Sunday, April 19, 2009

And then Ben Affleck Asked Me If I Wanted to Take This Outside

Yesterday morning a few members of my department hopped a bus and rode the short trip down to Boston for a celebratory day trip--after all, there are only sixteen more days in the semester!--that had us eating dim sum in Chinatown for lunch, wandering the harbor walk, seeing the Shepard Fairey exhibit at the contemporary art museum, and then, finally, strolling through the North End on our way to Maurizio's, the department's favorite dinner place in all of Boston, and Lulu's for cupcakes.

Everything was exciting, but dinner was the best. Mostly because after I finished my wine and veal and homemade ravioli, I turned around to find the purse I'd set behind my chair, and when I turned around, I accidentally threw an elbow into a guy sitting at the table behind me.

When I turned around fully to apologize for what I'd done, I realized had thrown my elbow into Ben Affleck. There he was behind me, wearing a Bruins jersey and drinking a beer. I blinked. I blinked again. Then I realized it wasn't Ben Affleck but a boy who looked like he could be Ben Affleck's identical cousin --you know, if Ben Affleck's mother had a twin sister and his father had a twin brother and they all got married and had babies at the exact same time, which made the babies--who had simmered in the same genetic stew--look exactly alike, which is the plot of one of my favorite novels from childhood, but, I am sure it's possible.

So there I was staring at Ben Affleck's identical cousin, and he cracked a grin at me and opened his mouth. And when he spoke, he sounded EXACTLY LIKE THIS.

"Hey there," he said, which sounded more like Haay thaah. "You gotta rough me up? You tryin' to throw an elbow my way? I see how it is. You wanna take this outside?"


But I did not say that. Instead, I giggled. And giggled some more.

"I see! I see!" the guy said. "I switched sides on the table because I'm tall--" And here he raised himself halfway up from his chair to demonstrate just how tall he was. "--and you don't like that, you think I'm in your way, so you gotta try to start somethin'. That's tough!"

I giggled some more. "Is my purse in your way?" I asked. I pointed to my giant purse that had been too bulky to rest on the back my chair. I'd put it on the floor, and it was closer to his table than mine. If he had chosen that exact moment to reach into my purse, pluck out my credit cards, and tuck them into is own pockets, I would've been completely okay with that because then I'd have a story about how a famous person's identical cousin robbed me.

"Nah, nah," he said. He grinned.

"Are you sure?" I asked. "I'll move it."

Ben Affleck's identical cousin reached over and put a hand on my arm. "It's okay," he said. "It's definitely not in my way."

That's about the time everyone else at my table got involved.

"Who won the game tonight?" someone asked. It was a big day for Boston sports. The Sox and Celtics and Bruins were all playing.

"Not the Celtics," the guy said and frowned into his beer.

"Are you going to the hockey game tonight?" someone else asked.

The guy beamed. He lifted his beer into the air. "Yeah," he said. "Me and my girlfriend and my little brother!" He slung an around around the guy sitting next to him. "Let me ask you a question," he said to us. "I want you to be honest. Very important question here."

"Okay," we said.

"Which of us is more attractive?" Ben Affleck's identical cousin gestured to himself and to his brother.

Everyone at our table was laughing.

"You're equally attractive," I said. Ben Affleck's identical cousin was cute, but his brother was way cuter. Still, the brother was grinning and blushing and keeping his mouth shut. There was a charm factor to add in, and Ben Affleck's identical cousin with his cartoony Boston accent oozed the type of charm that sweet, chatty, too-loud boys often do.

"Weak!" he said. He threw a light punch into his brother's side. "But I know you're just saying that because you don't want to hurt his feelings.

We talked a little bit more after that--we compared favorite hockey players (and, yes, I had enough sense to keep my eternal love for Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabres hidden while I was surrounded by drinking Bruins fans)--and then we were on our way out the door on the search for cupcakes for the bus ride back up the coast. And that--Ben Affleck's identical cousin--and the four cupcakes (vanilla with orange buttercream, vanilla with vanilla buttercream, chocolate with marshmallow buttercream, and chocolate with raspberry buttercream) the girl behind the counter at LuLu's had tucked into a box for me were pretty much the best way to kick off the countdown to the end of this spring semester.

No comments: