Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Nurse the Hate: Baseball Playoff Memory

I am watching the baseball playoffs.  I have always really liked watching the baseball playoffs, though almost all the national TV ads now pummel viewers for erectile dysfunction drugs or mobile phone plans.  I have seen the Viagra ad where the woman says “I overpacked but my man knows exactly what to pack” about 31 times already this postseason.  (In case you are wondering, she packs five suitcases and he packs boners.)  I liked it better when I was a kid and sports ran only beer, razors, and car ads.  In those days men didn’t need to pack boners when they traveled I guess.  Maybe all the cell phone use is causing erectile dysfunction.  I don’t know.

I’m watching the Cubs handle my beloved Giants.  The last time I have a clear memory of the Giants losing in the Playoffs like this I watched Will Clark and Chili Davis struggle in a Game 7 vs the Cardinals on a snowy color TV in Kent.  As I recall I was hanging out watching the game with this guy named Todd from my radio production lab.  Todd was a good guy that really made a mistake going out to a bar with my friends and I.  We had so committed to pushing the limits of tequila consumption, normal humans couldn’t hope to keep up.  Ron Wood would have been hard pressed to hang out an entire night.  We were a bunch of out of control assholes.  We were out of control assholes before the tequila hit, so out of control assholes climbing into a El Toro bottle morphing into a bunch of LA Woman era Jim Morrisons wasn't good for anyone.

Todd wanted to be one of the gang, so he’s knocking back El Toro and Iron City drafts like a sailor.  It was a dive place called The Brass Rail, one of the only places that was showing the baseball game.  The Giants, with whom I had only a passing interest, lost.  This was when we made a poor decision.  Todd decided we needed to drive over to a girl named Jeannie’s house.  Jeannie was a nice normal girl that was involved in radio production with us.  I didn't know her very well, and frankly I don't think Todd did either.  As it was a Monday or Tuesday night, Jeannie was probably relaxing at home with her roommate totally oblivious to what was about to happen.  She was having a Monday and we were having a "Saturday Night After World War II Ended".  There was a bit of an imbalance.

I will say this plainly.  Todd should not have been driving.  I say this as someone that was very intoxicated but still recognized that the other guy was the drunk.  I felt like I was the reasonable one, which I probably was in comparison, but I would have been arrested on sight by any responsible law enforcement officer.  It was a different age then.  A DUI was something that was considered to be like a speeding ticket.  People used to joke around about how drunk they were behind the wheel the previous night.  “I had to close one eye because I was seeing double!  HAHAHA!”  It really wasn’t that odd.  Seriously.  "Don't let the cops see ya!"  Nudge nudge, wink wink.  I hopped in the car and off we went.

We closed in to the quiet neighborhood where Jeannie lived.  I had never been there before so I just took Todd’s word for it.  Todd's car was an old blue Chevy Nova that we called "old" before the idea of "vintage" became widespread.  I remember blasting Evan John’s “Vacationtime”.  The music was so loud I barely heard the sound of Todd's car sideswiping a parked car in front of our destination.  I did get tossed across the front seat though.  “Jesus!  HAHAHAHHAAHA!”  Todd was pretty relaxed about careening into a parked car and scraping the crap out of his.  The car he hit was a relatively new Honda Accord.  It was pretty bad.  “Dude!  Let’s go!”  I guess it wasn’t really an issue.  We'd sort out the car later.  We walked up to the door like nothing had happened.

BAM!  BAM!  BAM!  “Jeannie!!!”  The door opened and Jeannie stood there perplexed in flannel pajamas.  Todd started laughing and walked right in.  Well, I guess we are coming in for a visit…  She seemed pretty receptive if not curious as to why two guys she barely knew had shown up at her house.  We sat down in the living room, turned some music on, and rustled some beers from her fridge.  There was some half assed plan being hatched by Todd about going out for a late night breakfast and he somehow convinced Jeannie to go.  She told us she needed a quick shower and she’d be right down.  Todd and I sat there looking through her records when he suddenly popped his head up and said “Fuck it dude.  I’m going for it.”  Hmm?  What?

Todd bounded up the staircase and I heard him open the door to the bathroom where Jeannie had been showering for about five minutes.  Almost immediately I hear a women’s high pitched “Hey!!!”, some quick male mumbling and then giggling as the shower curtain was pulled back .  That son of a bitch!  He pulled it off.  He was in the shower with her.  Things became quiet in the bathroom except for the occasional thud of two bodies against the tile.  This is when I realized I was about three miles from my house and had no way back except a long walk.  Oh well, I would finish my beer and see how it played out.  This was when Jeannie's roommate woke up and came downstairs to see what the hell was going on.

As I had mentioned before, I was drinking very heavily at the time.  There were weekly adventures that required great effort to piece together.  It was a confusing time.  This is why I did not recognize the woman that came down the stairs in a sweatshirt with her hair pulled up.  "What are you doing here?  Who's in there with Jeannie?"  Oh, that's Todd.  Do you know Todd?  (The look on her face said she didn't.)  My name is Greg.  We are going to get something to eat.  Do you want to go?  "No I don't want to go!"  (She didn't want to go apparently.)  She stomped back up the stairs.  Jeez.  Relax.

This is when it should have struck me that this woman was familiar.  It didn't though.  It wasn't until Todd and Jeannie came downstairs all giggly that I learned that I had been speaking with Jeannie's roommate.  I learned about five minutes later her name was Emily.  I should have remembered it was Emily because about two weeks earlier I had met Emily at a bar downtown and had a really great conversation with her.  She was funny, smart, and really cute.  She understood my dark sense of humor which isn't always a given.  We walked out of the bar together to talk to each other in a better atmosphere.  We walked down past the river and the waterfall.  Between us, I thought I was going to trick her back to my lair and do terrible things to her.  Emily was a woman of some virtue however and didn't want to leap into a filthy bed with a strange man she had met about 37 minutes ago.  What a prude.

Emily gave me her number on a scrap piece of paper.  "I hope we can get to know each other better."  This was great.  I was really excited to have this woman be interested in me.  She was clearly better than I was and even now I have no idea why she would have any interest in me whatsoever.  I must have caught her in some sort of fallow period.  We said goodbye and I told her how much I was looking forward to seeing her again.  I carefully put the scrap of paper in my front right pocket and went back to join my friends at the bar after watching her drive away.  What a great night!

Of course, I lost that scrap of paper almost immediately.  I spent an hour the next morning looking in the same three places over and over again thinking that when I searched my jeans pockets the third time the paper would magically appear.  Jeans pocket.  Floor by the bed.  Table by the bed.  Repeat.  Nope.  It was gone.  I had no idea of her last name or any possible way to reach her.  I had blown it.

About a week later fortune smiled on me.  I was in the same bar and across the room I saw her.  She was pretending she didn't notice me.  I'm sure that she thought that I had blown her off, throwing her number in the garbage.  It was obvious she wasn't someone that surrendered her contact information readily.  As I mentioned, my friends and I were going on tequila benders on a regular basis.  This was another one of those times.  I lurched over to speak with Emily.  Things were quite chilly in the beginning as she didn't believe any of my claims of losing the paper.  I wouldn't have believed me either.  I was a mess.  I must have totally sent out the vibe of "asshole that will say anything to get your panties off".  (This wasn't necessarily that far from the truth by the way.)  She remained skeptical.  Being a young man inexperienced with certain social situations I didn't just come clean and tell her how much I liked her and had fucked up, but rather focused on her unfairly judging me on losing the number.  This did not help my cause.  That's when it came to a head.

"You don't even know my name."  That's absurd.  Of course I do.  (But I didn't!  I had somehow forgotten it.  In my tequila haze I was searching and searching and I had nothing.  It started with a vowel.  An "E" I think...  What girl's names start with "E"?  Think dammit!  Think!)  You could tell she was even pulling for me.  All I had to do was come up with her name and all would be washed under the bridge.  She even offered me a clue.  "Think Pink Floyd..."  (Pink Floyd?  Dammit!  She even has a cool clue to give me.  This one is a winner!  Come on!  Come on!)  I pretended I knew it.  I played it real cool.  Silly me.  How could I have forgotten?  In reality the Pink Floyd clue didn't help me at all.  It only confused me more.  I just kept searching my head for a likely women's name that started with "E".  It was put up or shut up time.  I looked at her expectant face.  Your name is Elizabeth.  "It's Emily!  As in "See Emily Play"?  You asshole!"  She walked away.  Her friends started to laugh at me while exchanging glances with each other.  It was a bit embarrassing.  OK, it was very embarrassing.  It was even an obscure early Pink Floyd clue too.  That made her even cooler.  Fuck.  I slunk away in shame.    

You would think I would have remembered Emily forever.  I remember that incident even now.  Yet I did not remember that incident when she walked down the stairs of her rental apartment to discover The Asshole somehow sitting in her living room that night.  Making matters worse, I did not recognize her at all much less call her by name.  "Why hello Emily!  What a coincidence to see you this evening!  Can I fetch you a brandy my dear?"  No.  That's not what happened.  I introduced myself to her as if it was the first time we had ever met.  In my defense she did have her hair up and was wearing glasses whereas she was dressed to be out at the bars on the other occasions when I saw her.  As Emily quickly scampered back upstairs that night, I wondered why this strange girl was acting so coldly towards me for no reason.  Who is that and why is she acting this way?

Todd, Jeannie and I climbed into the Nova to go to a diner.  We all got in on the driver's side as the passenger door no longer opened.  I was the only one concerned about the car situation.  Hey Jeannie?  Who's Honda Accord is that?  "Oh, that's Emily's."  Fuck.  That's her roommate's car.  This is bad.  Oh God.  Emily?  Wait...  You said your roommate's name was Emily?  (This was when it all hit me like a ton of bricks.)  THAT WAS EMILY!  Ummm...  Did she happen to tell you about a guy that...  "OH MY GOD!  You're The Asshole!"  Yes.  It's me.  The Asshole.  We sat at the diner.  I had a ham and cheese omelette with wheat toast.  I was deep in thought.  I tried to come up with a plan to turn this around while Todd and Jeannie acted goofy.  I had absolutely nothing.  I had even less when Emily woke up the next day and filed the police report of hit and run on Todd.  Todd made a grave error in hoping it would all sort of disappear in the morning.  As I recall Todd had to pay a large fine to the cops, $1800 in repairs, and didn't go out with my friends and I to the bars anymore.  I haven't seen him since.  I haven't seen Emily either.  I hope Emily's car turned out OK.  It's been a couple decades.  She probably traded it in by now.

I curbed the tequila after that.  That nihilism wasn't really getting me anywhere.  Emily would probably like me OK now.  I'd remember her name I'll bet.  I've come a long way!  Well, I never pulled out the win there.  The Giants pulled out the win tonight though.  Go Giants.  I sure do like playoff baseball.      



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