I saw an email on the Colonial Ward listserv. This listerv, by the way, is a thing in Mormonville in Washington, D.C. It’s a group listserv created by one of the local LDS wards. You can subscribe (whether Mormon or not) and thenceforth receive emails about local events, irons and stereos for sale (I bought both of those off listserv ads) as well as the occasional political diatribe followed by 30 emails reiterating why said diatribe does not belong on the listserv. And when I say that thenceforth you will receive emails, I mean, FOREVER. Because I moved 6 years ago and have gone through the unsubscribe process at least 17 times (THIS IS NOT A JOKE!), and I am still receiving these emails. But let’s be honest, part of me likes knowing that somewhere in Alexandria, Virginia there is a blue cloth shower curtain for sale for $5.
Back to the email. It said something like: “I’m from Boston, yo, and I want to head up there for a Red Sox game in the near future, maybe tomorrow? I can get us tickets to Fenway Park and my parents will put us up overnight if I can find someone (1) with a car and (2) willing to split the gas. The catch is that the whole trip needs to take less than 48 hours on account of my work schedule.” Although I did not know the email sender, who from now on shall be known as Seth (on account of that being his actual name), I knew I could not pass up tickets to Fenway. (I have not tried to get tickets to a Sox game in quite a few years, but they used to sell out about 15 minutes after going on sale.) So I shot an email back, saying, Let’s do this thing! Will (also his real name) and Mark (possibly his real name, it sounds familiar, but mostly all I remember about him is how obsessed he was with using his radar detector to evade cops while trying to break land speed records) were also game, so in just about a day or two’s time we were shaking hands in a parking lot; four strangers headed to the holy grail of baseball stadiums. In the midst of the whirlwind, I paused long enough to tell a few of my posse about my impromptu trip, to varying responses.
What if they’re axe murderers?
My most protective friend, Anne:
What if they’re rapists?
And my boyfriend at the time, David:
What if they’re boring?
After all, 16 hours, give or take, is a long time to sit in a car with boring people. But hey, my baseball love is deep enough to conquer boredom.
Boring, it was not. Aside from Mark’s intense driving — he even wore driving gloves, who does that? (No, seriously, I would like to know if anyone besides this one random guy named Mark that I once drove 20 hours with has ever worn driving gloves!) — there was also plenty of lively conversation. We covered gender roles; career aspirations; how to save the world — or not, depending on one’s preference; dating. The dating talk moved beyond the vague to a scientific attempt to construct the ideal relationship progression: when to hold hands (Seth: Never. Hand-holding is crap.), when to kiss, when to DTR (define the relationship), when to get engaged, when to get married (Me: Never. Marriage is crap; stick with the hand-holding. [Clearly, I have changed my mind about marriage.])
Seth’s parents just happened to live in the quaintest, most beautiful little cottage in the quaintest, most beautiful little town on the South Shore of Massachusetts. I thought about moving there myself for at least 3 or 4 months afterward. The Red Sox game, though now indistinguishable from all the other Red Sox games I have attended, was AWESOME. I even splurged on a “Yankees Suck” shirt, which was going strong until last year when Neal made me retire it. And then, almost as if it had happened too quickly to be real, we were back in D.C. No one was harmed or bored.
I never saw Will or Mark again (I thought that was unrelated to the driving gloves situation, but now I’m unsure). Seth and I, on the other hand, sent each other ridiculously witty emails off and on for the next couple of years. We hit up another Sox game in Baltimore together. We almost hit up a Nationals game. We almost went on a double date. We almost celebrated my 25th birthday together. And we almost went to a concert at Dr. Dremo’s during which, at Seth’s insistence (in order to balance out my too-many male friendships), I met his former girlfriend. It didn’t work out between me and Melissa, but I’ll never forget those 20 minutes we spent yelling at each other in order to be heard over the music. WHERE ARE YOU FROM? WHERE? ONE MORE TIME! OH, REALLY? HOW INTERESTING.
What’s the moral of the story? Subscribe to listservs, many and varied. Go to Fenway Park with 3 random strangers whenever possible. BUT if one of those 3 random strangers has driving gloves, don’t let him be the driver. Visit Hingham, Mass if you possibly can. The Yankees do suck (sorry, Kristin, if you’re reading this). If someone sends you entertaining emails month after month for years, consider dating them (I’m not sure if this advice is for me or him). Hand-holding is not crap. Neither is marriage. Also, baseball. Always baseball.
This post brought to you by getting rid of my shot glasses and surfing through my old (ridiculously witty) emails.