Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Rock Lobstah

My face is really really red. Like boiled lobster red. And I'm pretty sure I've never been more tired. OK, maybe that one time.... no, I'm more tired right now. But happy. Nothing like being sunburned, exhausted and happy.

Today my family participated in a voluntary activity called the Nametag Project. We went to Fenway Park and handed out thousands of name tags, each one custom printed by us with the person's name. Today was Name Tag day at Fenway, a community sponsored event to try and promote friendship and harmony in a rather difficult summer of violence and discord. By handing out name tags, people were able to say Hi to each other by name, thus reducing the alienation that being in a huge crowd of people tends to foster.

We got to the park well before 11 am, and went through a short training with the team leaders on how to approach game attendees and how to put off all questions regarding the project to the press liaison. We got name tags for ourselves (3 each) and a clipboard filled with sheets of name tags and a nice red sharpie. Then our team headed out to our particular corner, up Brookline Ave above the Cask and Flagon and going towards Kenmore Square.

We had to fan out at least 10 feet apart, and approach all the people as they walked towards the ball park from the Subway. Ours was one of the busiest corners due to the Subway traffic, and we had crowds pouring towards us for hours.

Interestingly, we appeared to be on the short stretch of road I have now named Scalpers Row. There were so many scalpers and I got myself a real education on how scalping works. I even had to break up a fight between a group of scalpers that was going to turn really nasty right in front of young kids. They were pretty nice about leaving once I pointed out the small children surrounding their screaming of obscenities at each other. Very exciting.

We met so many people, but the best fun was being able to greet people by name as they walked by. There were 180 volunteers spread all around Fenway, and of those there was a full team up ahead of us, so many folks were already tagged. It was hilarious saying hello to complete strangers and having them come back and say in their thick Boston accents, "Hello Margalit'sRealName" back at me. I talked to a lot of people who wanted to know just what the Nametag project was about, and several said, "Oh, it's just for city people then" to which I responded "No, we don't live in the city either." I think people seem to have categorized violence as only happening in the inner city, but they're very wrong. It's everywhere.

It was well over 90 degrees outside and we were in direct sunlight the whole time, about 4 hours. We brought our own water bottles, but I drank up mine and then poured in more water several times. I was so dehydrated by the time we passed in our clipboards that every muscle in my body was cramping.

After we were done, the volunteers were invited to Game On, a sports bar right by Fenway. I am almost embarrassed to admit this, but this was the first time I'd ever been in a sports bar. We ate snacks and watched the first couple of innings of the game, and then tried to head home.

But I forgot where I parked and both kids had totally different opinions on where the car was. Turned out I was right but off by a block, and both kids were dead wrong. Phew. There are so few handicapped spaces that I just asked a policeman where the handicapped spaces are on a one way street, and there the car was! Phew.

Even with a lot of SPF 45 I'm going to be hurting tonight. The Boy used sunscreen too, and is fine. The Girl refused, but she has that olive complexion that tans and never burns. I hate her.

There was an official photographer for the event, and when he uploads his photos to the net, I'll add some to this post. As for now, I'm going to sleep on the sofa in front of the AC turned up on high.

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Blogger TX Poppet said...

How cool is this?! What a great project! I suspect though that most of the participants were not "city people". As any one who has ever driven is Boston can tell you, those folks don't stop for anything! Still, can't think of any city tat could use this project more. KUDOS!

15/7/07 5:42 PM  
Blogger Rhea said...

That's great that you were part of the Nametag Project. The man who started it is from my hood -- Jamaica Plain. I know him. It's a good way to get people to be friendly with each other.

15/7/07 7:12 PM  
Blogger Major Bedhead said...

What a cool project!!

Have you tried aloe on your burns? You'd probably hate me, too - I have an olive complexion that just gets more and more tan as the summer wears on. Sometimes my nose burns....I'll shut up now.

15/7/07 11:57 PM  
Blogger PinksandBluesGirls said...

I think that's a fantastic idea!

Do you remember that Seinfeld episode when Elaine had the idea to give everyone in the city name tags? (It was the infamous "non-fat" frozen yogurt episode.) Kind of reminded me of that! :)

I burn easily, too. And I'm 1/2 Portuguese, so it really makes me mad that I am so fair-skinned! Unfair!

Jane, Pinks & Blues Girls

16/7/07 9:01 PM  

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