drinking santana cham ’cause it’s so crisp

Saturday, after shooting under hot lights for eight hours, I did not trust myself behind the wheel of a car. As such, I couldn’t make it to Melissa and Fraley’s farewell party for Jon Walton. I did stumble to the end of my block and into the basement of Redbones, to say goodbye to ImprovBoston’s own Paul K. and Melissa H.

Paul and Melissa are moving out west, so they’re driving across the country and seeing a wide range of tourist sites: the Grand Tetons; Mt. Rushmore; Casper. Wyoming. They couldn’t work their schedule to include the world’s largest ball of twine (the Kansas one), and this filled them with regret.

“How do you decide to make the world’s largest ball of twine?” Melissa asked.

“You commit to the bit,” I explained, “a staple of improv. Once you collect enough twine to make a four-foot ball, why stop there?”

I’ve worked with Paul before in Neutrino and always found him a talented, responsive partner on stage. But he’s also a genuinely good human being – kind and fun to be around. I told him and Melissa I’d miss them as I said my goodbyes.

“We’ll miss you too,” Melissa said. “But I still read your blog.”

“You read my blog?” I asked, mouth open.

“All the time,” she said. “I think it’s the only blog I read.”

This makes Melissa Holman the greatest American hero.

# # #

The short girl in the black coat darted past me almost before I could react. “Emily!” I yelled. She stopped, and a three-year online friendship culminated in its first face-to-face meeting.

I introduced Emily to Victoria while we waited in line for our tickets. Vickie talked about living in Davis Square. Emily reminisced about her high school prom – right here, on Rowes Wharf on the Boston waterfront. Though the weather threatened rain tomorrow and had been muggy all weekend, Monday evening greeted us with cool water breezes.

“This is awesome!” Emily squealed, sipping at her complimentary Maker’s Mark mojito.

“This is Yelp,” I told her.

The Odyssey disembarked at 7:00, taking us out past the Harborwalk and the Korean War Memorial. We drank cocktails and ate peppercorn sirloin, talking about:

  • contemporary music: Emily: “I can’t handle any musician who was born after 1990”;
  • work: Vickie: “I’ve seen The Thighs, and yes – they’re real and their spectacular”;
  • And the best way to kill a mouse: Me: “Any sharp trauma to the crown of the head should do it.”
The party spread over every deck of the boat and practically every Boston Yelper had brought guests, so I only got to say Hi to each person I knew once. But we found Leighann, and my coworker Allison H., and the entertaining Lauren R., and the chocolate fountain with strawberries, and the sun setting over the Boston skyline on the top deck, and a Johnny Depp impersonator with a bottled tan swaggering about in leather and lace and a fake sword. The DJ closed the night with “P.Y.T.” as we settled back into dock.

“Thank you so much for inviting me to this,” Vickie said, moments after embracing Emily and sending her to the Ashmont line.

I shrugged. “That’s what friends do.”


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