AUTHOR: Beth TITLE: DATE: 5/28/2004 09:31:00 AM ----- BODY:


I don't care I don't care I don't care I don't care I don't care Care if its old I don't mind I don't mind I don't mind I don't mind I don't mind Mind, don't have a mind Get away Get away Get away Get away Away, away from your home I'm afraid I'm afraid I'm afraid I'm afraid I'm afraid Afraid, afraid ghost --Nirvana, "Breed"
Oh, you know it's going to be a cheerful entry when it starts off with Nirvana lyrics. So just assume the position, because here comes the angst. I am officially in a funk. My emotional maturity has suddenly plummeted to three-year-old levels. It would probably make me feel better right now, actually, to lie down on the floor and scream and embarrass an adult in the middle of a grocery store. So far this year, my pacifier has been the Red Sox, and they were a nice little escape until I realized with awful clarity last night that that's exactly what they are. I worry about Nomar's Achilles tendon and Trot Nixon's lower vertebrae rather than the fact that I haven't written anything worthwhile in a month. I worry about Pokey Reese's fielding percentage and Mark Bellhorn's strikeout-to-walk ratio instead of the fact that I'm going to be 24 all too soon and I'm still trapped in my parents' house, still trapped in a dead-end job, going nowhere fast. "Well," I sighed to my mother last night. "If I'm still living here when I'm middle aged, at least I'll be able to take care of you guys, 'cause you'll be old." "Wow," she replied. "You are in a funk." Yesterday afternoon as I sat typing about variable frequency drives and worm-box gear reducers I was suddenly gripped with a strange wanderlust. I wanted to get in my car and just leave, go to Boston and see if I could get in to Fenway Park, and if not, if I could get into the Cask and Flagon, and if not, if I could just wander around the streets for a while. I thought about it long and hard, thought about how I should seize the moment, how al Qaeda could bomb the Fens this summer, and we should enjoy things while we have them, how I'm just a waste of space right now with my zombie routine of get up, go to stupid job I don't care about, go to second job that sucks, come home, obsess about pathetic sports franchise, go to bed in childhood bedroom, and last night I should do something Different. Something New and Exciting. Then I thought to myself that I'll be going to the Sox game Monday, that I've been invited to several parties this weekend already, that just last weekend I was out howling at the moon in the Burg, and that plenty of people are content to just go home and watch the game on television, and not everyone needs to perform deep Freudian psychoanalysis on themselves about being a baseball fan, for Chrissakes. But as we know, my brain has no off-switch, so as I drove home I came to the crushing realization that I have become a sports nut because now that I am no longer a student anywhere, I no longer have a collective sense of identity. I have replaced being able to put "Student"--so intellectual, so full of possibilities!--down on forms next to "Occupation" with being able to mark down on my own personal scoresheet, next to "Current Reason for Living"--"Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, drinking, that order." My job just doesn't fit, doesn't represent me, doesn't say anything about who I am. That's the problem. I'm completely unfulfilled careerwise, and so I... Wow. Suddenly I'm gripped with the sense that I should just shut up. Oh, well, you get the point. Just as I was at the height of my caustic self-reflection, I read an article about baseball that changed my perspective somewhat:
I've missed him this summer. Last Saturday there was a series against Chicago, and it was a beautiful day, just that kind of day when you're supposed to be outside, but I figured, if he had been pitching, I somehow would have cheated on the weather -- maybe told my wife that I was working on a book -- and stayed inside and watched the game. But Pedro wasn't there, so I was forced to be something of a grown up. I went fishing with my pal Allan LaFrance, who is a builder on this island and a friend for 20 years, and his friend Pat Taaffee, a carpenter. We went off the Great Point Rip on a gorgeous day and the water was alive with fish, bait fish everywhere, and the big fish trying to nail them. When we caught a blue, the baitfish and the miniature sand eels they had already hit, still undigested, would come out immediately. I've fished here for more than 30 years, and I don't think I've ever seen so many fish in the water. We had a strike or a follow on almost every cast. We caught and released more than a dozen blues and even took two good-size stripers. If you can't watch Pedro pitch on a perfect day in July, this was not half bad as a substitute.
Sometimes you have to just respect what you have in front of you, I guess. It's not such a bad life being able to go home and lounge in front of the TV; I could be a Palestinian, after all. So there I was, at the end of my personal odyssey yesterday, sitting in front of the TV with the cat on my lap, my entire field of thought filled with how completely perfect and adorable she is. Her delicate ears, her subtly pebbled little black nose, her wide emerald eyes. I don't know what I'd do without that cat, so warm and snuggly with me on quiet nights at home. Suddenly I was overcome with the need to cuddle her. I bundled her into my arms, which she usually likes, and gave her belly zerberts, which she also usually likes, or at least tolerates. This time, though, she clamped her sharp little teeth right onto my face around my right eyebrow. Hard. It hurt like a motherfucker, too, to the point where I had to deliberately control myself from throwing her across the room in pain and aggravation. Instead I removed her from my forehead and set her down as gently as I possibly could, suddenly thinking for whatever reason of how my sister would laugh at me if she were there (and she's definitely laughing now). A little while later, the storm cloud above my head now actually visible, I stalked into the kitchen, where I flung something sarcastic in my mother's direction. "Oh, Beth, just stop it," she said in the exasperated yet loving tone only mothers can pull off. "You want to bite my face, too?" I challenged her, my every pretense of emotional stability now gone. "Just do it on this side, 'cause the goddamned cat already took care of the other one." Update: Just got an e-mail from my sister. The subject line? "LOL!"