As I told you in the last post, I had a ticket to see the Orioles play Game 2 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday. Sitcom Kelly and her Sitcom Sister were also going, although we weren’t sitting together.
I ended up in the left field club level, close to where I frequently sat all season. I say “close to” because after I bought the ticket, I realized that I was in the All-You-Can-Eat section. For an extra $15, you get unlimited hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, peanuts, ice cream and soda.
I’d considered sitting there in the past, but the numbers didn’t work for me. I could spend $10 on a foot-long brat and a cheeseburger outside the stadium, and be just as full. But since this was essentially a throw-in on a $300 ticket, I didn’t fuss about it. The game was at 4:00 and I planned accordingly, by not eating breakfast or lunch.
Sitcom Kelly and I avoided the mobs at our regular bar outside the ballpark, and found one a few blocks away instead. About an hour before game time, we moseyed down to meet up with Sitcom Sister.
After a beer in the concourse, we went our separate ways. As soon as I got up to my Junk Food Heaven section, I immediately trucked four hot dogs. Say what you will about the food outside, (which I love), you can’t beat hot dogs at the ballpark.
Having dispatched those with great gusto, I got a tray of nachos with hot cheese, salsa and a few jalapeños, and made my way to my seat. It was sweet… middle of the section, 4 rows back. Round about the 5th inning, I went back for 2 more dogs and a small cup of ice cream. Just getting my money’s worth, that’s all.
The game? Well, the game was long. Four and a half hours long. The O’s fought valiantly to claw back from a three-run deficit, but couldn’t match the Royals speed, defense and seeing-eye singles. By the bottom of the 9th, with the Orioles down by 2 runs, I was praying they would either just lose, or hit a 3-run homer. The last thing I wanted was extra innings.
Why? Well, do you remember the last time I was at a game with Sitcom Kelly? Remember the “digestive” problem I had? I had a sneaking suspicion that I might be in for more of the same. I sensed some preliminary rumblings.
When the game was over, I met up with the Sitcom Sisters and we headed out. After bidding adieu to her sister, Kelly and I made tracks for the subway. Luckily for us, a train rolled in right as we got down to the platform. A long wait would not have been good.
I was beginning to have sharp pains in the lower abdominal area; the telltale sign that things were about to get serious. The pains would come in a wave and then subside for a minute or two. At each wave, I began having conversations with what I call, “The Little Man Holding the Trap Door.” I figured he needed a pep talk, because it was clear he was struggling against a vastly superior force.
Soon, my internal conversation with The Little Man morphed into something more like Kirk and Scotty in an episode of Star Trek.
Kirk: Status report, Mr. Scott?
Scotty: Cap’n we’re looking at a warp core breach of massive proportions. Unless we can stabilize, I canna be responsible for the safety of the crew.
I was beginning to legitimately panic. Here I was on a crowded subway car, with no recourse or escape. Because there are no public restrooms on the subway line, I had no choice but to try to ride it out. But these waves were killing me. Each one made me twitch and squirm, either grasping the top of my thigh, or putting a death-grip on the hand rail.
The funny thing was, Sitcom Kelly hadn’t noticed any of this. But I’m sure the other people in the car did. There was one lady across from me that must have thought I was either going through heroin withdrawal, or doing a mean Joe Cocker imitation.
Kirk: Scotty, we need a stronger barrier. Reroute all available power to the containment field.
Scotty: Aye Cap’n.
Kirk: Scotty, now I’ve got sweat rolling in my eyes. The heat on deck is rising.
Scotty: I had to divert power from environmental systems Cap’n. I couldn’t risk pulling it from propulsion or navigation.
The train couldn’t seem to move fast enough. I was counting down the stops like mile markers on a cross country journey. I was thankful I had a seat. The cushion provided some support for The Little Man at the Trap Door. But then I realized, “What happens when I have to stand up?”
I took a couple of half-hearted attempts at rising, but I instantly felt The Little Man’s knees buckle. I then had to confront the fact that I might not make it through this episode unscathed. It was a shame too… I was wearing my favorite jeans. But if what I feared might happen actually came to pass; I’d have no choice but to burn them.
Scotty: Cap’n, the containment field is failing. I recommend evacuating all crew to the shuttlecraft.
Kirk: We’re in the middle of nowhere, Scotty! We have to make it to Home Base, or else we’ll be consumed in a massive Sonic Hydro Ionized Tachyon storm.
Scotty: We can try, Cap’n but I canna guarantee that this vessel isn’t blown apart from the pressure.
Finally, we pulled into the station. I scrambled up, as best I could, and began shuffling towards the exit doors. My inclination was to fly down the escalator stairs and into the parking lot, but I was afraid of parting my legs too far. So I’d take a step, then wait, take another, then wait. I made it down the escalator and staggered through the subway lobby and out toward the parking lot. At that moment, the Mother of all Waves cascaded through my body and I lurched to a halt, grabbing onto a hand rail. I think this was the first time Sitcom Kelly noticed that there was anything awry.
“Remember what happened to me the last game we went to? Well it’s happening again.”
Meanwhile, I had to stand stone still and squeeze my glutes together with all my might. The Little Man was on his last legs.
Scotty: MAYDAY! MAYDAY! Cap’n, we have an imminent breach. We must eject the warp core right now.
Kirk: Negative, Mr. Scott. We’ve got Home Base on scope. We’ll be there in a few minutes.
Scotty: Aye Cap’n. You better put it at Warp Nine, or the Enterprise is going to need 6 months’ worth of detailing.
Kirk: Red Alert! [WERP…WERP…WERP…]
Kirk: If we lose containment on the warp core, we’ll need a massive cleanup operation. Mr. Spock, set internal phasers to “Purell.”
I fought off the wave and slowly shuffled forward. It was like March of the Penguins, only without the formal-wear. Or dignity.
About 15 feet from my car, another wave hit. They were beginning to come faster, and with more intensity. Again, I had to squeeze my ass shut and stand still, like I was inventing a new exercise: the vertical plank.
Scotty: I canna hold it any more, Cap’n. Ya canna deny the law of gravity. Whatever is up muss come down. The warp core, she gonna blow any second now.
Kirk: Just another minute more, Scotty. We’ve got to get to Home Base. The lives and lunches of everyone onboard depends on it.
I made it to the car. How I managed to actually crawl inside of it is still a mystery. As I steered out of the parking lot, another wave hit me. It was then I knew I would never make it home. And if I were to lose containment here, it wouldn’t just be my jeans; I’d have to burn my car as well. I decided I’d have to attempt a Plan B… one I truly hoped to avoid.
There was a gas station about a half-mile from the subway. I didn’t know if they had a public restroom or not, but I had to roll the dice. Otherwise, I’d have to spend the rest of the weekend car shopping.
Kirk: Scotty, we have report of a Safe Haven just a few light years ahead. Just give me two more minutes!
Scotty: Make it fast, Cap’n. Containment field integrity is at 5% and falling.
I peeled into the gas station lot, not even pulling into a marked space, and staggered out of the car. Before I could take a step, another wave rolled in and I had to lock it up again. If only I could walk on my hands, I could get gravity working for me, rather than against me.
I walked into the mini-store and took a fast look around. There were no other doors except than one that said, “Employees Only.”
I eyed the Indian guy behind the glass, nose deep in his phone.
“Excuse me, can I use your restroom? It’s an emergency!”
He looked, for a moment as if to consider my request. But at that point, it was less a request than a warning. Something was about to give. It could either be in his restroom, or in the middle of aisle 3. But before I could lay his options, he must have seen the desperation in my eyes, and motioned me to the Employees Only door.
I shuffle-dashed in as quickly as I could. It was clean enough; the ballpark men’s room stalls I used weeks earlier were much worse.
Kirk: Scotty, we made it. We are currently docking at a Safe Haven on Planet Habib. Begin warp core offloading process.
Scotty: Aye Cap’n. All right laddies, release the hounds! AAAAIIIIIIIEEEEEEEE…
No, I didn’t lay down any paper, nor did I even check the condition of the seat. I barely got both cheeks down, as it was, before the Little Man finally stepped aside and was relieved of duty. And speaking of sci-fi propulsion systems, I was lucky I wasn’t propelled into the atmosphere, myself.
Five or so minutes later, when I could focus again, I reassessed my situation.
Kirk: Status report, Mr. Scott?
Scotty: Cap’n, we have warp core ejection completed; cleanup operations in progress. Activating the internal Purell phasers.
Kirk: Damage report?
Scotty: Hull integrity at 100%. But the boys down here are beat. Can I offer them an R&R trip to Fubar-3?
Kirk: Negative, Mr. Scott. We still have to make it to Home Base. But once we do, I’ll send the whole engineering crew on a fact-finding trip to Planet Cleavage.
Cleanup operations… that would be a bit troublesome. In my haste to relieve The Little Man, I neglected to check for TP; not that it would have made a difference, mind you. But now, I had to consider what I was going to do.
I checked the little cabinet they had in there, but there was nothing helpful. The wastebasket by the sink had a lot of paper in it though. And in fact, it also had at least 3 empty toilet paper tubes. That not only told me they don’t empty the trash very often, but that they use TP to dry their hands. That would have to do. What could I say, it was either 2nd hand paper, or have to burn a perfectly good hankie.
Anyway, I made it home just in time to check in for Round Two, and eventually Rounds 3-6. It was an ongoing process. I almost had to pass up going to the sports bar to watch the Steelers on Sunday, but the old warp core seemed to have calmed down. Although all things considered, the way the Steelers played yesterday, watching the game from a “docking station” might have been more appropriate.
So, with another horrific intestinal experience in the bank, I can only conclude one thing: Never go to an Orioles game with Sitcom Kelly again.
Oh, and always be good to The Little Man. You never know when you’re going to need him.