Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The sounds of summer

ZUMIX kicks off its Summer Concert Series on Sunday with the Seaport Festival, "a free afternoon of music, arts, crafts, games and prizes," this Sunday, July 3, at Piers Park. The event runs from 3 to 6 p.m. and will feature Smokin' Joe and the Henchmen, a classic-rock and soul band. Also on the bill are the ZUMIX Jazz All-Stars, a group of young people I saw play a few weeks ago.

The Summer Concert Series will offer live music every Tuesday and Sunday throughout the summer at Piers Park and Bremen Street Park. For information on the schedule, check out the ZUMIX web site.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sound and fury

It happens every spring. The storm windows go up, the screens comes down and the air conditioner goes in -- and, as a result, the outside world once again seeps into my apartment. What had been a buttoned-up fortress, with double-pane windows plus the storms, is now a porous divider between me and everything going on outside along Bennington Street.

By "everything," I mostly mean the noise: the planes, the sirens, the motorcycles, yes....but also every car that wooshes past, the screeches of children playing, and even people just talking in normal voices as they walk past my windows. I hear every bit.

And then there are the car horns. I hear quite a few of those in any given stretch. Sometimes it's from impatient drivers at the nearby red light, but more often there are people arriving to pick someone up and they lay into the horn without a moment of thought about how that act can disturb everyone else. At the top of the pyramid, for me, is a horn that regularly beeps around 4 a.m. directly across the street from me. Once the nice weather comes the obnoxious beeper frequently wakes me up -- as happened this morning. I tried valiantly, but was unable to fall back to sleep.

This has actually been going on for three years. On some occasions I have gone outside to yell at the beeper. Once I ran over and began screaming at him. The beeping, however, continues. Maybe it is a different person, or various people. Why anyone thinks it is OK to disturb everyone on a city block in the wee hours is beyond me. Doesn't the driver own a cell phone? Can't the passenger be ready at the appointed time?

I spoke to an officer at the East Boston police station and he suggested I get the license plate of the vehicle, so that is what I will attempt to do, though rousing oneself from bed and running outside is tough to do at 4 a.m. We'll see how it goes.

Update (6/8): Well, the horn woke me up again. At 3:50 a.m. I immediately dragged myself out of bed, threw on my sandals, grabbed paper and pen, and marched outside. I took down the license plate of a big SUV as it sat running, and then I walked up to the front of the vehicle. The driver rolled down the window, and I told him he woke me all the time with his horn and that I had his license-plate number. He was around 30, looked to be heading to work and he apologized. If this happens again I will call in his plate to the police.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

30 years later

I'm just back from my 30th high school reunion and it was a good night. I graduated from Savio in 1981 in a class of 89 guys. Only 20 showed up tonight, but after 30 years people are living all over the place and have family obligations. It was good to see those who did come out.

As I was telling some of the guys tonight, I was a dorky kid from East Boston, but among my classmates I always felt like I could wander form group to group -- the athletes, the rock music rebels. the guys that came from East Boston Central Catholic with me, the guys from Revere, and everyone else -- and I was always accepted. Those were good days at Savio -- and I got a good education.

It's strange to see people virtually every day for four years and then to never see them again. That often happens after high school. At least tonight I got to touch base one time with some of the guys who -- no matter where we go or what we do -- will always be my friends.