Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Rockies Game

I am looking down at my phone using the maps app looking for the closest REI.  I need to get new gear; mostly new shoes.  I had a gift card that was given to me by my friend Chirs.  It was a kind of a going away present.  You know it is time for new shoes when you can smell them while they are on your feet and you are are walking in the open air. The odor is a mix between baby vomit and rotting whale carcass.  Don't ask me how I know what a rotting whale carcass smells like. I take a mental picture of the map in my head, turn off my phone, put it in my pocket and keep walking.  I take a left off of Colfax and go into a neighborhood.  I am trying to avoid the busy streets right now, trying to get out of the spotlight a little bit.  LeeRoy and I stop at an empty house that is for sale.  We sit on the porch.  He eats the grass.  We both kinda lounge in the shade for a bit.  I have noticed something about myself.  It's like I look for trouble.  I will go through a season of good behavior, so to speak, and then I will find some way to get myself into trouble.  I think I get overwhelmed, or maybe let my guard down.  Maybe even beyond that, especially with all the attention, I self-sabotage.  That sentence went through my mind and I just shrugged my shoulders and went "huh."  I picked up my backpack and LeeRoy and I started heading east again towards Bronco stadium.  (It's hard to be transparent again.  Writing these blogs is not easy).  Eventually we ran into the stadium and had to take a left.  As you come from west to east, you can kinda look down on the city at about 20 blocks out.  Once LeeRoy and I get a few blocks past the stadium, we hang another right and follow the road over the freeway.  Just before you hit the bridge to go over the freeway,  the neighborhood just seems to disappear and you can look on downtown Denver.  The first thing you see as you cross the bridge is the aquarium.  Just beyond the aquarium, you can see the river start to flow and then the tall buildings.  Crossing that bridge felt like a big mile marker for me.  Just past the bridge, the road curves to the left.  I can see the REI sign.  Then, there is just that excitement; that pep in my step.  You keep walking and walk right into the REI.  I spent a lot of time on the patio of a Starbucks.  About the best Starbucks in the world for a guy like me. I mean, it’s attached to an REI!  And I love that. At the edge of the patio there is a bunch of grass and trees. LeeRoy is half under the patio keeping out of the sun. It's really great because it makes him hard to see so he’s not attracting a lot of attention.  Looking south there is a river.  It seems to run east to west and just on the other side of it is the center of Denver.  In the river is a little man-made island where people go and play in the water. Families, couples and a few single moms are spread out across it.  There are a few rowdy kids running around. My favorite kind of kid. A few business people are trying to get out of their work cubicles and into the fresh outdoors. They were eating their lunches on benches and random places to sit on the island. Reading books and escaping from the mundane life they have. You can almost see them get lost in their books.  I can only imagine what it would be like to have been working in a cubicle for 15 or 20 years of my life. I would hate that.  There was a time in my life when I was on that same path.  As soon as lunch would come around I would punch out and go outside and just want to scream; and cuss; and kick stuff and spit.  Say Christian cuss words like "I hate this dang job; and I want to freaking quit." In fact I remember this one job I had. I worked at a hospital for a few years doing different jobs over the years. One of the responsibilities I had was to verify insurances. I would sit in a cubical all day and check the insurance information on the web. Within the first few hours of my day I would be about to lose it. On my lunch I would go to the top of the eight story parking garage and just stare at the city. I would day dream of some other life. MAN am I grateful for what I do now. As I stare at the business men and women reading their books, I snap out of it; that was a dark place.  A heavy dose of reality of what could have been.  Some people love that and can enjoy that and they want that, but not me.  I need freedom.  I am a wild stallion and I hate fences. Haha.    I sit there and people-watch and try not to stick out like a sore thumb. As I'm watching the people I notice every second person is just staring down at their phone.  A thought jetted through my mind. THEY ARE MISSING IT. And then I literally laugh out loud as I look down and see my phone firmly gripped by my right hand.  I have been surfing Facebook most of the morning.
 I had been in Denver for a couple of days now, and today was all about meeting up with friends. Long before I started this walk I had been in a band and toured through here quite a few times. I was really excited to meet up with them and tell them all about this new adventure I was on so I contacted a few of my local friends to let them know I was in town.  Only one of them came out. My friend Liz.  She was somebody that has always been around.  We ended up staying at her house during a tour eight years ago.

I thought back to the last time we hung out. The band I was in had a few days off in Denver. A group of us ended up going to a swing dance club. It's located in downtown Denver somewhere in an old brick building. It was the only thing that hadn't been torn down in the neighborhood. The brick building was on the northeast corner of the block surrounded by parking lots. The bottom floor was a restaurant that was split into two parts. The entrance to the building was on the corner. I walked in and on the first floor there was a poetry reading going on. It was dripping with teenage emotion and not pretentious words, but just people that are trying way too hard to be cool.   I stood there for a while before going up with the rest of the crowd to the swing dancing on the second floor. I was listening to the people basically trying to rap without music.  It literally was the most awkward thing I had ever heard. 

 "I have a flower
 a gray flower
it is my heart 
 It is wilting from the sun of your hatred
 Sometimes I drive on the right side of the road 
sometimes I don't
 Emotions are heavy
Let's have a tickle fight."

  I stood and stared at the overweight kid wearing skinny jeans and a polo, a beard, glasses and he had kind of like a fro thing going on. Standing there on stage, the shape of his body looked like an ice cream cone. He definitely was the flavor of sherbet in my mind.  After subjecting myself to the most awkward thing on the planet, I couldn't choke down another bite of this ice cream cone and eventually went upstairs for swing dancing. 

Yeah, that's right, I can swing dance. Liz was there. We danced a few times. Liz is quite a bit taller than me.  I have to stand on my tippy-toes to do some of the spins.  That's no lie.  But back to the story.  Liz and I sat inside Starbucks and caught up. She's a super sweet girl.  While we were talking we decided to check out a Rockies game. We got a goat sitter; a place to take LeeRoy and we went to a Rockies game.  It was great to hang out with Liz and catch up and share stories.  She is a missionary now, well not a missionary, but something like a missionary.  She does work for the Gospel and raises support for it. So yeah, I guess she is a missionary. Anyway, it was a great time. The Rockies lost which I am okay with.  They lost to the Marlins.  Their mascot is a fish.  Like, I don't get it.  Is the Marlin a wild attacking fish?  I don't get it.  The Marlins beat the Rockies; sad day. I gotta say, maybe one of the most uncomfortable moments in my life happened at that game.  There was the most annoying guy behind me yelling the whole time; totally inappropriate stuff; socially awkward situation.  The Marlins hit a home run into our section.  A pregnant woman catches the ball and she keeps it.  Now in some stadiums there is a tradition.  If the guest team hits a home run and a fan catches it, they throw the ball back onto the field out of disgust.  You are not allowed to keep it for a souvenir.  This guy behind us stands up and starts yelling at this pregnant woman.  He starts chanting  "Throw it back, throw it back"  She doesn't want to throw it back.  But this guy won't stop yelling at her.  And now he is getting the crowd to start chanting at this woman.  Now, I am the most uncomfortable in these situations.  She takes the ball and sits down in her seat while everybody is chanting at her and she shakes her head no.  In my head I am thinking, at what point do I stand up and say shut up to this guy, leave her alone?  I glance back at the lady and I notice an usher coming down to tell this guy to leave her alone and to quiet the crowd.  The only problem is that she is a 70 y/o woman and she can hardly yell at all. She comes down the steps to his row and she is saying something, but you can't hear her.  I had to do something.  So with the emotional courage of five teenage girls, I whip my head around, throw my hands up and yell in my sassiest voice, "come on, leave her alone!"  I don't know how effective that was, but I certainly felt more uncomfortable and awkward by the second. As the crowd eventually starts to die down and watch the game again, I definitely have to give up some man cards for not being stronger in the situation.  

1 comment:

  1. In situations like that you don't know how much it means, I had a woman send me a letter years after we went to middle school together. I was a single mom, in a unfamiliar state, putting one foot in front of the other and tenuously asserting what my life was going to look like from now on. I was scared, insecure and exhausted. Her letter found me I have no idea how, and spoke to me about how she wanted me to know she never forgot me and how I treated her in school. I remember it like I was an ineffective chubby girl railing at the idiots but to her it was a beacon of goodness. And her letter was my beacon, it recharged my resolve and fed my confidence. I love the beauty as well as the risk in "what goes around comes around".