Dr. W's Space Travels
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2021-05-05 01:11:00 (UTC)

Space Cadet Has the Best Day of His Life

Dr. Wood XXIX

So I meant to write more in my last entry, but I kinda just got distracted. Doesn’t matter now – I have to vent. I absolutely need to vent. But, not in the way one might guess. It is 1:34am right now, and I need to put these feelings on paper before I go to bed.

Today was one of the greatest days of my life.

I feel like I lived today, I really did. Let’s go over every single event today (this is gonna be a long paragraph). So just some context: I have off this week (this was my fourth day off), and I planned to go to Somerville today (after like a year and a half since the last trip). When I woke up, I checked the forecast for Somerville, and it was supposed to be cloudy all day, with some chance of precipitation and almost definitely some rain starting at 8pm. I started my day at 7am with a mint chocolate Larabar and gathered my things to head out. My drive was lovely – I jammed out the Aikatsu! Stars soundtrack that I’d downloaded to listen to for the first time. When I arrived in Somerville, I got a little lost, but made it to where I needed to be at around 9:30am. I paid for my parking, then began walking around the shopping area a bit. I found some neat little stickers posted in the alleyway (thus began my mad photographing). I hit up Lucid Coffee Co. (formerly Cheech’s Own), where I had a triple chocolate donut and a house drip coffee with whole milk. I sat down at one of the spots by the window and began writing postcards, including postcards for the Official Postcrossing site. I have NOT done that in ages! Got to see some really lovely profiles, and it felt so natural to write to all the prospective recipients. Also wrote some cards to friends I would normally correspond with – all while enjoying my sweet breakfast. The caffeine from the coffee seemed to give me the jolt I needed to finish 25 postcards! I Shazam’ed a few songs too, they really fit the morning atmosphere. Oh – and at this time, it was a bit cloudy, but there shone the sun on occasion, with a blue sky accompanying it within the cracks of the cloudy blanket.

Fast-forward to about 12:30pm when I headed over to Mike’s Courtside Kitchen, which I make a habit now to visit for lunch when I go to Somerville. I had a veggie deluxe quesadilla with some salsa, and a cup of water to drink. It was really good, had peppers, spinach, portobello mushrooms, etc. inside of it. The music there was lovely too, and I couldn’t help but smile and bob my head side to side to it. The weather also seemed to be clearing up a bit – wasn’t sure how long that would last, but it was nice to see! After my lovely meal, I decided to take a spontaneous walk down one of the sidewalks and back, looking around and enjoying the oddly sunny weather while I could. I then went to the main attraction of the day – the Yestercades of Somerville! This is like a mecca for me – being in that sacred place is like heaven. I played a couple of games for a bit: Frogger, Galaga, Dig-Dug, Gorf, etc. But one game I could not keep my hands off of – my bread and butter, Robotron. I ended up putting hours into that game, trying to see how high I could score. Actually, I ended up doing something kinda funny – I decided to start inputting my initials for high scores as the names of anime girls I know of. So now the top ten high scores for the day are for me (with my initials) and nine other waifus (using their names – I selected ones with three-letter first names). I was so proud of myself for nailing it after so much effort. Robotron might actually be my favorite game there – I’m surprised by how decent I am at it. That took me until about 6pm, which was the time I was hoping to stay there no longer than before going to dinner. And so, I went on my merry way to continue the day – I still had six hours of it left!

The weather was still really nice – honestly more sunny than cloudy! The wind was warm and felt so darn good, so I decided to sit at the town square (is it the town square? It’s got one of those large clocks in it so I figured it might be something to that effect) and enjoy reading some manga for a bit. I’d brought the first volume of Girls’ Last Tour with me, in case I wanted to take a break and read manga at some point. The anime was phenomenal, so I thoroughly enjoyed reading it as well. It looked like it was going to rain, so I was a bit worried about my book getting wet, but it never did, and thus the weather continued to be lovely. Before dinner, I decided to go shopping for a bit. I went to House of Jerky to pick up some Mothers’ Day gifts for my mom to give to her on this coming Sunday – bought some mako shark jerky and some other high quality-lookin’ beef jerky. Then I went to Retro Classics Video Games and bought Bayonetta 2 for the Wii U and a few capsule toys. I ended up getting a Mobile Suit Gundam head and two My Hero Academia miniatures (Todoroki and All Might). The clerk noticed my shirt (I was wearing a Gauntlet shirt my friend had gotten me for Christmas) and made a comment about how awesome the game was, so we briefly began conversing over it (particularly over Gauntlet: Dark Legacy, which is the shizz). After putting all my stuff into my car, I finally put thought into dinner.

I had already eaten at Kuay Tiew Noodles and King Tut, so I decided to give Sushi Yokohama a try. Boy was I so right to give that a shot. First of all, after I’d gotten seated, someone else noticed my shirt and struck up a conversation with me. We talked about Gauntlet and then kinda just introduced ourselves (though I didn’t catch his name, rats). He told me he was with his wife who had arrived from Texas, and they were kinda on a date to see how things stood (I don’t know how to word this – he said divorce was a possibility so I guess the date was to… retest the waters?) He told me he worked on a medical marijuana farm in Oklahoma as well. We talked about how cool Somerville and Pennsylvania were, and it felt very natural just to converse like that (which isn’t always the case for me). When my food arrived – oh, I didn’t mention what I ordered. I ordered vegetable yaki udon with a house special sushi roll. Oh my word… the udon plate was piled pretty heavily and the sushi looked amazing. And it all tasted SUPERB! The udon especially had that fresh-off-the-hibachi-grill flavor – oh my gosh it was so good. It was then that I realized how happy I was, and had been the whole day. I told myself “I don’t want this moment to end”, and took every bite slowly and deliberately. Spent nearly an hour on dinner, savoring each taste and feeling as I could. The atmosphere was so nice – loved the color scheme of the place and the Japanese décor. It was getting dark outside, but there were no signs of rain. 8pm had passed – still no rain. I felt hopeful.

Despite being full, I went to Grumpy Bobas and had a jasmine green milk tea… with boba, of course. I could modify the amount of sugar in it, per the clerk – so I went with 25% sugar. It was really good! Tasted healthy, if that makes sense. I took a stroll alongside the road, to areas of Somerville I hadn’t visited before. Passed by the Somerset Courthouse, then sat on one of the benches by a war memorial, across from the Salted Lime Bar & Kitchen (I just remember that being there). As I drank my tea, I took in the feeling of the air. It was the perfect amount of breeze, and it felt so refreshing. The murmur of goings on was so sweet to the ear, and the lights contrasting the night sky were a sight to behold. I then headed back to the main shopping strip, finished my tea, and began round two of Yestercades. Of course, I checked to make sure no one had disrupted my top ten high scores – surely enough, I was still the shizz at that game and had not been topped. I played through the one Simpsons arcade game they had there (which was reminiscent of my days at roller skating rinks, playing that game as a kid). Played a few other games, then hopped on the Gamecube and played WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Games! (That exclamation point is part of the title, though my enthusiasm level is concurrent with it.) That game was so fun and reminded me a lot of WarioWare: Touched! for the Nintendo DS. Played through and beat one of the game modes, and of course praised myself for doing so. Gotta do that as a gamer. For that last half hour (11:30pm at this point), I just kinda walked around and admired the atmosphere of Yestercades. It’s such an 80s/90s-rooted place, and yet so modern. They have a TON of retro bric-a-brac on display and whatnot – could comfortably spend an hour just looking at all the machines and stuff there. The fans were blowing a bunch, which felt really good as I walked around. I remember thinking that it was heaven for me, that I could simply live there and be beside myself with joy. I WAS beside myself with joy. I wanted to pirouette. I wanted to embrace the scene. I wanted to hold on to the moment. It was amazing to kinda re-realize that feeling from so long ago.

Once I pried myself from the premises of Yestercades, it was completely dark out… but without any rain. It had not rained once since I’d gotten there. I was once again overjoyed by how amazing the weather turned out. To conclude my trip, I took one last walk around the area, stopping briefly to admire the displays through the window of Crystal Palace. Then in the main shopping strip – where there was once the steady hum of the bustle of people – I stood, taking in the moment. There was no one else – it was completely empty. The lights were still on in most of the stores, though all were closed. The air felt temperate and cool, with a slight breeze. I stood in the middle of the strip, feeling the vastness of my surroundings. I was alone, but I felt like I had everything. I told myself that I could freeze time right then and there. That as long as I stood in that strip, I could let that moment last forever. Just me, in my Gauntlet shirt, khakis I wore at my aunts’ wedding, Nike shoes, and grey hoodie… making a simple yet sublime scene last eternally. At some point, I headed off in the direction of the parking lot and stood leaning against the back of my truck. And I took in the moment once more. I engaged all of my senses: the sight of the lights and buildings with few to no people around; the taste of the stale gum in my mouth; the crisp smell of the air; the coolness of the gentle breeze; the sound of cars passing in the distance and faint buzzing of lights. It moved me to tears. It brought me back to one other time that such a moment happened, which was when I was in Japan, lying back-down on the ground, looking up at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. It was actually VERY similar to that moment. Just letting the bigness of everything encapsulate me for that period of seemingly endless time. Just me, standing with my back against my car, letting the wind pass over me as I kept my hands in my pockets and my eyes on nothing in particular. I felt alive. I felt like I was living. I knew I had done more that day than par for the course on my Somerville trips. I felt like I had lived.

The last cherry on top that caused the tears to happen was continuing to listen to the Aikatsu! Stars soundtrack on the way back. My favorite song on it – Miracle Force Magic – came on all of a sudden, and it just felt so serendipitous. As I lip-synced my way back home, I felt a sensation like no other. It was the same kind of general feeling as being rage-induced – but with ecstasy. I was throwing a fit of happiness. Does that even make sense? Is that supposed to even happen? I couldn’t believe how amazing my day had gone. I called it a perfect day. The weather turned out immaculate, despite what the forecast called for. I remembered thinking that morning that I should postpone my trip to Thursday instead of Tuesday in anticipation of more favorable weather. I was so, so glad that I decided not to do that. It was a surreal experience, from the moment I left home to the moment I returned.

Today was a perfect day. And I still have five more days of my vacation to enjoy. I’m not even halfway done with it yet. But today… today was like an eternity of enjoyment. I’m planning on returning to Somerville when I have my week off in June… which will only have been a monthlong wait, so I’m a bit reluctant on it (don’t wanna spoil the incredible experience). But we’ll see what happens when we get there. For now… I’m just going to bask in how amazing this day has been. And I’ll be so bold as to say, I will never, ever forget it.