The second that COVID-19 hit and things started closing down, most people worried about necessities. People stocked up on food and toilet paper, expecting the worst and holing up in their houses for the onslaught of disease to pass. What haunted me, however (as it does to many people in a normal year) was the DMV. Before I could complete my road test, all of the sites shut down, which left me licenseless and housebound all quarantine. Thus, when I came to UR, I wanted to be free to roam as I pleased (in as socially distanced a manner as possible). In came my boys.
There was Edward, with his thick Northeastern accent and bellowing Brooklyn man laughter that suited his radio comedy side gig better than any tailored outfit. Edward, I fondly remember you for both the photos of your cute baby grandson, and also the feeling of intense unease I got when you flexed about the time you got a DUI as we drove over the bridge to campus.
There was Anthony, from Buffalo, who got “a little turned around” while trying to find me. When he did, immediately made a three-point turn in the middle of the street to get to me (chivalry at its finest, truly). His immaculate music taste, which consisted of 2pac and 2pac alone, was accompanied by his alluring unpackaging and inhaling of a full bag of Bugles at 60mph. His method acting of an imaginary right-winger who once accosted him in the supermarket was impressive, but it was the sharpest left turn I have ever felt that really took my breath away. Did I have my hand on the door handle the entire time? Yes. Did I wish it was entwined with his instead? That’s a secret I’ll never tell.
There was Ernest, who had a seatbelt cover that looked like a cross between snakeskin and human flesh and talked about horses with my friends as we cruised off into the sunset together. When he played “Time of Our Lives” by Pitbull and Ne-Yo, I felt like a little kid again (considering the song is from the early 2010s, that checks out). His driving was smooth, but not nearly as smooth as his line about Verizon Wireless: “Boy, that sure is a place!”
Finally, there was Robert. Oh, Robert. He was supposed to pick me up outside of a Subway, but instead he pulled down the entire parking lot to rest kitty-corner to the Moe’s. My feet ached as much as my heart did as I ran to flag him down. His big blue Ford truck with spacious, yet somehow simultaneously crowded, seats made me feel at home, and the interior smelled like 70 years of cigars filtered through the barrel of a rifle (the musk of a true hunk). He was the first man to make me realize that an entire outfit of varying camouflage patterns could be attractive, as well as the first man to outright deny the existence of COVID-19 to my face while still wearing a mask.
Here’s to you, boys. Thank you for serving our streets and for bringing a light to my life. I will never forget you.