Search This Blog

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


My "little brother", Brian, is in Pittsburgh this week.  He's in quotes because he was my fraternity little brother as opposed to my flesh and blood little brother.  He's consulting for the Pittsburgh Marathon.  I didn't really know what that meant, except that he'd be here all week.

I met him at his hotel.  It's across the street from PNC Park.  Part of our evening was a Pirate game.  He got the hotel parking pass so I was able to park right there.  It had been at least 16 years since I'd seen him.  He still looked more or less the same.  I was surprised.  Some of my friends have let themselves go a little since our college years.  He had less hair, I suppose, but he'd always cut it short.  Shaved bald seemed almost natural, like it had always been that way, or like he'd just decided to try a new look.  He'd always had a bit of a baby face.  I still didn't recognize him right away when I pulled up to the hotel (he was standing outside waiting to give me the parking pass).  I guess I just wasn't expecting HIM to be there yet, though i knew we were going to the game.  I hadn't reconciled the reality in my mind.

I said, "you look pretty much the same as you did the last time I saw you!" and shook his hand.  He. . . thanked me. 

"You fucker," I thought, "This is where you say I look pretty much the same as I did too!  You think i'm old!"  And i wept.  At least in my head.  Actually I was amused by his failure to respond reciprocally.  I'm sure I've aged in 16 years.  There's a picture of 30 year old Jim floating around somewhere, and the difference isn't huge, but i've gained some weight. . . which is actually a good thing.  I was 6' tall and weighed 150 - 160 pounds for a lot of my college years.  185 fills me out a little; takes the edge off.
We met another guy he was working on the marathon with.  He introduced himself as Mike Johnson and I forgot it a minute later.  He was from Boston and worked on the Boston Marathon and was helping Brian with the event.  I told Brian in an aside my short term memory was shot, and after we finished a beer I asked him to remind me his coworker's name.  He did.

We finished our beers, paid the tab, and crossed the street to the Park.  It's a really nice ballpark.  It's tragic that nobody's ever there, because nobody gives a shit about the Pirates in Pittsburgh.    Mike was amazed because he goes to Red Sox games and they're always packed.  He kept repeating how unbelievable he found it that nobody was in the Park, but I think in a way it makes the experience for the couple thousand actually there in attendance better.  No crowds, no lines. . . very relaxed.  A day at the park. 

Unfortunately I was shoe-horned into my seat, sharing an arm rest with a 300-pound Dodger fan who would bend my ear with tales of softball glory past for at least the next two hours.  He was from Pittsburgh, but was a Dodger fan anyway, and i think he was trying to recruit me into his rec softball league between annecdotes about his bad knee and lamentations about how a black woman won't let you play softball and how he wished his christian league was more than just black guys (he was lobbying for more inclusion).  He was black himself.  The man he was 'with' was sitting behind him, presumably because his experience had taught him that two 300-pound men cannot sit comfortably side by side in stadium seats.   He was wall-eyed, and when he participated in the discussion I had to crane my neck to look behind me and then was uncomfortably aware of not knowing which eye I should be looking at.

The game turned painful but the company was nice.  In about the 6th inning I went to the bathroom and then stopped by the proshop and bought a Pirates sweatshirt.  I usually buy myself all of my logo stuff at the games.  Otherwise I don't think of it.  I put the sweatshirt on, though it probably wasn't chilly enough yet to justify it.  I bought three beers and brought them back to the seats with me, handing them down, as I sat.

We were supposed to meet my ex-brother-in-law (who also went to college with Brian and was in the same fraternity) at a bar across the street after the game.  He texted me at the top of the 8th. 

"I'm at Finnegan's"

"We're still at the game"

"Are you kidding?  It's 7-2"

The Dodgers were still batting; pummelling the Pirate's bullpen pitchers.  It was now 8 - 2.  We agreed to pack it in and save Sam from his lonely seat at the bar.  I texted him again.

"Fine, we're leaving now.  Fucker."

"Great.  Jackass."

We got to the bar and talked and had a couple more beers.  The TV was showing the game, now in the 9th inning.  It was 10 - 2.  While we were there two girls with huge boobs in stretchy low-cut tops too tight for the rest of their physiques parked themselves across the bar from us.  A couple guys were talking to them and started aggressively fondling the one.  She was laughing.  The curious/alarmed looks coming from the rest of the bar made her laugh harder.  He was actively jiggling her breasts.  His buddy began motorboating her friend.  She looked up to the bar at large and announced, "it's okay, they're gay."  Gays love boobs.  Or so I've heard.

There ensued some debate about whether or not just SAYING you were gay was enough to allow motorboating priviledges and I opined that you probably had to at least KNOW the girls too.  They're not just boobs for hire, after all. 

We finished our beers.  Sam left and I walked back to the hotel with Brian and Mike.  If I was worried that Mike (he was in his early 60's) wouldn't fit into the discussion or felt uncomfortable being around three guys who went to college together, I needn't have. 

After we left the bar he said to me, "I think you probably could have motorboated that girl."

"Oh yeah?  Why is that?" I asked him as we walked.

"Cause you look gay in that sweatshirt."

I laughed.

Fuckin' Red Sox fans.

No comments:

Post a Comment