Sunday, November 21, 2010

Into the Bright Night, Loudly (part 5)

Before joining the throng streaming out of our well lighted place, I paused at the last "window." Ignoring the prod to move it, move along, I soaked it in: the revelry, the players' jubilation, the crowd, the stadium, lights, the cheers, the emerald grass -- almost looking dew-laden. I paused. This is It. This is why you came, let it be "felt along the blood," to use Wordsworth's phrase. Felt forever, and now: the aftermath of a victorious Game 1 of the 2010 World Series.

Our little underground community continued to exalt but was being dispersed into a diaspora of evangelical true believers.

How to describe the exiting crowd? Raucous, rowdy, manic -- to be sure. But not mean-spirited, not yet. Simply riding a wave of tidal emotions. I made my way past the Juan Marichal statue and then headed toward the Willie Mays statue, icons of history, markers of long-suffering awaiting redemption. Two policemen were standing nearby, watching the crowd, not far from a tented stand where Fox broadcasters were. I blurted out to one officer about how far I had traveled, etc. When you are happy, you just want to tell someone, anyone, everyone. The policeman I was talking to got a nudge from a fellow officer and they had to tend to a commotion. Drunken young lady on the violent side. But no arrests. I apologized to the officer for interrupting his duties, but he was cool.

Then when I get to the Mays statue I see a bunch of activity, some buzzing and yelling. A clutch of young men has climbed and swarmed onto the statue, for some reason chanting "Fuck that shit!" The hostile sound of that remark puzzled me. Was it a rebuke to those who predicted the Giants would fail? A harsh jab at the national media? At the Texas Rangers? I mostly wrote it off to some sort of vulgar hip-hop anthem unknown to me. Next, one of the youths managed to climb atop Willie's shoulders, standing perilously above the cadre of celebrants, if we can still use that word. (I called Craig excitedly on his cell to give a firsthand report on how crazy things were.) Part of me wrote this off to pure excitement; the other part of me characterized it as pure disrespect. But it was "monumental" in the way that fallen statues of toppled dictators make for lasting images; fortunately, this did not end that monumental way.

Voices. Snippets of conversation. An old guy, in his eighties, trudging happily forward with the aid of a walker, accompanied by younger men, some of whom are ostensibly sons. "Oklahoma City," I hear. I counter with Syracuse. Did I hear Vancouver, or imagine it? And is this the type of conversation that is exchanged en route to or from Mecca?

I walked closer to the Fox outdoor broadcast tent, swarmed by chanting fans. One placard said something like: "Shut the Buck up," referring to the Fox master of monotone, Joe Buck. When I got bumped hard and realized it was some drunk falling into me, I knew it was time to go. Who knew how wild this would get? upon departing the premises, I was pleased to see that the Mays statue was no longer crawling with revellers and was not toppled.

I went to the AT&T Park windows that sell Muni tickets. $2. "Excuse me, I need to get to Van Ness. Out near the marina." "Take any one of these trains and get off at the fourth stop." I got conflicting guidance on the street, from cops and local citizens and whoever. "Walk a few blocks to Market." "Take the train." "Take the bus." I was tired, having been standing, I now realized, for who knows, seven hours? Worn out. Upon walking to the train platform, I saw a guy with a "Say Hey" jersey and we chatted. He seemed much more bothered about the statue takeover. I told him about recent books I'd read: "Willie's Boys" and "Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend" by James S. Hirsch.

The train was packed but orderly. I found a much-appreciated seat after one or two stops; talked with a woman who was a partial season ticket holder. Then she got off. When I got to my stop, I was terribly disheartened to find myself by the Walgreen's or whatever it was on Market near Van Ness, the very spot I had walked to on Tuesday after arriving from the airport on the BART. Very disappointing to a tired oldish man. I really thought, naively I guess, that I'd be near Van Ness by my hotel, near the marina. But I was still very much downtown. And it was quiet. A few people waiting for the bus, the same bus I took on Tuesday during rush hour. And quietness in a city is not as welcoming as lots of people, at least for me.

The bus was to arrive in 10 to 12 minutes. I took up conversation with a sane and sober young lady who had watched the proceedings at a party near the ballpark. Works for Salesforce, a marketing diagnostics firm I had had some small interaction with a few years ago. She spoke of hundreds, if not thousands, of employees at the company party. I was so tired. After she indicated she was headed to near my hotel, I suggested we share a cab, if we could. I held my hand out and after not too long, just before the approaching bus arrived, we had a taxi stop for us. Marnie and I shared the cab, I gave her $5, said goodbye, and walked into my spartan hotel room, aching to remove my shoes and lie down. The loud hum of silence.

I "wound down" by savoring Internet accounts of Game 1, trying to fall asleep in advance of a 6:45 a.m. trip to the airport the following morning (which would be the morning of Game 2).

Pleasant dreams indeed.


Anonymous said...

It's Nov 21 now, and it's so sweet to revisit that moment through your writing. Thanks muchly.

(Flap lurker)

Anonymous said...

Hi Pawlie . . . It's late at night here at my Mom's south bay home and I just finished reading all five parts (in order), since I hadn't had a chance to do so previously, except for Part 1.

I love the detail of your journey - it almost felt like I was there, but alas, I know I wasn't . . . sigh. I probably don't have to tell you this, because I believe you sense this also - your episodic journey will be more memorable than ALL the paying fans who attended game 1. Why? Simply because you made this fearless journey from across the country, without hesitation, without a ticket, without regret and perhaps, most important of all, you experienced the game the way a child of the late 1800's and early 1900's probably experienced it - watching the game through a knothole in a fence. Now if that isn't getting in touch with your "inner child," I certainly don't know what is.

Good night friend :-)


Pawlie Kokonuts said...

Touched mightily by these comments; grateful.

Dennis said...

Pawlie, thanks for sharing your wonderful account of the Game 1 experience. A big part of me lived vicariously through your every moment. I had a joyous time as well.

Happy Thanksgiving