2008-04-03 - 11:29 a.m.
Kevin got tickets to the Orioles game last night and so four of us went. It was the smallest crowd in the stadium's 17-year history. I read in the paper today that the crowd was something like 11,000. There were a lot, a lot of empty green seats. It was cold. DY didn't wear a coat and bought a hoodie from the concessions for $56. I spent a lot of money on baseball stuff: a program, beer in plastic bottles, a hot dog, some peanuts. One of the advantages of having so few people sitting around you is that your field of vision is not limited. You can check in on other fans ten rows away or even whole sections away. In the first inning, a young married couple walked in a little late and were threading through the sections and handrails, trying to find their seats. There was a foul ball. Everyone around us rose. I followed the ball down, out of the black sky, the ball supremely white because of the stadium's mega-lights. The ball was not coming to us, but maybe six rows to our right, toward home plate. Following the ball down, following it down, and then PLUNK. The woman had held out her baby carrier/baby carseat thing and caught the foul ball in it. And I'm thinking, whaa? And then I look to her husband, about my age, and he's got their infant hugged close in one of those baby carrier slings that goes around the chest, like a reverse backpack. And all hundred fifty of us watching this foul ball had the same reaction: whaa? And, then, a second later, oh, there's no baby in there. And then we all smiled and clapped and when I saw them at the end of the game, as they were leaving and as I was heading back in after a trip to the men's room, I said, "Nice catch" to the woman and she stopped what she was saying to her husband and said, "Thanks."
And then this morning. What is it about that sweet and sad music? The stuff that swells like the tide and turns over on itself like a big soft mess of dough. I was listening to Jon Brion's song "Here We Go" this morning and it's a simple piano song but also big overlaid strings and horns and his sad boy-man voice. And when, at the end, he says, "Because someone can say, 'Hello, you old so-and-so,'" something about that phrase "so-and-so," the old-timey-ness of it, filled me with the delicious sadness. It's like poking a bruise, or running your fingers over a healed scab, maybe. Driving south on I-95, big trucks hauling big things feet from my windows, his strings and horns and sad-guy singing, his "you old so-and-so," it made me feel like I was in a short story from the 1950s, like I was a commuter heading home from the city, a martini in my head and a perfumed letter in my pocket.0 comments so far