly baked bread that we caught a sniff of from the alley (is Boston’s North End the best neighbourhood in the world?). Once back inside the apartment, Flats went to work on a gigantic cauldron of spaghetti, chopping up sausage and adding his secret blend of 37 different herbs and spices while Dinner took over the DJ reigns, spinning an exquisite mix of City and Colour and Bon Iver (“Skinny Love”).
I believe it was sometime after 4am when Dinner had the misfortune of challenging me to a foosball game on Strombo’s highly irregular table, thus beginning my run in the 617 that managed to make the ’72 Dolphins look like a bunch of school boys. It was nothing short of complete and utter domination, including a couple of 2-on-1 victories, and perhaps most impressively, a W when my partner was an Indian girl who had basically never seen the game before. I’m telling you, if this whole blogging thing doesn’t work out, there might be a future for me hustling teenagers at Mr. V’s.
I have no idea what time Dinner and I crashed out on the couches, but it must have been sometime after 5:17 am, because apparently I sent some kind of an international text message at that hour. I am an idiot.
I have no idea how Flats and Strombo got up for work Friday morning, but apparently they did because when Dinner and I woke up (after our phone alarms were going off for approximately 4 hours), we had the place to ourselves. Let me tell you, nothing cures a screaming hangover like the Simpson’s movie and lazing around in your underwear until 2pm, but we eventually decided to venture out into the brisk Boston daylight, disregarding the fact that we didn’t have a key to get back into the apartment. We hit up Theo’s Cozy Corner for breakfast (fantastic hot Italian sausage and Provolone omelette; not a lot of room to stretch out; filled with blue collar locals sidling up to the lunch counter; no discernible bathroom – my kind of place), and then walked around the North End and hung around in the alley, waiting for someone to let us into the building (FYI: in Boston, any street called “Place” is actually an alley; as in, 8 Noyes Alley). Eventually, Flats made it back home and unlocked the door, and we basically just greened out on the couch for the next few hours, waiting for Strombo to get home so we could begin prepping for what would undoubtedly be Boston’s social event of the season: Flats-and-Strombo’s-Party-Because-a-Couple-of-Canadian-Dudes-Are-Down (unofficial title).
I have to say, I’m a big fan of Strombo’s party prep, which involves little more than setting up the Beirut table, and then buying 162 beers. Done and done.
Flats has a buddy who used to tend the twine at B.U., and he was able to hook us up with tickets for the BU-UNH game that night. We hopped on the aptly titled “Green Line” and took the subway-streetcar out to the BU campus, meeting Karson at the door, and then making our way to our seats, with Karson stopping to shake the hand of every single person he met along the way (Karson is like a former head-of-state at Agganis Arena), including the Captain of the 1980 U.S. Men’s Hockey Team, Mike Eruzione (also a BU alum). The game was fantastic (BU crushed James van Reimsdyk’s Wildcats 5-0), the student section was bonkers, and the Sam Adams’ were ice cold. A perfect way to spend the early part of Friday night.
By the time we got out of the arena, the party at 8 Noyes Place was supposed to have been underway… Unfortunately for everyone involved, however, a solo Strombo had the effect of “creeping out” every group of girls who arrived at the door, meaning that by the time we got back to the apartment, it was basically just a drunk Strombo listening to tunes, wondering where it all went wrong.
But it didn’t take long for the soiree to begin taking shape, with the Queen City representing once again, rolling as thick as ever. At one point early on, I could have sworn that the girl-to-guy ratio was approaching 4-1. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen. But I guess that's what happens when North End girls get wind of the fact that there are a couple of Canadian guys in town... The 30 racks of Keystone Lights were flying out of the fridge faster than they could be replenished, Hays and DC were snapping digitals like they were going out of style, and there was no shortage of love for the chest hair being flashed by yours truly. I’m pretty sure a legitimate dance party broke out when M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” took a spin, and it was at about this time when Flats boldly proclaimed: “Well, it’s officially a party because I don’t know anyone here”. The legendary heir to the Callaghan Auto Parts empire was live and in full effect, as were a duo of Maine-iacs who inexplicably accepted my invitation to attend the Blazers game the following night.
But the undisputed highlight of the night came when a group of kids walked through the door (and I mean, they were literally kids. If you’d asked me to guess their age, I would have probably said 17). Apparently, they lived across the alley and heard the music raging, and like any group of self-respecting adolescents would, they simply invited themselves over. They spilled into the kitchen, saying things like: “Holy SHIT! I just talked to this guy who was 28!!!” and “Let’s go slay some OLD BITCHES!”. They were also calling the 25-year old Callaghan “Lady” (she was not impressed, but I was laughing my ass off). Despite all of these indiscretions (or maybe because of them), the lads were actually pretty good dudes, and when we asked them how old they were, they told us that they were 20. That’s when Flats came back with the line of the weekend:
“Twenty?… I’m like… Five years older than that!”
Round about 1 o’clock, all 162 ‘Stoners had been crushed, so it was clearly time to move on to the Bushmills and Vodka, which indirectly led to more domination on the foosball pitch. By the end of the night, it was once again Dinner and I as the last two standing, with Dinner taking another run at the DJ booth, as we rocked out to Tom Petty and Kings of Leon… It was actually quite romantic.
Saturday was another highly productive day. I think Dinner and I woke up at about 2:30. Aside from Strombo heading out to the Boston Wine Show (ugh...), I was the first one to leave the apartment, and that was at 3'oclock, as I went in search of Gatorade and fresh air (The Hay Market on a Saturday afternoon does just the trick). We hit up Regina’s Pizzeria for some pie for breakfast (it was basically dark by that point), and then manned up and knocked back a few Heinekens before heading out to the Blazers game and the aforementioned trip into a dimension of Guyland that was even too much for me.
(After Flats had posed the infamous question: “Are we in Guyland right now?”; and after I’d responded by spitting my beer all over myself; his next question was: “You wanna get outta here?”... It would not have been possible to get to the door any faster. Dinner decided to stay at the Blazers Den in a last ditch effort to earn a roster spot, but it just wasn’t in the cards this time around. Maybe next year. He wound up drowning his sorrows back at Noyes Place by playing an hour's-worth of Justin Timberlake YouTube clips. What can I say? He’s a changed man.)
The three of us made a pact to wake up bright and early on Sunday so we could venture out into the Boston morning to take in all that the city has to offer. And miraculously, we managed to do just that, rousing ourselves out of bed by the ungodly hour of noon. Dinner began his legendary day of drinking in public by cracking a Heineken on the busy Sunday North End streets, and from there we set out on our walk over the N. Washington Street Bridge into Charlestown, where we met Flats’ buddy Tommy for breakfast at The Warren Tavern (circa 1780 – George Washington famously once stopped in for “refreshments”). For my money, there is no better breakfast than a cup of Chowder, Haddock and Chips, and multiple pints of Harpoon IPA.
From the Warren, it was off to the liquor store for a few more Heineken tallboys, and then to the Bunker Hill Monument where we inexplicably decided to attempt to run to the top (294 steps) despite the fact that we’d been drinking for approximately 72 consecutive hours and hadn’t so much as attempted a brisk walk since Wednesday… To no one’s surprise, I nearly had a heart attack after about 40 steps, but we eventually made it to the top and were afforded a breathtaking view of New England’s finest city.
We walked back through Charlestown where two disgusted women asked us in the most disdainful tone imaginable: “So… Are you guys just walking around the streets drinking Heinekens all day?” “Ummmm… Yeah?!?!”. We followed the freedom trail and eventually made it to the Banknorth Garden to peruse the Pro Shop (one rack of Blazers gear) and hit up the Dunkin Donuts for a much needed jolt. Waiting for the subway, an eleventeen year old asked to wear my funky Peruvian hat for awhile, and I was absolutely shocked that she didn’t lift my wallet, because that was exactly where the encounter felt like it was headed. We rode the train all the way to DJ Smitty’s $$$ apartment (on Beacon Street, just down the block from Cheers), and as Flats and I knocked back a few Labatt’s, Dinner went shopping for lingerie (Mike D is in a relationship).
From Smitty’s, it was off to Daisy Buchanan’s for a few more IPAs, and then as darkness began to fall, it was Starbucks for some more caffeine, and then a quick pint at the Bell in Hand Tavern (the oldest continuously operating Tavern in the U.S. – see? Taking in culturally significant sights on our daylong pub crawl!). We got back to Noyes Place around 9pm, showered up, hosted an international webinar, and then headed out into the Boston night for a pretty solid Italian meal, and then multiple pints at The Living Room.
Just when it looked like things were beginning to wind down, we received a text message from Paully Daws, informing us that he and a group of his team mates were on the prowl and looking to light it up for last call. In retrospect, The Four Winds was probably not the best choice for a locale in which to accomplish these ends, but at the time, it was the only place still serving.
So after ordering multiple rounds of Jagermeister at 1:54 am (I know this because I actually took a photo of my blackberry, so astounded was I by the amount of alcohol being consumed only hours prior to my needing to be on a flight back home, presumably so I could work a full day), it came as a surprise to no one that one of the moustachioed gentlemen inadvertently knocked over a barstool, giving the female bartender the perfect excuse to kick the group of us out of her establishment. When she began taking our drinks off the bar, Dinner flatly stated: “You’re robbing us right now, you know…”, prompting a 60-year old Paul Schaffer look-alike to get in Dinner’s grill and scream “YOU HAVE THREE SECONDS TO FINISH YOUR DRINK AND GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!!!”. The former head of The World's Most Dangerous Band wasn't messing around. It was beautiful.
Nothing like a nice quiet Sunday night to round out the weekend.
When we woke up Monday morning at 7:30, I literally wanted to kill myself. You know it’s going to be one of those kinds of days when the first words out of the guy sleeping next to you are: “Did I puke on myself last night?”
Turns out it was just a gallon of Ben and Jerry’s that melted all over him and the couch after he’d passed out, but still… The flight back to Buffalo wasn’t much better, the deplorableness of it all exacerbated by the fact that someone (not naming names) vomited prodigiously all over the airplane’s bathroom.
Yep, just another 4 days in the lives of three thirty-somethings maturing gracefully into middle age.
Dinner, thanks for being such a great date and not taking advantage of me in my drunken, vulnerable state. Queen City Ladies, you were the highlights of the first two nights before pulling an unnanounced Houdini: let's work on that stamina for next time. Flats, Strombo, DJ Smitty… We owe you guys a lifetime’s worth of gratitude for the hospitality the three of you showed us. Looking forward to returning the favour one day soon, as Guyland Adventure #837 ventures to Toronto in the not-too-distant future.