Life Happening

Sam sent me an e-mail and told me we were going to Keezer’s in Cambridge to pick up a tux. “It’s your run-o'-the-mill tux store. Fifty bucks, it’s where all the Harvard kids get their rentals and I’m built like a box so I don’t care about fuckin’ tapered lines”. He weaves the F-bomb into every conversation like it was a punctuation mark and discards all of the “R’s”. Sam is renting a tux for $50 and spending $300 to attend a fund raiser dinner. If you knew Sam, you would know that this somehow makes sense.

We meet after work and I know why I am there. Sam is color blind and doesn’t trust the Russian store clerk. “Dameron, don’t just stand there and look pretty, help me pick out a vest” he barks at me. At the same time he is talking to the clerk as if he has known him for years. “And I want a tie with a clasp, not like that Mr. Tux crap. I spent two hundred bucks on a tux and I had to use a fuckin’ paper clip on the tie.” The clerk chuckles and wanders through the floor to ceiling boxes to fetch a bow tie. Just then a cute young guy walks by in a rental suit and socks, Sam elbows me, one eyebrow raised and tilts his head towards the young man’s direction. “Nice suit” Sam says. The young guy smiles at Sam and blushes.

This is what I love about Sam. He says what he thinks and never apologizes. To me, Sam is Boston: Brash and outgoing one moment, personable and tender the next. When my husband, Paul and I bought our circa 1940’s mid-rise condo in Cleveland Circle I worried aloud that the Boston College student population might present a noise problem. Sam’s quick reply summed up his personality perfectly:

“That’s city life William, never bothered me. That’s life happening”

We are sitting in a Mexican restaurant in Harvard Square deep into our fourth Margarita after the tux rental. Sam is talking and laughing about an unfortunate man we call “Monkey Boy”, because the hair on his neck does not stop to meet the hair on his back. He grabs a tortilla chip from a basket sitting on the bar next to him. “They leave these appetizers sitting out for bar patrons” he says while crunching down on the chip. I grab a chip and say “Very nice”. Sam laughs and spits out “You’re so fuckin’ gullible”. But that doesn’t stop us from eating someone else’s left over basket of chips.

We could stay out all night laughing and drinking, talking about Monkey boy and pointing out the other “team members” in the bar, but Sam looks at me and says “It’s a school night, William”.

Sam drives me home. As we cross over Comm Ave, a green line T passes into the city night. I am struck with a wave of sentiment for the home I’ve chosen. As the T screeches around the corner Sam says:

“Life Happening, my friend”

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