Field Goals

When I think about how I spent my time this weekend — eating and drinking with friends, listening to music, watching the Giants beat the Cowboys to gain sole possession of first place in the NFC East — I really have no complaints. These are all great things. Why then, when you ask me how my weekend was, do I sigh and say: "It was okay, I guess"?

Am I simply a sad person? Am I depressed? Is my spirit as dark and as dead as the Giants' offense, as limp and as wobbly as an Eli Manning pass?

I often feel very much alone. It's funny because in those moments when I feel so alone, I'll stop and ask myself what it is, exactly, that I'm missing. What would I prefer?

I was listening to — scratch that — I was completely entangled within Stevie Wonder's wild and beautiful Talking Book when my dad called. I hadn't heard from him in months, and I probably wouldn't have answered the phone had I recognized the number. I actually thought it was my mom; their numbers, ironically, have the same area code. I was surprised to hear his voice. Surprised, but not happy. I lowered the volume on the Arcam Solo and took the phone to the bathroom, where it is quietest. I stood in front of the mirror, listening to my father's voice.

It sounds so much like mine. Or, I should say: Mine sounds so much like his.

Initially, I thought that he was drunk. I guess I always kind of assume that he is. In this instance, as in others, he did not have command of his words; he stumbled a bit and slurred. By the end, however, I decided that he must have been nervous. He was calling to ask if I'd like to visit him for Christmas. He was worried that this might conflict with any plans my mom might have, and he did not want to upset her. Come to think of it, he would even invite her. Everyone will be there, and she knows them all, anyway.

"Sure," I said, "I don't think that'll be a problem."

I'm not certain how or why it came up, but, during the course of the conversation, my dad was able to ask: "So, what about you? Any women in your life?"

"No," I told my father. "Lots of friends, but not what you mean."

***

On my way to see the Black Hollies opening for Ted Leo at Webster Hall, I ran into a woman who bartends at the pub below my apartment. She asked me: "Did you and your girlfriend ever find anything to eat that night?"

I was confused. I started to explain that I don't have a girlfriend, when I remembered coming home with her [the mysterious "her" that many of you are so sweetly interested in] after the Bright Eyes show. We were hungry. The thought of having a girlfriend, however, was nice. I decided not to explain otherwise.

"No," I told the bartender.

***

At Webster Hall, Melissa saw Emily standing with my group of friends, and I got the feeling she noticed one of those things that girls are so good at noticing. Because she asked: "So, is that your new girlfriend?"

Again, the question confused me.

"No," I told Melissa.

I looked back at Emily for a moment, before continuing: "She's actually my old girlfriend."
"Oh," Melissa said. "It's nice that you can still be friends."
I nodded: "It took a little while."

***

I often feel very much alone. It's funny because in those moments when I feel so alone, I'll stop and ask myself what it is, exactly, that I'm missing. What would I prefer?

I have an idea of what I'm missing. People keep reminding me.

There was a salesperson here at Primedia who would preface all of his phone pitches with "I'm not the kind of guy to make sports analogies, but..."

I think of him every now and then. I'm thinking of him now, as I write: For kickers and punters, it's a mental thing. It's not just about ability. Sometimes you miss to the right. Sometimes you miss to the left. The trick is to get things going right down the middle.

I sat back down in the center of my orange couch, relieved to be let off the phone, but not unhappy for having had the conversation with my father. I raised the volume on the Arcam Solo just in time to hear Stevie sing:

I believe when I fall in love with you it will be forever;
I believe when I fall in love this time it will be forever.
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Comments
Sarah's picture

this song always makes me cry many many big fat tears

Al Marcy's picture

Love only happens when you are trying to do something else.Try and do something else ;)

john devore's picture

Me too Sarah. Though, since I'm a big brave guy, the tears are small.

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