Passengers on Subway Are Not as Crazy as They Appear

today i went to my first live professional baseball game. it was raining though so it was a real toss-up whether the game would be played or not. some friends and i trekked out to the stadium anyway. apparently, baseball games are often cancelled/postponed when it rains.

the point is, eventually the game started…about an hour and a half after we got there. they made this whole to-do about rolling up the tarp covering the baseball diamond to protect it from the wetness. in fact, what i learned about basebal games is they like to make a big to-do about most things that happen during the game…using a combination of pyrotechnics, the jumbotron and/or the scrolling neon signboard. there were fireworks after the national anthem was sung, whenever there was a home run and once, just because. or maybe an angel was getting its wings. well, one of the two.

the most unsettling sports mascot i’ve ever seen

there was a loud drunken crowd of youngsters sitting in the seats directly below and to the left of us. and they liked to yell things like “ASSHOLE!” a lot. they were fun, if you had as much beer in them as they did. we didn’t and therefore, they weren’t so fun. whenever a player was up to bat, his stats, including his birth date, came up on the signboard. some of the players were younger than us. that was scary. i never thought i would be scared at a baseball game, but i was cowed. cowed by their youth!

the best part of the whole experience happened on the way to the baseball stadium when we were riding the subway. my friend neetul and i got into a conversation with a displaced veteran from new orleans. he had green eyes and a peppery gray and white beard. he was wearing a green hat and holding a walking stick. he was wearing a NO LIMITS sweatshirt and immediately struck up a conversation as soon as we got on the train. during the conversation, and rather quickly as this all happened within 5 stops, we learned the following information from him:

– his mother was black and his father was white.
– he was on his way to new york after passing through dc. he really had nowhere in particular to go. “FEMA didn’t give [him] a dime.”
– he fought in vietnam for 26 months.
– beautiful women make him short of breath. he would pause every time a woman walked by, and glance admiringly after her.
– all one needs in life is a good woman. “it’s adam and eve, not adam and steve. i’m don’t think we should harm gays, but i’m just saying, it’s adam and eve, not adam and steve.”
– all one needs in life is a good woman “and not the video kind, [placing his hand on his heart], the real kind.”
– he inquired as to whether my friend neetul and i are together (we are not) and then told neetul to marry me or else he would.
– neetul: my friend here is a comedian. man: that’s great. i’m a comedian! (he didn’t really feel the need to do anything to prove this statement)
– neetul asked if he knew any other languages and he said “yes two. gaelic and arabic.”
– when neetul inquired about the arabic, he revealed he was muslim, but apparently raised catholic. neetul: “so you converted?’ man: “no. i inverted. (!!! -you can’t make this stuff up people- !!!)
– neetul: so you’ve been on hajj (pilgrimage)? man: yes! i’m a hajj-ee. i’ve been around the world three times.

at this point, a man and what appeared to be his two young daughters got on the subway. and the old man was distracted by the children. he couldn’t stop looking them over with admiring glances.

– old man: you’re doing a great job with these kids. they are beautiful girls. man: thank you. old man: yes, one day, one of them might be on the cover of Essence magazine. man: [smiles, says nothing]

old man: it’s funny with kids. one day, you’re putting diapers on them. the next day, they’re putting diapers on you!

upon his departure:

– old man (to neetul): well, i like that you have a lot of respect. a lot of kids your age have no respect. i like that you have respect. [they shake hands] now, next time, i don’t want to see you with adam.

[and exit]

ummmmmm. it was amazing. he was a little alcohol-smelling…but more or less, a pretty sharp character.

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