Thursday, December 19, 2002

North End Moment XXXII
As I was walking back to the Scotch & Sirloin building after picking up lunch at Dino's, I was stopped by a man asking for directions. He needed to find a train station so he could take the T to East Boston. But what he really needed was a beer.

Today, the man had been released from prison. He had just served a two-month sentence for domestic assualt and battery. "Got into a fight with the wife," he said. Upon his release, he'd gone to a bank to withdraw some money, but then he got lost in the North End. And now, he needed a beer. "I was walking around, but every place I saw was some sort of fancy bistro."

When I began to describe how to get to a cozy, smoky, old-man dive bar past Haymarket behind the Union Oyster House, the man said, "You drink? Do you want to go get a beer?" I said no, that I couldn't, that I had to head back to work. When we got to North Washington Street, I decided that it'd be easier to point him toward North Station and the bars in that neighborhood -- like the Penalty Box, which might be open at this time of day. I also thought it might be better if he didn't see what building I worked in.

So we parted ways on North Washington Street. The man who'd just been released from prison heading to the Penalty Box for his beer. And I heading back to the Scotch & Sirloin building to eat my lunch... and write this.

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