Monday, April 26, 2010

Chapter 18 is here, as promised

 We’ve developed a tradition in our marriage: As soon as the upcoming season’s baseball schedule is published online, we check to see when the Toronto Blue Jays are playing the Seattle Mariners, the major league team situated closest to Alberta. Then, after consulting with friends and relatives in British Columbia, to see if they’d like to join us, we check for tickets behind home plate (so nice to be protected from foul balls) or behind the Jays’ dugout (so nice to see the team up close, but scary to be at risk from foul balls).
 One year, we decided not to go at all. I was okay with that. Traveling to the west coast as often as I did already, while my parents were in care, I was quite happy with the idea of staying home and watching Jays games on TV.
 However, I hadn’t reckoned with the idea of Male as Discoverer, Conqueror, and Explorer of Regions Unknown. Said region unknown, in this case, turned out to be a website, and not just any old website, but an alternative to The Dreaded Ticketmaster. I’m not sure why, but my husband hates Ticketmaster the way some people hate spiders or snakes. Ticketmaster is to be avoided at all costs, even at the cost of going somewhere we’d decided not to go.
 “Guess what!” he said one day, smiling a suspiciously guilty smile.
 “I found a new place to buy baseball tickets!” he declared.
 “That’s nice,” I replied, “bookmark the site so we’ll have it next year.”
 “Oh, well, I thought it would be nice to go this July, as the Jays are having such a good spring.”
 “Well, yes, they are, but I thought we weren’t. You know, the recession and all that...”
 Blithely brushing off the recession with a wave of his hand, he quoted baseball stats at me for a full five minutes before admitting he had, actually, already, bought tickets for the series from a website about which I’d never heard before. I protested, but he brushed off my protests as well.
 Then he got me to agree to go, by saying he’d book the hotel across the street from the ballpark. Good idea, right? Watch batting practice every day, no long walks for me, lots of fun, right?
 Turns out the website was everything it promised to be, but Dick wasn’t. Instead of getting a room at the hotel across from Safeco Field, as he’d promised, he booked us into a hotel offering such-a-deal a mere 14 blocks away.
 “How do we know I’ll be able to walk 14 blocks?” I asked, aghast at his duplicity, and in fear for my feet.
 “Well, we’re saving so much on the hotel, we’ll be able to take cabs to and from the games if you find you can’t walk.”
 “Promise?” I asked, foolishly prepared to rely on the word of a man who had already reneged on his promise to stay across the street from Safeco Field.
 “Oh, sure,” he assured me, “and besides, you know what Seattle is like. The weather will be nice and cool, and we can take our time walking, or else there’s the bus. Just remember your umbrella.”
 “Right,” I said, remembering how many full buses had passed us in other years, and how long I had stood, on tender feet, at bus stops. But, foolish unfittie that I am, I said, “Okay.”
 It wasn’t okay. Seattle was a baked image of its usual self.
 In the summer of 2009, the northwest coast of North America got the prairie heat, while the prairies got the coast’s cool, wet weather. Seattle temperatures hit record highs for baseball games and, I believe, for summers in general. We left the soothing cool of our own back yard and went to swelter in temperatures reaching and even passing 100 degrees Fahrenheit (almost 38 Celsius). Any weather hotter than human body temperature can’t possibly be good for the human body, in my opinion, no matter what the Seattle Times claimed.
 Dick had purchased our airline tickets based on low price rather than on good timing, so we arrived at our hotel — a beautiful place, to be sure — hot, sweaty, rumpled, creased, and uncomfortable, with barely enough time to change our shirts, never mind shower, before (yes) making our way to the game via public transportation.
 Someone, some misinformed and/or delusional person, assured us the nearby underground subway stop would get us to the ballpark faster than would a taxi, and we (more fool I) believed him, until I found it nearly impossible to get myself onto the steep, fast escalator, then across a wide underground plaza, and down a staircase to an even lower level with a choice of stops, and us with no clue which bus or train to take. We ended up, somehow, traveling the next two stops by train, then walking (yes, walking) the rest of the way.
 Red-faced and weepy-eyed, I tried to protest. “Don’t you remember you promised we could stay at the hotel across from the ballpark?” and “When you picked a hotel farther away, you said we could take a taxi.” But it seems the reality of the recession had already overcome spousal loyalty in Dick’s mind, and the cost of the cab from the airport had put him into shock.
 “No, I don’t remember,” he lied firmly. He walked firmly, too, while I trundled along some distance behind him, cane in one hand, dangling purse under a yellow umbrella/sunshade in the other.
 It was hot.
 It was very, very hot.
 Then it got hotter.
 The first two games were in the evening, so our seats, the ones behind home plate and also the ones behind the Jays’ dugout, were in shade. We won the first game, which was wonderful, and lost the second, but it was very close. I didn’t see the third game, however, because it was in the afternoon.
 “No, I won’t go,” I told Dick. “There won’t be any shade. I can’t sit in the sun. Yes, I know you brought sunscreen, but you know I’m allergic to the sun. I don’t just burn, I break out in hives and welts.” (I have to tell him this every year because, over the course of autumn, winter and spring, he has been known to forget.)
 “Well, what am I going to do with your ticket?” he asked, as if I actually had a helpful suggestion to offer.
 “I’m sure you’ll think of something. Now go. I want to nap.”
 And, sure enough, he thought of something. He traded our two good tickets for one not-as-good ticket plus enough cash to buy two genuine MLB T-shirts with the names and numbers of our two favorite young Blue Jays on the back. We wore them when we went out for a spectacular seafood dinner and, once again, I remembered why I married him. Good thing, too, because over the course of time, travel, and trouble, I have been known to forget.
 The moral of this chapter?
 Unfitties, always keep cab-fare hidden in a pocket of your clothing or purse. American funds are best because they are accepted pretty well everywhere, while Canadian money will only get you blank looks or uproarious laughter, if it isn’t actually thrown back at you.
 Of course, you might find yourself paying for a taxi in which your partner (you know, the self-declared I’d-rather-walk person) has suddenly decided to hitch a ride, but your body will remind you it’s money well spent.

1 comment:

jabblog said...

Hilarious, Kay - though not so funny for you at the time, of course. Men have selective memory, I find!