Welcome to town (Weekly Dig)


Originally published in Baratunde’s bi-weekly GOODCRIMETHINK column in the August 1, 2007 edition of Boston’s Weekly Dig

I've been trying for a week to get my car inspected--something that I should have done a month ago.

I began at the gas station that performed my last inspection, but the mechanic told me his emissions machine was broken. He said I should come back on Saturday. Dutifully, and stupidly, I did as he requested. On Saturday, I returned and asked him if his emissions machine was working.

"Yeah," he said, "but it won't work on your car."

"Then why did you tell me to come back on Saturday?"

"Did we have some sort of agreement or something?"

Apparently not. And now I have to make sure as many people as possible avoid giving their business to the unnamed gas station at the intersection of Broadway and Prospect Street in Cambridge. It pains me to wield this column as a flaming sword of justice used to vanquish my enemies. Pity it has to come to this.

Anyway, two days later, I drove to two other service stations in a attempt to fulfill my duties as a law-abiding car owner. Both denied me service, claiming it was "too early" in the day. All this searching had made me late for a meeting, forcing me to drive into town, illegally.

I passed my normal walking path and reached the Museum of Science. As I began my descent into the scene of the Great Tunnel Flood of 2022, a/k/a the Big Dig, I noticed a little man wearing a neon orange construction vest driving a little PT Cruiser with little North Carolina plates. He was behind me, but decided to "merge" using the shoulder lane in an attempt to occupy the space-time placemark that my vehicle was occupying.

I prepared for battle: I turned off the BBC, got off the phone and put down my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He kept coming, daring me to hit him. Then, somehow, he was in front of me. He. Cut. Me. Off!

This was not supposed to happen. I learned to drive in Boston. I go to small towns in North Carolina and take advantage of their quaint manners, cutting people off on exit ramps at the last moment. Who was this guy?

I slammed on my horn, and I rode his tailpipe, and I did this for a full minute. I felt like a murdery stalker. I didn't feel rage. I just felt very calm. I was like, "I have a job to do, people."

I raced around him two lanes to the left, merged fast to the right and cut him off, barely avoiding a collision. Then I slammed on my brakes, drove at about 20 mph and resumed eating my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Your move, little man.

He changed lanes to the left, preparing to take the Logan Airport exit. I maintained my pace, and he refused to accelerate past me. He was scared! The only thing keeping me from following him is that I really did not want to go to the airport. That would have cost, like, $3. Instead, I thrust out my middle finger in victory and drove onward.

BARATUNDE THURSTON IS A COMEDIAN AND AUTHOR LIVING IN SOMERVILLE. HIS COLUMN RUNS BIWEEKLY IN THE DIG. THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS HAS DEEMED BARATUNDE.COM TO BE COMPLETELY STREET LEAGAL.