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“We never do things I want to do,” Mike said the other day. He isn’t entirely wrong, but that also doesn’t make him right, primarily because he has never once said “I would like to do this that or the other thing, with you, right now.” I heard him loud and clear though, so fast forward a few days and I found myself in a sea of people crowding into Angels Stadium. In an effort to meet the man halfway, I cleared my Tuesday evening and agreed to sit in a sticky plastic chair with a few thousand other disgusting, hungry, sweating humans and watch grown men play catch.
I don’t watch sports. Not because I’m no fun, but because I’d rather do a thing than watch someone else do a thing. The game itself does not bore me, but I do detest the constant and asinine announcements, advertisements, schticky crowd promotions between innings, and general abundance of people. When we walked into the stadium, the game was already well underway. I spotted a large man standing near a concrete post eating nachos and holding a beer. He wore cargo short that may as well have been pants, and a crumpled white t-shirt beneath a tired Angels jersey. His eyes were vacant but almost deliriously happy. He looked as if he were eating without really realizing that he was eating, and I had an undeniable urge to hug him, you don’t have to do this.
Baseball is America’s pastime, a funny turn of phrase because it seems like so many of us don’t have much time to pass. We’re all harried and hurried and doing too many things at once. I wouldn’t have been at the game in the first place, if not for a very real need to “make time for the things my partner wants to do.” But as I sat in my sticky plastic chair with an aluminum wrapped hot dog in one hand and an $8 bottle of water in the other, I couldn’t help but look around and think that many people in the stadium that night did have time to pass.
They had money to spend on Rally Monkeys and soft pretzels and Dippin’ Dots. They had the freedom not to worry about how they would feel after the soft pretzels and Dippin’ Dots. They had mustard on their shirts and sweat pooling in their collarbones and an early meeting tomorrow morning but they were here to enjoy themselves, dammit. They were here to sing take me out to the…