Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"Arizona Getaway"

On any trip we take, when we rent a car, we always factor in time for getting lost, and going the wrong way.  You might say we have a bad attitude.  We don’t.  It is simply a fact.  When we pulled out of the Phoenix airport, we immediately got lost, and we went the wrong way. 

You might call it a self-fulfilling prophesy.  “We expect to get lost, so we always get lost.”  Whatever.  When it happens every time, you say, “Add fifteen minutes for getting lost and going the wrong way”, and you leave it at that.  On the “up side”, we seem recently to be getting lost for shorter periods of time, and we’re handling it a lot better. 

There is something to be said for perennially messing up.


Before our first dinner at our hotel’s restaurant, our waiter announced,

“We have one item that is not on the menu.  It’s a red snapper {fish} that was flown in fresh two days ago.”

I took a moment to think about that.  “Flown in” already means it’s not fresh.  And “two days ago” is two days ago.  Shouldn’t “fresh” be today? 

I ordered the chicken. 


In my view, anyone ordering fish in the desert is ignoring the signals.


My old friend (we have known each other since we were six) Shelly, an erstwhile sociologist turned Fitness Trainer extraordinaire, has two grandchildren focused on careers in professional baseball, not as unlikely as it sounds as they are both remarkable athletes.  Which is no surprise.  Their Dad was a gifted professional football player; their mother – who grew up in Calgary – is a skater.) 

The older “future prospect” is thirteen.  Talkative last year at twelve, the now taller teenager kept quietly to himself, focusing laser-like on his phone.  The younger “future prospect”, reticent last year at eight, had evolved into an unstoppable torrent of facts and figures.

This walking “Baseball Encyclopedia” – who also, I observed, played a crafty game of “team basketball” – incurred my displeasure only when he proclaimed, concerning the Toronto Blue Jays’ last winning the World Series, “That was years ago!”  That celebrated Pinnacle of Pride took place in 1993 – their second Series Championship in two years, he emphatically adds.  It may seem like “years ago” to him, because it took place eleven years before his birth.  Though it was forty-eight years after mine.


A friend of the family who had joined us at an Italian restaurant was struck down with stomach difficulties.  Apparently, the man could not hold his pizza.


Our hotel’s pool area sported a formidable water slide.  Not wanting to appear wimpy in front of my friend – I had once, on his dare, ridden Space Mountain at Disneyland; my countenance projected a sickly greenish hue for the rest of the day – I courageously climbed to the top of the waterslide, to give it a try. 

I was advised to remain sitting upright, and to land on my feet.  As I pushed off, I was immediately knocked backwards, emerging at the finish, coughing and sputtering, from beneath the water.  Did I shake it off and try again, to improve on my unimpressive first effort? 

Maybe next year.


Dr. M and I went horseback riding.  The most adhering memory – aside from magnificent scenery – was that Dr. M’s horse, “Stilt”, bit the trail leader’s horse – name unrecorded – on the leg.  My horse, “Big Red”, channeling his rider’s personality, remained strategically out of the action. 

I was impressed by my equestriatorial ability to back my horse up.  I had no idea I could do that, until the biting began.


You can tell a ballgame is minimally eventful when the high point is a batter reaching first base on a swinging third strike that gets away the catcher.  Actually, it was pretty great, watching last year’s Rookie of the Year, Steve Trout, rocketing up the line.  I do not, however, think that that explosive moment of action would be enough to get people to start liking baseball.

Eager to pick his brain, I asked the knowledgeable nine year-old “future prospect” if, at this point during Spring Training, the pitchers were ahead of the hitters, or the hitters were ahead of the pitchers.  He opined that normally, the pitchers are ahead of the hitters, but that, this year, it was the opposite.  When I asked why that was, he shrugged guilelessly at the inexplicability. 

I was seriously impressed by his response.  It’s takes a poised professional – or a confident nine year-old – to admit when they’re baffled.


On our return drive to the airport, we knew exactly what we were doing.  When we went the wrong way, we immediately turned around, cutting our standard fifteen- minute mistake to a mere five.

It appears we are getting better.  


I have been "outed" by a commenter.  I said Steve Trout when I meant Mike Trout.  That's what age does to you.  You confuse generations.  Once, when I was talking to a younger writer I was trying to impress, I said "The Flintstones" when I meant "The Simpsons.  That was twenty years ago, so it's been happening for quite a while.  I shall try being more careful in the future.  People might find out I'm old.          

1 comment:

Rory W. said...

"Actually, it was pretty great, watching last year’s Rookie of the Year, Steve Trout, rocketing up the line."

Oh, Earlo, this one needed another draft - Mike Trout was last year's AL Rookie of the Year. Steve Trout pitched for the White Sox, Cubs, Yankees, and Mariners in the '80s.