Saturday, May 13, 2006

On Spontaneity

On Thursday afternoon at about 3pm, I was sitting quietly at my desk at the office, diligently attacking a pile of paper to be processed. The phone rang. It was my husband. The conversation was pretty much one-sided:

Him: Hi, how are you? J-- has tickets for the Phillies tonight.
Me: OK, you're going with him? (Why else would he be calling me at work to tell me his friend has tickets?)
Him: No, his daughter has a game tonight, so he can't go. (That's why...uh-oh).
Me: (Hopefully) OK, so, you're gonna ask L--- or G---?
Him: It's too late to ask them. Can you get home a little early? If we could eat a fast sandwich and get out of the house by about 5:30, we could make it on time...
Me: But it's going to rain tonight. Heavy, flooding rains. (Again with the hopefulness) Won't they cancel the game?
Him: If we get there and it's cancelled, we can just go home. I'll do all of the driving. (Oh, yeah, that's comforting.)

And so began an exercise in spontaneity. Can you hear me thinking, "Oh, joy - drive an hour home from work, then an hour and a half to Philly, so that we can turn around and come home when Accuweather gets it right?"

While I don't mind going to the ballpark once in awhile, I'm not exactly a fan. I took a magazine with me, to read in the rain. And it did rain. There was a light, misty rain off and on throughout the first four innings. The hardy folks in front of us kept their umbrellas up most of the time, which meant that I couldn't see the field at all. You pay for good seats, then you can't see the game because the folks in front of you will melt like the Wicked Witch of the West if the slightest bit of moisture touches them. The LLBean waterproof anoraks they wore weren't enough to protect them from the mist, oh no.

The most dramatic moment came early in the first inning, when Aaron Rowand took on a fence to make an amazing catch. It wasn't raining at that moment, but the folks in front of us stood up as soon as the ball was airborn, so I still couldn't see a thing. I saw the replay, and I watched him walk off of the field with a towel over his face.

In the 4th inning, my husband points out that the game can be called after the 5th and still count. If the Phillies are still leading after the opposing team bats in the top of the 5th, then the game can end at that point as a win for the Phils.

It so happened that the Mets were still behind after the top of the 5th. This conversation ensued:

Him: I want a hotdog. I'm gonna go get a hotdog. I have to have one.
Me: But what if they call the game? I won't be able to find you?
Him: I'll come right back here if they call it.
Me: But, but...
Him: It's only drizzling. They won't call it for drizzle. I'm gonna get a hotdog.
Translation: If I want a hotdog, I better get it now. They might call the game, then it'll be too late!

He walks away. The sky opens up and it pours. The field crew pulls out the tarp. Fortunately, I have the umbrella, as I stand there in the rain, watching the stands empty and waiting for my husband to return. And waiting and waiting and waiting. I give up and head for the concession area to look for him. When I finally find him:

Me (grabbing his sleeve): I'm soaked, we're going home.
Him: But I still haven't had a hotdog! And it might stop raining. This is just a delay. J-- was here last year when they had a 2 hour delay.
(2 hours???)
Me: Please! One of us has to work tomorrow, and it isn't you! And I'm soaked. Wawa sells hotdogs.
Him: It's not the same. I want a hotdog. C'mon, lets get one, then we can go...

In the end, I'm glad I went. It took an effort to be spontaneous, but, between the raindrops, we managed to have a good time. Personally, I prefer to visit the ballpark during a May rainshower to visiting during the dog days of August. There is no escaping the Philly heat and humidity at Citizen's Bank Park on a brutal August evening. Philly didn't install air conditioning in the concession area, as Baltimore so sensibly did at Camden Yards. So maybe I've paid the spontaneity toll for this year, and I won't have to go back when things heat up late in the summer.

Yeah, right.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Once Upon a Time...

The first popular song I remember from my childhood is, These Boots Were Made for Walkin', by Nancy Sinatra. Interesting song for a young 'un to listen to, wouldn't you say? I had a 45 rpm single play record of this song - the kind that needed the adapter pictured on the left in order to be played on the hi-fi.

I also had the single of, Those Were the Days, My Friend, by Mary Hopkins, on the Apple lable. You know the song (if you're old enough) - it started out, "Once upon a time, there was a tavern, Where we used to raise a glass or two." Again, odd musical choice for a toddler. That yellow adapter looked pretty funny right smack dab in the middle of that green granny smith apple!

Another song I remember from that era is, Little Becky's Christmas Wish. It was a tearjerker about a little girl who wanted her big brother to come home from Viet Nam for Christmas. I don't think he made it.

I took a musical trip down memory lane at You Tube last night and looked up the following songs:

Hooked on a Feeling - This one was originally by Blue Swede; the version at You Tube is by David Hasselhoff (what's up with that?), but it sounded pretty much the same, and the video had dachshunds in it!

Bohemian Rhapsody - by Queen. I still love the tight harmonies and the rock opera presentation.

I Started a Joke - by the Bee Gees. I still only partly get the joke.

Surrender and The Dream Police - by Cheap Trick

I even visited my least favorite song of all time. It gave me a frisson of nostalgic repulsion right from the very first strains: Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I used to cringe when they played it at a dance - it went on forever and ever, and it was virtually impossible for anyone to dance to it.They always requested it, though, with cries from the crowd of, "Play Freebird! Play Freebird!" Ugh. Sorry to all of the Skynyrd fans out there. Just hated this one. It grated on me from the very first time I heard it. Sweet Home Alabama was much easier to take.

I could never quite bring myself to like Stairway to Heaven, either. I know, I know, I'm a traitor to my generation. Another awful song: The Girl is Mine by Michael Jackson.

I couldn't find anything by The Cars at You Tube, but I went through a distinct Cars phase.

I was able to find the first music video I remember watching - Don't Stand So Close To Me by The Police. I checked out a little Blondie (Call Me!) and the Eurythmics (Annie Lennox singing Sweet Dreams). I even listened to a short version of Macarthur Park (hey, it beats Freebird any day in my book).

To give credit to the late 80's, I looked up Simply Red's, If You Don't Know Me By Now (it was big when I was dating my husband). I kept trying to remember Don Henley's, The End of the Innocence - it sat at the back of my mind like a shadow or a ghost that disappeared when I tried to look directly at it. If finally popped into my head tonight, when I least expected it.

There was a song by John Cougar Mellencamp that was big in the late 80's, too - I can see a bit of the video in my mind, but I can't quite remember it. Any thoughts from the peanut gallery?

When I speak of today's music, I have begun to echo the things my mother said to me a couple of decades (or so) ago:

1. They don't make music like the did in my day, and
2. It all sounds the same.

I could go on for hours, picking out tunes from the past and reliving moments of my life to them. What were your favorites, and which one gets your vote for worst song of all time?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Question of the Week

If you knew the world was going to end before the next billing cycle, how would you max out your credit cards?