Gone Blank–Boston Story

Elderly gentleman approached asking directions not recognizing or ready to be kind I thought “oh goodness here we go” but something struck me the look he gave me connected and so he asked me sir “how do you get to Clinton” a place I just happen to live so piece of cake and as I explained and pointed he was trying to take it in but it seemed maybe he was confused so I did ask “where did you come from?”

Face was a blank, “OK, where do you live?” “Clinton, he says.” Well OK, but now it begins to dawn he cannot remember where he lives. I attempted to draw him a little map and sent him on his way but feel like that wasn’t enough no not nearly should have offered to have him follow me and guided him home I can only hope he landed safely.

I meditated how frightening to suddenly not remember having been pondering memories quite a lot over the last few years, memories triggered by photos and clippings and stumbling upon old friends from past lives on the social media apparatus. 

Some autobiographical memories triggered by smell or musicthe “Proust effect” involuntary memories encountered in everyday life and as I get older I sometimes want to corral them and sometimes just want to “bless the potholes down on memory lane.” Potholes-Randy Newman

While watching a new film of Frederick Wiseman called “City Hall” and it taking place in Boston where I worked for more than twenty years I was struck by its sights and sounds my first job being in the JFK Federal building at the corner of City Hall Plaza.


When I worked in Boston in the library at the District Office of the IRS there was a handicapped young man who worked in the same department with me but we only ever interacted when I would be leaving work and he would be out on Congress Street trying to cross it.

Well he was very slow and the walk light went very fast and he had to hustle just to even get halfway across– so anyway one day he asked me to help him and so I took his arm and dragged him across hoping we wouldn’t get run down by notorious bad mannered Boston drivers.

After that I was committed to helping Jimmy across the street nearly every day and then sprinting to North Station hoping I would not miss my train. After some time, Jimmy and I had it worked out down to a science just what we needed to do except in winter when stormy weather bolloxed us.

Jimmy did not say much just managed a slight smile as I cussed out all the nasty drivers trying to take us out. One time a car nearly hit us and I punched the side of the car as it drove by which led the driver to pull over and shout “did you hit my car?” and then he saw Jimmy limping along and hopped back in his car and pealed out of there.

We had a few laughs over that near-death experience.

I pondered good deeds and why and that it had to be love of life and that is not a seasonal thing I think.

In good time I decided to leave the IRS for broader pastures and wound up working in the library at one of Boston’s largest law firms at the corner of State and Congress streets.

I generally passed by my former office at the JFK and the cross walk that Jimmy and I used to stride out on but never a Jimmy sighting until one day when I had some kind of appointment back in Clinton and I left work early and as usual at top speed to get to North Station and get the blasted train and wouldn’t you know with not a nanosecond to spare I see my old friend stranded trying to cross the street.

I ran right by him hoping he didn’t see me and I don’t think he did but…… hold on right there buster you know you got to get Jimmy and so I pealed back and dragged Jimmy across at warp speed before sprinting to the station where I got to watch my train slowly pull away just as I hit the platform.

A conductor stood in the door well and just stared at me poor pitiful me.

I went to the bar across the street to wait for the next train having got the evil eye from my boss when I left work early and the evil eye from my conscience when I blew past Jimmy and the look down his nose from the conductor who see this silly shit happen every day.

As I sipped my beer and attempted to make myself feel better well yes there was that time I would get on the wrong train and jump off that moving train and a smile crossed my frothy lips.

Survived another tumultuous day in Boston Massachusetts and environs. 

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