My day began with securing my own Worcester Public Library card and in my travels I noticed some event-like commotion over at the Commons. As I asked the locals what was up (the Woo Challenge race, it turns out), I spotted my landlord and his son. I waited with them for his wife and daughter to catch up and cheered them on as they finished the obstacle course. It was nice to know someone (and actually like them) that I randomly ran into in the park.
From there I headed to work where I tried to finish mowing the courtyard (apparently the mower ran out of gas which is why our maintenance dude stopped mowing), took care of my plant babies, and cleaned out the fridge (to mitigate maintenance dude having to do it when asked). It took forever to scrub that thing down from top to bottom, but it looks like a brand new refrigerator/freezer and nothing expired is left in it. Here’s hoping that’s enough for the director to call off the “tossing everything in the fridge/freezer” dogs. Having lost one of our two maintenance dudes, I’m sure the remaining one will appreciate my efforts. I also dumpster-dove for the second fucking week to rescue a bunch of recyclable items (and bags of recycling from the bins around the office) and move them to the recycle dumpster THREE FEET AWAY. This needs to be fixed; what’s the point of having recycling bins and a dumpster if they’re not being used?!
Next stop was at a Worcester-Shrewsbury community event. The Facebook description promised local area tables promoting recycling, health, community gardening and the like (all things that are right up my alley), so I dropped by to check it out. It may have only been 6 tables, a food truck and a pet adoption trailer, but it was kind of perfect. I got to play with Jerry the adorable (and adoptable) pupface, who would have laid in my lap if I’d have let him. I grabbed a reusable bag from the Shaw’s lady, a basil plant from the owner of the Metro PCS shop (a/k/a the organizer of the event), a hot dog from the food truck, some health information for my kiddies at work, and a few fidget spinner/crayon/pencil packets for the kiddies at work as well. Metro PCS owner guy (whose name I don’t know if I even got) is from Forest Hills, Queens (NY) so we talked Long Island/New York for a few. I really hope he doesn’t lose his spirit having moved to Worcester the way that I did. I hope he’s successful and he continues to organize community-based events and he builds himself a niche here. This place just isn’t for me, but it’s serving a purpose in my life right now, and so I stay. And I find these things to do, and I enjoy myself in the interim.
I dropped all of my things off at home and made an executive decision despite having just consumed a hot dog off of a truck. I figured the final dinner shift (tonight) and the final brunch shift (tomorrow) at Sweet – Kitchen & Bar would be super-cray due to their permanent closing tomorrow. So I decided to try to squeeze myself into a 2-3 p.m. slot at the bar, assuming from my restaurant days that it wouldn’t be too busy at that hour. I was right. I was also there until after 4:00, regardless of the fact that the restaurant itself (but not the take-out cupcake bar) closes from 3-5.
Some of the things I learned during that time: Mr. Sunshine was more or less hired to “fix” some of the things that needed to change about the establishment so they could continue their success in the heart of the Woo, but unfortunately he was not able to do enough. He denied being “bummed” about it, but his facial expressions seemed to betray him. I named him Mr. Sunshine because he belongs in it–with a beach accompaniment. Everything about him silently screams “Cali” but he remains here–being a good dog dad and an even better human son. He doesn’t seem belong in the Woo and I think it’s making him sad. My initial impression after a quick Facebook stalk is that we’re probably very alike. Third-floor Triple Decker twins, at least, and non-Worcesterites (“this fuckin’ city” –see T.J. Miller’s stand-up special for comedic reference). His relatives in Vernon Hill likely live within blocks of me too. I likened him to a possible Worcester version of Ted. He’d probably make an excellent Woo-Ted but the biggest difference is that I bet he’d hit on me, whereas Ted never has. Quite possibly the only male friend I’ve ever had that didn’t? In any event, I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do with his number, but I also kind of think he felt bad that I “had no friends” and gave it to me out of pity.
Anyway, a quick trip down Restaurant-Memory Lane ensued while I watched two employees discuss their plans for a small gift for Chef as the place closes forever. I’ve got money on them having slept together, but I suppose I’ll never know so the bet against myself is pretty moot. Restaurant politics are funny. Pretty Boy, however, was pretty cool and will likely excel at whatever he does. I get the sense he doesn’t really like his girlfriend though. Either she’s awesome in bed so he keeps her around or he likes drama (which I find kind of hard to believe), but I would never have guessed them to be together. She’s a wannabe-model-looking type that stays away from social media, and he’s a beard/tattoos/social butterfly. Maybe they’re perfect for one another; who knows.
The drink I chose (a “Handsome Joe” made with Chivas Regal, espresso syrup, lemon) and the meal (a brunch version of poutine) were great. The cupcakes I brought home were expensive (and I hope also great, though I couldn’t possibly eat them just yet). The hostess didn’t want to check to see if there were any more shirts, so I didn’t get to keep a little slice of Worcester’s history for when I book it out of here and save my soul.
I was going to try out Worcester’s Bingo scene tonight, but I still don’t have company and I’m not ready to go it alone. I can’t really figure out why, as some things I’m a-ok doing solo and other things I get very awkward when I think about being by myself. So I may just stay in…get some paperwork done, watch a movie, etc. I wanted to hit up the pool but it’s been cloudy and it’s too late in the day. I considered driving down to Providence for Water Fire, but I’m going to be doing a lot from Thursday – Sunday next week so I really think the best plan for now is to take it easy…for the body, brain, and wallet.
Bottom line is that I had a very Worcester-focused day and I noticed how hard this city is trying. One of the other people at the bar said it best though, when I overheard her say, “It’s definitely been changing, but it’s still Worcester.” And I think that’s what I can feel despite all of the efforts to…dare I say it…make Worcester great again?