The WineDiaries: or, the Boston Chronicles, Part 2

Friday, April 13, 6:30PM
Success! K and I have managed to deliver a perfect presentation. “That thing we did…that was…good,” I can’t resist declaring. You’d think we’d be feeling elated, but after having spent nearly every weekend for the better part of the last year preparing for this moment, what I’m feeling is a kind of post-academic project postpartum depression. Alcohol. We need alcohol, stat. The only obstacle to obtaining said alcohol is that neither K nor I are willing to purchase a $40.00 bottle of wine from the Hotel restaurant. Then, of course, there’s the problem of inquiring at the front desk where we can obtain less-than-$40.00 adult beverages without appearing a: cheep, or b: like the functioning alcoholics we most certainly are not. A gentleman at the front desk suggests an Italian eatery down the street and a seafood place behind the hotel.
“We want wine,” K and I interrupt. I repeat: we are not functioning alcoholics. We’re simply pointing out what we’re in search of because we recognize the value of this gentleman’s time. I don’t want anyone getting the wrong impression. After thanking him for his help, we head toward the doors.
“Just one more thing,” another young woman at the front desk calls after us. “If you bring anything back, just make sure it’s covered, because *lowers voice conspiratorially* you’re technically not supposed to bring alcohol into the hotel.” I refuse to feel guilty about violating hotel policy, because the staff are obviously skilled enablers.

Undaunted, we venture forth and, feeling slightly self-conscious, enter the Italian restaurant that, according to the desk clerk, looks-but-isn’t-fancy.

“Can you by wine here?” we ask the hostess. (Being a proud, card-carrying Italian with that passionate and spicy blend of the Sicilian and Neapolitan in my blood, I realize as soon as I ask that inquiring if you can purchase wine in an Italian restaurant is like…asking a Catholic priest if he believes in the Immaculate Conception.) “Yes, of course.”
“By the bottle? For takeout? OR just with dinner?” (Now, be honest: does that sound like the sort of question a functioning alcoholic would ask?)
“No, only with dinner,” replies the hostess apologetically. K and I exchange a look. This is not going well. We were specifically told we could purchase wine, and only wine, if we chose. Short of singing to a crack in the sidewalk and waiting for a grapevine to magically spring up, there seems little hope of accomplishing our mission.
“Wait, you want to buy wine? I can tell you where to buy wine. Come!” The hostess guides us outside and points directly across the street to a grocery store—one that the hotel staff has conveniently neglected to tell us exists—and assures us that “They sell wine.”

We enter the grocery store expecting to find wine, and discover instead a fully-stocked liquor store on the second floor. Hallelujah! Eureka! And suddenly there appeared in the sky a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God, etc. Flash to scene in “Willy Wanka and the Chocolate Factory” when Charley discovers the ostensibly found fifth golden ticket glimmering from within the wrapper of his candy bar. So drastically has my mood been lifted that when the cashier neglects to card me, I forget to appear insulted at the implication that I am old.

Mission accomplished! Back at the hotel, we stroll across the lobby and have almost made it safely to the elevator without notice when we hear, “Did you girls find what you were looking for?” from the woman at the front desk. Can we do anything in this hotel without attracting the attention of the entire lobby? First my guidedog decides to perform a rain dance in front of an audience of about 50 bellhops. Now the desk clerk is broadcasting our quest for cheap liquor to the entire lobby. ON balance, we decide it’s best to respond politely.
“Yes, we did, thank you, and actually, we discovered a grocery store just across the street that we didn’t even know was there.”
“Oh, yes, and it’s open 24-hours,” replies the desk clerk, adding after a pause, “So, if you ever…need anything, you know where it is now.” (Translation: when you run out of alcohol, you know where to restock). WE nod and thank her again before making our escape.
“Enablers,” whispers K, which I suppose is some way of assuaging my Catholic guilt (not, of course, that I have anything to feel guilty about. I’ve been tottering around Boston in high-heeled boots all day in an endeavor to appear sexy and sophisticated. This alcohol is medicinal. You know, for the leg cramps).

Saturday is, I must confess, basically an over-caffeinated rerun of Friday, so allow me to leave you with the highlights encapsulated in a few choice quotations while the closing credits roll to the background music of “Me and my Shadow”.

Me (commenting on the dog’s position at my feet while we sit in the coffee shop): “He looks really adorable. You should take a picture.”
K: “He’s kind of just lying there, looking up at me with this expression like ‘Paint me like one of your French girls.'”

Hostess from previous evening’s alcohol adventures (standing outside restaurant and spotting us as we pass): “Hello, my friends! Did you find wine?” (That wasn’t at all conspicuous. Keep it classy, Boston).
K: “We did. Thank you for your help.”
Me: “We’re just…enjoying this spring weather…while it lasts.” (Translation: we are just two sober citizens on an evening walk. Judge us not.)

Tiny humanoid creature (running up to dog): “Hi, doggy!”
Mother: “Yes, nice doggy. But you can’t pet the doggy, because he’s doing an important job.”
K (attempting to distract small humanoid creature): “You’ve got an elephant on your shirt. I like that.”
Small humanoid creature (as he crosses street): “Bye, doggy!”
Mother (in v. “I-do-teach-my-child-manners” way): “Bye people, too.”

And so, it ends.

Author’s note: if any of the above appears less amusing than anticipated, a formula of less than 4 hours of sleep, several caffeinated beverages, and a few shots of vodka should spice things up a bit.

Related post: Doggone It: or, How to Avoid being Kicked Out of a Boston Hotel with a Service Animal


  1. sandra said

    Giggling at my desk. The Bicerin doesn’t hurt.

    • poetprodigy7 said

      Yes–I’d think the bicerin would only help.

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