Thursday, July 16, 2009

The F*ck-It List Part Deux: Baseball, Beer, and Blackouts

In case you missed it:
The F*ck-It List Part One: Summer of Redesign

Like two kids who were going to Disney for the very first time, Alicia and I barely slept. In fact, we met up so early that I think we even beat the Dunkin Donuts guy to work. One train and two cab rides later (it’s a long story…) we ended up at LaGuardia’s Shuttle Terminal. By all appearances, the terminal was in need of some major updates and didn’t exactly instill a sense of confidence in their flying abilities. In fact, I was beginning to have flash backs of that South Park episode when they’re flying to Canada to get Ike back. Regardless, we boarded our plane and an hour or so later, we touched down in Boston.

By ten thirty, Alicia and I were out in our weekend best, and ready to take on the city of Boston. Earlier in the day we had begun a scavenger hunt of things we wanted to do or take pictures of while we were in the city. You know - a group of sailors (that I’m pretty sure spoke zero English), a Yankees fan brave enough to wear their colors in rival territory, and a midget. If he’s foreign, we got bonus points. We accomplished half of it even before we reached Faneuil Hall, where we parked ourselves on some prime people watching seats at the Salty Dog. I ordered my usual water and Chicken meal, to which Alicia snubbed her nose at.

“Sterg, come on. You’re on vacation. Live a little.”

She was right. For those of you that don’t know me on a personal level and from what you read in my blogs, I maybe drink once a month. And when I do, I’m like a kid at Guitar Hero; I achieve straight rock-star status. I just try to do all things in moderation. That, and I’ve honestly been too busy to deal with the repercussions that come with a long night out. But Alicia did have a point, I was on a quasi-vacation, and in the city of Boston no less. To not have a drink it seems would be almost sacrilegious. And so we ordered up the first of many rounds of the day. This would not end well.

Alicia handed me her fork from across the table with some odd smelling breaded substance on it.
“What the hell is that?”

“Just eat it .. you’ll like it.”

“Right, that’s what he said. No way dude, that looks like fish. I don’t do fish. You know what I say, if it lives in the sea, it ain’t for me.”

“First of all it’s not a fish. It’s a Mollusk. Two… Come on, honestly. You’re not eight years old anymore; you can’t snub your nose at the finer things in life just because they might have a little seafood in them.”

I grimaced, but took her fork from her just in an effort to shut her up. I closed my eyes, took the bite, and marinated on it for a second. I then swallowed it as fast as humanly possible before opening my eyes. Much to my surprise, I was still alive. I had just tried clam “whatever the hell it was.” Now where was that barf bag?

About midway through lunch, I looked down to find my phone flashing with a New Message. I guess this is the part where I should probably fess up: I was meeting up with the Perfect Stranger. Yep, remember him from about two months ago? Well, as tough as our schedules are to coordinate, he had somehow ended up in Boston for the weekend, and my shoots had been postponed. So I figured… “What the hell, we’re only young once right?? Road trip.” (It also didn’t hurt that I had business in the area to tend to either, but we will skip that part for the sake of not ruining the party.)

The Stranger wouldn't be alone. We had each brought along our own teammates to keep things fair and less awkward. He brought along his best buddy, the Wingman, whom I had explained to Alicia was quite man-pretty, but had one giant flaw: He had the same name as her ex that had sent us on this journey in the first place. Besides that, if you want the real truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? The Wingman and I had met on less than great terms, mainly because he hadn't been too fond of some of my business associates, and the feeling had definitely been mutual.

When we stepped off the elevator at the top of the Prudential Center, there stood the Stranger, flanked by the Wingman, and several others. I didn't know the rest of the group, but the introductions certainly didn't take long. In fact, they welcomed us to their group with open arms. I found out one was a native Bostonian, and in charge of planning the day’s festivities for the group. And the other, a retired soccer player, who was still built like an ox even though his playing days had ended.

The entire group was hysterically funny, except for the Stranger who would interject every now and then, but more so just seemed to be taking in the situation and watching the interactions around him. Much to my surprise, it was the Wingman who impressed me and dare I say grew on me during our afternoon festivities. How on earth was this the same guy I met two months ago with his buddy in Indy?.. Sure, there had been plenty of alcohol flowing that weekend (on his end not mine), and he didn’t know me from Adam, but this time he was a whole different person. Now that he knew I was one of them, I saw him in an entirely new light. He was funny, charming, and surprisingly considerate. How on earth had I gotten such a bad vibe our first meeting? I felt like such a fool for having such awful impressions of him. Even better, he and Alicia seemed to really be having a blast too.

As we parted from our afternoon of sight-seeing and drinks, the boys headed off to go shopping, while Alicia and I retreated for a power nap. As usual, it looked like Alicia and I weren’t even the ladies of the group. The plans were to meet up sometime around 6pm and head over to Fenway. I was beyond ecstatic. Ever since I was little it seems, my Dad had always made it a point to take me a ball game when we were out of town, on vacation, on work, whatever. In the past few years especially, it has definitely become one of our bonding rituals. I had seen the ivy on the outfield fence at Wrigley, and Monument Park of the old Yankees, but I had never seen the Green Monster live and in person. So to say I was a little giddy would have been an understatement.

Of course, I still had my poker face on as we walked the last few blocks to the stadium. I’m a big proponent of having to act like I have “been there,” but sometimes I just can’t help it. Moving through the sea of Sox fans, we stopped along the way so the Stranger could buy a hat. The two of us perused through their selection before he finally settled on his choice. Then he turned to me.

“Yeah, you definitely need a hat too. Which one are we getting?..”

Really?.. The stranger was going to buy me a hat?.. As dumb as it seems, I am not really the type of girl to want or ask for much. I’ve just always been a huge fan of the “little things.” So often guys will make these huge grand gestures to win girls affections, when in reality most of us would just be happy to know you were thinking about us for a split second out of your day. I guess that’s because in my ripe old age I’ve discovered that sometimes it’s the little things that people do for one another that seem to really mean the most. Maybe that, or I’m just a huge romantic sucker. Regardless, I guess the Stranger was right. The natives here were awfully restless and I was about to step foot in their house, so I had to do my best to dress the part and blend in. I found an old vintage beat up hat that was just my size, and put it on over my loose curls and sunglasses. I looked up to the Stranger for approval to which he nodded. I’ve always loved how I looked in baseball hats (maybe because they camouflage the “five head” I sport nicely) which is why I wear one pretty much a daily basis. Now, I was dressed and ready for action.

The six of us made it down to our seats: Not too high, not too low… and unfortunately very close to the nearest beer stand. The Stranger and I ended up sitting next to one another, while Alicia and the Wingman ended up on the end of the row. I often bitch about being short and the fact it forces me to wear shoes that would make even the Spice Girls shake their heads, but being pocket-sized does sometimes have its advantages. And in old stadiums like Fenway, the advantage became completely obvious. Alicia and I seemed to be the only ones who didn’t have problems fitting into our seats. The guys on the other hand looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger sitting down in a plastic chair for show & tell in Kindergarten Cop. So, having the clear advantage, I scooted over best I could and gave up my leg room.

Throughout the game, the Stranger and I would bump knees and such the way two kids on a playground would harass one another. I know, we’re real mature. We’d sing along to the songs on the loudspeakers, and even befriended the guy sitting in the row next to us, who eerily resembled the kid Short Round from the Indiana Jones movie. It wasn’t until the 4th inning or so that things turned a little serious.

“Just curious.. but why do you blog so much?” he asked. “I mean, isn’t it a little weird putting it all out there for people. I mean, I kinda prefer my privacy. Especially when it comes to dating.”

“I dunno, I’ve been doing it since I was in college. People were like, she always writes about sports. She loves sports; she must be the perfect girl. So why is she still single?.. So one day, I decided to open up and write about some things that were going on in my personal life, and people seemed to really relate. I feel like if I give people a glimpse into what I am really feeling and seeing.. and what my life is really like.. not all push up bras and cowboy hats, maybe people will get to see the real me and not be so quick to pass judgment. Besides I never out the people I am talking about. I write the story as it happened, or as much as I can, while keeping the people I care about safe, regardless of my standing with them.”

“That’s true but.. it's just.. Jenn, I think you’re an amazing girl.. you have so much depth but no one gets to see it because you’re so guarded and worried about everyone having preconceived notions of you.”

“Yeah, I guess,” I said as I tilted down the brim of my hat and stared out into the eyes of the monster. “I’ve just always thought that if people are going to go around talking crap, I might as well make sure the truth is out there at there if they want it. Plus, I’m just.. I’ve just never been the type that was good with words. When given the opportunity to say something brilliant whether at work or to a guy I like.. nine times out of ten I will probably put my foot in my mouth. That’s why I write: there is always a backspace key, a second chance.. hell.. as many chances as I want to get it right. Besides, blogging is my therapy. If more people put down their thoughts on paper, psychologists would probably be out of work.”

Just then, the crack of the bat brought the two of us back to our reality. We jumped from our seats, just in time to watch David Ortiz’s ball sail into the depths of the outfield, and over the Green Monster. The crowd erupted with applause and cheering as our row did our own victory dance, with high fives all around. I’m pretty sure I even gave Shorty one too. The rest of the game went by rather slowly, because at this point we had two games going on: the one on the field, and musical chairs for bathrooms and beer. We stayed until just after the 7th inning stretch or so. Long enough to sway to take me out to the ball game and of course some Sweet Caroline. Bah.. Bah.. Bah..

As we walked down the ramps and exited Fenway, Perfect Stranger grabbed my arm to steady me in my four inch heels. But when we got to the bottom something weird happened.. He didn't let go. Walking through the streets, through a sea of curious onlookers, where some guys would have retracted, he didn't. I looked down, and PS's hand was in mine. I really couldn't help but smile.

Most of us hadn't eaten since noon, and were starved to say the least. Me on the other hand? Not so much. Still, we ended up at a restaurant, seated around a giant circular table. The guys had me in absolute stitches as they did things with breadsticks that would make the girlier kind of girls blush. But not Alicia and me. Instead we dove right down into the gutter with them, until we were practically falling out of the booth in laughter. Maybe it was the ballpark beer, or perhaps those wonderful butterflies I hadn't felt in so long, but the food as delicious as it appeared really had no appeal to me. So I really just sat and drank and reveled in the great company. This was probably the fatal error of my evening.

And then the screen went to black.

(End Transmission)


Dave Hogg said...

This was probably the fatal error of my evening.

And then the screen went to black.

A brilliant job of leaving the audience hanging, waiting for Part III.

Veritas said...

Having fun, going to see new things and meet new people....what else can a person ask for?!
So you don't like fish?! Seeing how healthy you look I'm quite surprised about that, but that's just you, with your likes and deslikes and I'm not the one to judge you for it.
Now Alicia was 100% right, when traveling if you don't have a little adventure spirit you're going to lose all the fun, although the barf bag stuff I think you could have leave out.
So, the Stranger wingman surprised you!
That happens more offen than you think, many people that you may have had a first bad impression if you had the chance to really know them you would discover that in some cases the first impression was the wrong impression; you should know that better then anyone, allot of the people saying bad stuff about you if they had the chance to really know you, they would most likely chance their minds.
That's one of the reasons I take my time getting to know new people because usually if we hurry up things or maybe because we are not in the mood we end up making bad decisions.
Now the stranger really could have done is homework, asking you why you blog so much, if he had taken the time to read through them he would have found the answer written by you; unless he thought there was a deep dark reason behind it all or and I'm going on a long shoot it was his way of getting to know you better.
But at least you and Alicia are enjoying your travels together and things seem to be ok and in the end that is the most important thing of all.
Like Abraham Lincoln once said "The best part of anyones life its the friendships each one of us have"

The MTV FAMILY said...

The Wingman totally read everything on you're blog knowing the JS handbook by heart....Not to say that his gesture of buying you a hat was sincere, but I have literally 500 hats in my collection and I always buy hats for my wife, kid, siblings, anyone who's with me. In my book ahhhhhhhh.....I'm on the fence with that one but when you're life is an open book it's going to be easier to try and play it cool. Anyway I think you asked for the masses to be nice!!!!

If he was a gentleman in Part III then I can cut him some slack because if he was holding the bucket or the barf bag without making advances then maybe the wingman from Indy (right?) has some potential. Then again this can only go down 1 of 3 ways. She shoots he scores or vice versa. Sterg on the bowl with the kick save...... or #3 your wing girl took care of you....

#4 would have been anyone under a buck 20 without eating anything should have put the brakes on you if they really had that radar but he knows from reading you haven't really scored in a minute....

I'm on like part 6 of this damn blog/madness.... screen....


Doug said...

I know for me, when my work and personal life are out of balance, day to day life falls in a rut that you can't seem to escape. It's fantastic to hear that you've found a "partner in crime" to hang with in Alicia. You were definitely due for a swing in the positive direction in your personal life and hopefully this starts to balance things out for you.

Regardless of how things turn out with the Stranger, you had a wonderful time that particular evening and I think that is what you needed the most at that particular time. It's great when you have that euphoric, butterfly feeling after not having it in a while. It makes you feel refreshed, energized and alive. It's good to see that Sterg is getting her grove back.