The Great Colonial Shutdown

17 Oct

BEFORE YOU BEGIN READING, let me note that I wrote this post BEFORE the Government Shutdown ended. Okay, you may continue.

Over the long weekend, I decided to go home to Concord for a night to see my family and to play the “I’m just a hardworking, exhausted college student in need of ten pounds of some fabulous pasta, a shit ton of Netflix, and some really strong detergent for my unspeakably filthy (from STUDYING) clothes” card.

And man, did I play it well.

When I wasn’t stuffing my face with homemade seasonal favorites, or telling my dad that he “shouldn’t wash my clothes because I’ll definitely get around to them…tomorrow,” I did manage to frolic in town for a bit…

And by “frolic” I mean I stuffed my face with restaurant-made seasonal favorites and bought some new clothes so I could further separate myself from the laundry room.

When I was done eating and shopping, I happened to stumble upon the most exciting thing to happen in Concord since the library extended its hours:


Yes, my friends. That is a man and his carriage.

For those of you who don’t know about Concord, MA – the home of the Revolutionary War and Henry David Thoreau and those really yummy grapes –let me explain.

Concord is the kind of town where you can find people casually walking through the center dressed in colonial garb and driving giant horse-drawn contraptions. Juxtaposed with these fine folk from the old country might be some nice looking, modern day people drinking their coffees and engaging in genuine conversation with the colonial people. If you walk by one of these interactions, you are likely to hear questions such as, “Where can I find a good top hat? Mine is so faded…” and, “That’s a nice mare you have, there. Strong and sturdy, like a good ale.”

(Admittedly, I’m not sure these tidbits accurately represent all Concordian conversations… I’m also realizing that “ale” seems like more of an Irish thing than a Colonial trademark, but we’ll go with it.)

Anyway, you can imagine how the combination of colonial garb AND a horse-drawn carriage would be very over stimulating. I joined about twenty other onlookers in watching the man and his horse for an unnecessarily long period of time.

All of the excitement had me feeling really warm and homey.

Isn’t it great that I can openly stroll by this horse and take a picture without having to worry about my camera being stolen, or getting hit by an aggressive biker, or reviewing and mentally preparing my “city safety skills” checklist? I thought.

Aren’t I so lucky to come from a place where the telegram reigns supreme and where the citizens think “iPhone” is a grammatically incorrect way of saying “my phone”? I mused.

Is someone going to clean up that horse poo? Because it’s wafting… I observed.

These were all the pleasant thoughts I had before my family and I decided to go “hiking” on the Minuteman Trail and stumbled upon THIS:




Yes, that is correct. The Government Shutdown has made its mark on Concord and is prohibiting physical activity in nature.

(Okay, let me just interject here and say that I am aware the Shutdown is affecting people everywhere, and in more severe ways than closing down hiking trails. But in the name of humor, please humor me.)

When I first saw that the parking lot was marked off, I was initially relieved because hey, why would I actively work my glutes when I could sit them down on a worn leather couch and watch the Kardashians eat mammoth salads on a big screen TV?

But then I realized that the Government Shutdown was to blame, and I was not having that.

Me to the Shutdown (in Don Corleone’s voice from The Godfather): “You come into my town. You shut down my hiking trails. You prohibit the toning and shaping of my glutes…”

…Because that’s how the Shutdown made me feel – like an old, gruff mafia man who’d been asked to commit murder on the day of his daughter’s wedding.

I mean, come on, government! Can’t you see that we Concordians are just trying to live out our 1800s fantasy and don’t appreciate you poking our bubble with your pointy shards of reality? Get it together, reopen the trails, and let us wear frocks and chaps in peace.

My family and I knew we had to retaliate. Instead of putting a horse’s head in someone’s bed, however, we opted to walk up and down the trail for several hours. And I may or may not have allowed our dog to leave a little present on the trail (twice).

Because not even Boehner could hate this face:


I bet the shutdown would end if we just stormed the Capital with puppies and forced each congressman/woman to hold a furry friend for an undisclosed amount of time…

In case anyone asks, that is my official policy recommendation.

Ps. After writing this post, Ms. Spiers was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts in “Operation Fuzzy Friend,” to which President Obama officially credited the end of the Shutdown. Ms. Spiers now resides on a private island in the Pacific, where she practices her Don Corleone impressions and works tirelessly to further bridge the gap between house pets and government.

Do YOU have thoughts on the Shutdown or puppies or colonial garb that you want to discuss? Comment below:

14 Responses to “The Great Colonial Shutdown”

  1. debtnthecity October 20, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

    I love Concord!! We once ate at the Colonial Inn for my mom’s birthday. Did you know that place is haunted??? You probably do, since you’re a local. We also have something else in common… hint, do you recognize the gown in my profile picture? Go Terriers! 😉

    • sophpearl October 20, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

      Wow, such a small world! After reading your first post, I was actually wondering if BU was your alma mater…the numbers seemed familiar 🙂 And I have heard that about the Colonial Inn being haunted! Although I’ve never been inside…seeing a Concord ghost is probably something I should do as a “right of passage” kind of thing. Thanks for reading!

      • debtnthecity October 20, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

        Small world is exactly what I thought when I saw your “About Me” section. Good luck with school and I hope the wind tunnels of Comm Ave are not too bad this winter 🙂

      • sophpearl October 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

        Thanks so much! And judging by how windy it is today, I’m not too confident about winter :/ But I’ll be studying abroad in Geneva, so I’ll be windy in Europe! Which somehow seems more exciting 🙂

  2. lornalikiza October 19, 2013 at 7:21 am #

    I like how you speak about your town. makes me want to visit. Anyway, i’ll tell you a little bit about my home town in Kenya. It’s called Nakuru and is home to the nakuru national park and flamingoes on the lake nakuru though they have been a little on the decrease off late. There is also the menengai crater. All things geographical.I think the one thing that reminds us of the colonial times are the British style buildings still in very good shape in the town center. Notably the building which houses the KCB bank Kenyatta avenue branch. I wish i had a photo of it to show you how it looks. We haven’t really had a government shutdown in Kenya in the recent past. Probably the only thing we are experiencing now is excess taxation. Suddenly things seem so expensive. Anyway, you won’t hear any of those kinda colonial type conversations you mentioned about. Most probably you will be met by very friendly people who want to cash in on the tourists who really frequent our town.

    • sophpearl October 20, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

      The geography of your town sounds so beautiful! I wish we had flamingos in Concord. That is interesting about the taxation – I wonder why it has increased so suddenly? Thank you for sharing about Kenya! It sounds like such an interesting place – I hope to be a tourist there one day!

      • lornalikiza October 28, 2013 at 8:55 am #

        very welcome. Actually the heavy taxation is because we are trying to pay off our debts. African countries rely so much on foreign aid for infrastructure and stuff like that.

  3. lameadventures October 18, 2013 at 3:51 am #

    My colleague, Godsend, who was visiting DC for the first time at the start of the shutdown was psyched to tour the Smithsonian. That didn’t happen. This entire shutdown was just pointless, the GOP look like imbeciles and they made the US appear extremely dysfunctional to the rest of the world. I think what each member deserves is not to cuddle with a sweet pooch but to get a box of pooch deposit — in solid, not liquid, because that lump of stink symbolizes exactly what they are. And Ted Cruz deserves Great Dane-sized.

    • sophpearl October 18, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

      An inspired idea! Shall we spearhead Operation Doo Doo? “Calling all dogs with something to share…”

      That’s too bad about Godsend. I completely agree with your stance – it was a ridiculous couple of weeks. And while I’m relieved the shutdown has ended, I still feel that lingering sense of shock and shame…hence the dogs 🙂

      • lameadventures October 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

        I feel disgust. This fix sounds temporary so we could boomerang right back to this same dysfunctional place in early 2014.

  4. Mike G. October 17, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    As a federal employee who was directly affected by the nonsense emanating from inside The Beltway, my only observation is that I’m glad the Republican leadership apparently listened to Audrey from Pitch Perfect when she said, “get your head out of your ass…it’s not a hat!”

    BTW I also hailed from the Bay State back in the day–WMass, though. No accent.

    • sophpearl October 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

      A quote to live by, from a movie to study! I’m in an all female a cappella group at BU, so I can relate to any and all Pitch Perfect references.Especially when they pertain to the government.

      And once a Bay Stater, always a Bay Stater. I don’t have an accent, but I kind of wish I did..Western MA is beautiful, though!

      • Mike G. October 21, 2013 at 3:47 am #

        An all female a Capella group…I hope they weren’t called The Minstrel Cycles

      • sophpearl October 22, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

        Luckily not! Our name is Aural Fixation, so perhaps equally “punny.”

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