the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Please Come to Walgreen’s

“Please come to Walgreen’s with me and help me carry up a 24 pack of water on sale,” said my mother.

“I’m busy,” I replied.

For the first time in a long time, I wasn’t lying. I was finally out of my pajama bottoms and wearing real pants, even if they were unfashionably pleated, and seated at my desk, working on my laptop. Microsoft Excel was open and I was creating complex charts about “Female Bloggers I Would Shag if I Had the Opportunity To or If They Weren’t Married.” My research was going well, and the results were quite surprising. You would be astounded to learn how many of the obvious choices had to be filed away in the “Probably Too Much Trouble and Not Worth It” category.

So what finally motivated me to leave my bed after moping around for a week and start working like a responsible adult again? Like with many of us, it is music that inspired us. I dusted off all of my old LPs and cassettes, and replayed them, reminding myself of my youthful dreams and the themes that would haunt my consciousness over and over again.

It was in the middle of the 1970’s song, “Please Come to Boston” by Dave Loggins, that I had my eureka moment. I was in the middle of sobbing to the lyrics —

Please come to Boston for the springtime
I’m stayin’ here with some friends and they’ve got lots of room
You can sell your paintings on the sidewalk
By a café where I hope to be workin’ soon
Please come to Boston
She said no, would you come home to me

And she said, hey ramblin’ boy, why don’t you settle down
Boston ain’t your kind of town
There ain’t no gold and there ain’t nobody like me
I’m the number one fan of the man from Tennessee

Please come to Denver with the snowfall
We’ll move up into the mountains so far that we can’t be found
And throw “I love you” echoes down the canyon
And then lie awake at night till they come back around
Please come to Denver
She said no, boy, would you come home to me

{Refrain, with Denver}

Now this drifter’s world goes ’round and ’round
And I doubt that it’s ever gonna stop
But of all the dreams I’ve lost or found
And all that I ain’t got
I still need to cling to
Somebody I can sing to

Please come to LA to live forever
California life alone is just too hard to build
I live in a house that looks out over the ocean
And there’s some stars that fell from the sky
Livin’ up on the hill
Please come to LA
She just said no, boy, won’t you come home to me

{Refrain with LA can’t be…}

I’m the number one fan of the man from Tennessee

— when suddenly it occurred to me that this ridiculous, manipulative, “emo”-song that was emo before emo existed, was not about ME. I’m not a painter selling my work on the sidewalk. The only blogger I know really well in Boston is Miguelina, and she already has three kids, and since she went to that snooty Mighty Summit this year, she’s probably never going to say “Please come to Boston to me.” I’m far from a drifter. And the biggest difference of them all — I’m not from Tennessee! OK, I was there once, to visit Graceland, but still…

I turned off my turntable and decided to look towards the future. That’s when I make the decision to take action — to create an excel sheet about “Female Bloggers I Would Shag if I Had the Opportunity To or If They Weren’t Married.” Maybe it wasn’t a major step — like leaving the house and going to say, a museum, — but it was a start. A baby step.

Of course, this was all rudely interrupted by my mother with her selfish request for me to help her carry up 24 bottles of water from Walgreen’s. Hey, Mom, it’s not my fault you’ve gotten older!

My mother and I took the elevator to the lobby. I was wheeling “the wagon,” which would later help us carry the water down the block from Walgreen’s back home. As we stepped out of the apartment building, we noticed a NYPD car speed up in front of the mailbox. Two officer in well-pressed uniforms jumped out, ready for action. The headed for the front door of our apartment building, passing my mother, me, and our wagon.

Jose, the all-knowing super, was cutting the grass. He didn’t even look up.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Eh,” he answered, shrugging. Other tenants nonchalantly walked by the cops. It was as if no one cared. I turned to my mother.

“Doesn’t anyone blink an eye when a cop car speeds up and two cops enter the building? There could be a hostage situation!”

“Nah,” she said. “These guys are here every day. The woman in apartment 3B says the people in apartment 2B are smoking cigarettes and that the smoke is flying up and slowly killing her. So she calls the cops, saying that the other tenants should be arrested for attempted murder. The cops are forced to come because she calls them, and they always tell her the same thing — that it is legal for them to smoke in their own apartment so there is nothing they can do. She curses at them, then says she’s going to write a letter to the mayor and the New York Times.”

“She sounds a little batty. Do I know her?”

“Yes. She’s lived in the building for a long time. She’s the woman who used to be the crossing guard when you went to elementary school.”

“I always wondered what happened to her.”


  1. Heather

    there’s just something about Walgreen’s…

    …and retired crossing guards. Apparently.

  2. drlori71

    What’s most surprising about this post is that your mom buys bottled water. I figured she’d tell you that bottled water was too expensive and there’s nothing wrong with tap water. Guess I was wrong. 🙂

  3. Lauren

    Are you making this list to figure out your “type” ? Because I would have thought that a single straight man living in NYC would have women throwing their vaginas at him. You shouldn’t be making lists about shagging. You should be out. Shagging.*

    *But only when you’re ready. Personally I say you are well warranted some moping pyjama time

  4. lettergirl

    You know, the crazy lady would probably put out.

  5. karengreeners

    Are you going to publish the list?

  6. furiousball

    I once got busy in a Walgreen’s bathroom. Nah, but still.

  7. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

    I think the woman in that song is a real stick in the mud and the ramblin’ boy needs to blog about his adventures. He could call the blog, “More Than Just a Boy from Tennessee.”

  8. Violet

    I just found my way here via Poppy Buxom but I’m still wondering how to get on that list.

  9. unmitigated me (m.a.w.)

    I just got an email from Miguelina in Boston, and is she pissed at YOU!

  10. Lucy Cooper

    the jury has spoken Neil- we’re going to need to see the spreadsheet

  11. Finn

    Have I ever told you that I love the way your posts don’t really have a point but somehow manage to work anyway? Now I have.

    And I need to see this list too. Or have I been relagated to the “Probably Too Much Trouble and Not Worth It” category?

  12. Bill

    “Hey, Mom, it’s not my fault you’ve gotten older!”

    I used to think the same thing before I had kids, and now I realize it IS my kids’ fault I’m getting older. Good for you for helping her get the water.

  13. Miguelina

    Was this post some sort of “snob” test? I guess I’ve failed!

    (Does that mean I’m off your spreadsheet?)

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