Thursday, March 30, 2017

Allow me to tell you a story about the selective generosity of men.

Today, as I was driving back from my morning swim around 6:45 am, I was stuck behind a Deer Park delivery truck for 4 stop lights. If you know anything about Deer Park trucks and delivery trucks in general, you know that they have little time to waste. Their trucks are full of water, there are deliveries to be made, and the last thing they want to do is dilly dally on the road en route to their next stop. Failure to make a timely delivery potentially could lead to an angry call to their boss, and no one--delivery truck guy or not--wants that type of heart to rain down on them at work. It simply is not a good look.

So the Deer Park delivery guy made it through two stop lights sans incident, and when he got to the third light there was a bit of trouble. The light was green, but there were three cyclists taking their sweet time to get across the street. These cyclists clearly had a red light, but as we all know, cyclists operate under the anarchy creed, and they proceeded to make it across the street at a leisurely pace. The Deer Park drive lost his shit and started both yelling and cursing at the cyclists, who strolled across the street with the looks and movements of individuals who had an abundance of indifference. The Deer Park driver and I ended up scurrying across the street, and we barely made it through the yellow light, but we stopped when we got to the fourth and final red light.

While I was sitting at this light, I noticed there were scantily-clad prostitutes walking around the area (hardly unusual this time of morning). Some were getting out of cars after their "shift" was over, others were longingly peering into cars and trucks hoping to get a new shift started. It is still surreal to me that these ladies opt for this risky behavior, as opposed to selling that thang on craigslist, backpage, or in someone's DM where these things typically go down. But I digress.

Just before the light turned green, this Cadillac pulled up on the other just across the intersection where the truck and I need to be, and he started soliciting the services of the prostitute. They were about 30 seconds into their back and forth when the light turned green. The Deer Park truck was in front of me, and there was no one behind me, so we were the only two people waiting for this transaction to go down. I fully expected this driver to lose his mind and start honking, yelling and cursing at this dude, who was preventing us from progressing on our respective journeys by trying to negotiate and sweet talk his way into some early morning ass from a lady of the night.

But the Deer Park driver did no such thing, and I followed his lead and stayed quiet too. It wasn't like Mr. Deer Park and I were trying initiate our own prostitute conversations because we weren't. And it wasn't like I was in no hurry to get home so that my son and I could get ready for school and work because I was. But I also was amazed at the patience of this Deer Park dude not even a minute after he screamed on some cyclists. After a minute, the prostitute (and her friend I might add which meant this dude was about to really come up before work) got into the Cadillac and drove to some clandestine location I'm sure. My Deer Park friend and I missed the light and had to wait another minute for the next one.

So what did we learn here? Men, no matter how much of an inconvenience it may be for them, will never block another man's attempt to get laid--no matter how illegal it may be.

Lesson over.

Monday, March 27, 2017

My son has been taking swim lessons on and off the last several months, and most of those lessons have come from someone we'll call Kris (his real name). Kris is a graduate student at George Washington University, and he has a fantastic rapport with me and Nyles. He was late to one lesson and he had to cancel another lesson due to train issues but for the most part things went smoothly with Kris as our instructor.

Since Kris is a college student he is a flight risk on some weekends and especially during spring and winter breaks, so when those times came I had to improvise. I reached out to LaJuan, who had been Nyles's first swim instructor before scheduling conflicts forced us to switch. She suggested her daughter Brittany, and I was a little leery of switching swim instructors for a third time, given how kids--especially Nyles--are so married to the idea of structure and uniformity. Brittany quickly assuaged any doubt I may have had.

Kris is a good instructor but he let Nyles dictate the terms of the lesson. If Nyles cried and said he didn't want to do something, Kris would simply move on to another part of the lesson until Nyles stopped crying without revisiting it later. He also allowed Nyles to talk out of turn about subject matters that didn't have a damn thing to do with the swimming lesson. Brittany started the lesson by taking Nyles out of his comfort zone, which pissed Nyles off at first, but it also built his confidence for any additional challenging maneuvers later in the lesson. If Nyles attempted to talk about any of the fascinating things five year olds love to discuss, Brittany would humor him momentarily, and then force him right back on topic. And when it came to the actual swimming, Nyles was more confident and making larger strides with Brittany than he was with Kris.

So last Saturday when Kris returned from his latest trip and sent me a text to confirm our lesson time, I sent him a return text and basically told him that I appreciated his services, but I decided to go with one of his colleagues on a full time basis. It wasn't mean or snarky, just very matter-of-fact.

I got no response.

He sent his initial text at 10:05am, I responded when I saw it at 11:44am, and he hasn't said a word to me since then and it is now Monday morning. At first I tried to be cool and act like his response wasn't necessary, but I am pissed and I plan on calling/emailing his boss. I pay for swim lessons, and Kris isn't an independent contractor, he works for the Jewish Community Center where Nyles has his lessons. He may not have liked what I had to say, but at the very least he could have said "Thank you" or "I understand" or even the tried and tried passive aggressive response "no worries". Instead he's been hitting me with a two-day silent treatment which is what I would expect out of a jilted lover. Now I know I have a temper and sometimes that causes me to have unrealistic expectations about situation, but I do believe I'm in the right here in wanting a retort from Kris.

Am I right?

Thursday, March 09, 2017

I have been watching sports intently for approximately 37 of the 42 years I've been on this precious Earth. The players I grew up watching are retired, dead, coaching or in someone's studio waxing poetic about what they think they know regarding the sport they've been around their entire lives. At some point towards the end of each player's playing career, the athletic prowess they had been able to summon with relative ease gradually started failing them.

The great players like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were able to diagnose the onset of the old man's disease and make adjustments not visible to the naked eye in an effort to extend their dominance. The more marginal players were helpless against the strong gravitational pull of aging---like a piece of food trying desperately to avoid the garbage disposal before succumbing to their inevitable fate and falling down the sink. Perhaps I'm being a bit morbid here, but for any athlete on any level, the loss of athleticism does indeed represent a form of death. The part of their lives which has provided joy, financial relief and mental stability is fading away, forcing them to think about phase two of their lives at an age where people in the "regular" world are just hitting their stride. That isn't an easy reality to get used to at all. Speaking of regular people...

In the past month or so, I have noticed that I am aging. The same watchful eyes that used to notice the signs of aging in my favorite athletes have turned against me, and I'm noticing things going south with me. To be fair, I'm not 50 or 60 years old which when more demonstrative declines in physical appearance start to really kick in, but that is of no consolation to me because I am starting to notice subtle things.

My hairline is starting to erode in the corners, which directly affects how low I can wear my hair. It used to be I could rock my hair at a relatively medium length with a strong shape-up. Now, either my barber has to push my hairline back to achieve that look that I'm used to (which has me looking like a crazy man) or he has to cut it extremely low, which is fine, but it means I can't wait as long in between haircuts. As a result, I have decided to re-grow my beard as a diversion. If I'm Rick Ross-ing it with the facial hair, surely no one will notice that I'm LeBron-ing it up top right?

I've also noticed that I cannot workout once or twice a week in an effort to maintain the figure that I'd like to have. I have to eat right, exercise, sleep, be positive, and even with all that I still may not lose as much weight as I did when I was younger. And if I step up the intensity of the workouts, I may lose weight at a rapid clip, but there will be hell to pay in the soreness department.

Last month at the request of one of the people I write with, I joined a 3-on-3 basketball league. Now to you the reader, 3-on-3 sounds like a relatively low impact brand of basketball, and if I'm keeping it real (is there any other way to keep it?) I too thought this would be the case---but I was dead wrong. Full court 3-on-3 basketball is a grueling affair, especially when the two other team members who are supposed to be the reserves, do not show up and I have to run for 40 minutes (there are two 20-minute halves). Last week that happened and the next morning every part of my body was sore. But it wasn't just the soreness which kicked my ass, it was the length of time it took that soreness to disappear. As I am typing this damn blog entry, my ribs, my back, my patella tendon (I googled to figure out that part of my body) and even my neck are still hella sore, and the next game is on Sunday. When I was younger, I'd be sore two days, then I was ready to roll.

Again, I'm not old, I'm not suffering any serious illnesses and to the naked eye, my appearance is the same. But I look at myself naked in the morning every day, and I'm noticing little things that make me depressed some days, I won't lie. Everyone deals with this, so I shouldn't take it personally but it is indeed an adjustment, and I thought that writing about it would make me feel better and I was wrong.

Happy Biggie Day folks.