Thursday, June 19, 2008

Shot Fired

This morning, I was walking Wendy a half-block from our townhouse when a loud boom rang out. Wendy, a retired hunting dog, recognized the sound immediately. So did I, from my skeet and trap days -- someone had shot a shotgun, and it was close.

Wendy and I started running for our house, picking up speed I didn't know she was capable of in her old age. When we got inside, I took off her leash and noticed her legs were shaking. Then I noticed mine were too.

I called 911. When the police arrived, I told the policewoman what I knew, which was not much. "Do any of the neighbors have guns?" she asked. I told her that a young Iraq vet, his wife/girlfriend, and friend rent the end townhouse two down from ours, where the blast seemed to emanate from. From the cars out front, it appeared that only the vet was home. We knew it was his by the bronze star license plate.

The police canvassed the neighborhood a bit and confirmed that there'd been a boom. Nobody else had called 911. The police knocked on the door of the house at the end, but nobody answered. It's now 14 hours later and I still don't know what happened. The vet's truck sat in its space all day. (I worked from home today.) Nobody else ever came home to that house after work, and no lights are on right now.

Maybe someone was just shooting a snake in one of the tiny backyards. Virginia's a red state, after all.

Hopefully, it was something like that.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Eating My Shoe

On June 30, 2000, I found myself at a Braves-Mets game at Shea Stadium as the Mets fell behind, 8-1.

This was the first Mets-Braves series in NYC after John Rocker's infamous verbal trashing of New York in a December '99 Sports Illustrated article. I'd bought tickets to two games, hoping to be there to boo Rocker in person for being a huge jerk. The first night of the series, I had that opportunity, and then watched the Mets fall to Rocker's unhittable pitches. This night was Game 2. My friend Tim and I were sitting up in the nosebleed seats, next to a group of special-needs adults with questionable hygiene who kept accidentally sitting in our seats, necessitating a few polite discussions on our part with the group leader.

The situation seemed grim on several levels, so I called my Mets-fan pal Jason down in his regular seats about a half mile closer to the action. I informed him that his team sucked, adding that if they came back to win, I would eat my shoe. It turned out to be one of the biggest Mets comebacks ever.

Final score: Mets 11, Braves 8.

About two years later, on Saturday, May 25, 2002, my brother and I were watching the Boston Celtics in the playoffs on TV, and he became increasingly agitated as the Celts fell woefully behind the New Jersey Nets. The Celtics were down 21, and I decided to try something. I announced, "Chris, if the Celtics win tonight, I will eat my shoe." It ended up being one of the biggest Celtics comebacks ever.

Final score: Celtics 94, Nets 90.

Last night, I watched the Celtics not bother to show up for the first quarter of Game 4 in the NBA Finals against the LA Lakers. My brother and I emailed back and forth as the game went on, with the Celts down as much as 24 points. Around halftime, with the Celts still down 58-40, I emailed my brother: "If they win tonight, Chris, I will eat my shoe."

Unless you live under a rock, you probably know what happened -- one of the greatest Celtics comebacks ever.

Final score: Celtics 97, Lakers 91.

So I have concluded that I have magical powers. This morning, my brother emailed me: "What does shoe leather taste like?" I wouldn't know -- the best thing about my apparent powers is that eating a shoe doesn't appear to be required. I haven't followed through on the promise yet.

Go Celtics!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Monday Night on My Own

Steve is out of town this week. I do miss him, but there's something about this evening that I'm really enjoying.

This Monday night, I don't have to watch his favorite program: Antiques Roadshow.

Instead, I'm watching the Bachelorette. She's kind of a shrew, based on this episode at least. She just bitched out all the guys for not paying attention to her at the pool. Nice.

Seriously, I think the Roadshow is better. But that's not what this is about.

This is about television freedom and control of the remote.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Airport Rage

I am currently trapped at the Minneapolis Airport, on my way home from a week in Banff for a business meeting.

I am irate.

Seven years ago, I missed my friend Dave's WEDDING because of Northwest Airlines. Inexplicably, my flight (from Newark, NJ, to Orange County, CA, by way of Minneapolis) was canceled due to "weather," when all other flights out of Newark Airport seemed to be taking off just fine. (Weather, my ass.) Of course, they kept us sitting on the runway for 3 hours, so by the time they released us from our imprisonment there were no more flights out that DAY. I left early the next morning and only made it for the reception. I swore to never fly Northwest again.

For my business trip to Banff, I had to decide between a 6am departure time out of Dulles, or taking Northwest through Minnesota. I should have known better, but I made the wrong choice. The flight here from the Calgary-Banff Airport was so turbulent that I seriously considered the possibility of driving the second leg of my trip home, from Minnesota to DC. At one point, I realized I didn't even care if the plane went down, because my emotional/mental/digestive misery would end. I spent the last half hour of the flight in a cold sweat. We finally landed and I made my way to the next gate.

The only food available is a Dairy Queen with questionable sanitation standards (evidenced by the large brown puddle on the customer side of the counter ... and it's not raining). The food looked dubious, so I got a small peanut butter cup blizzard, which turned out to be a heath bar blizzard. Whatever. I then tried to find an outlet for my laptop. The first one I tried was dead. The second one I tried was dead. The third one I tried was dead. Now I'm sitting in a hallway against a wall by one of the few working outlets as those elderly-transport carts whiz past me. I just ate the weird trail mix from the depressing "snack box" I had to buy on the first leg of the flight.

My cell phone has one tick of power left on it, and my charger is packed in my checked luggage.

Oh, and my flight is delayed indefinitely.

WTF? I just want to go home.