Half-Crazed at the Foul Line

The nice Asian girl at the bagel shop points at my splint. “Still hurt?” she asks. I nod. She says, “I think you have lost weight, no?” Cue my creeping look of horror. Does she mean good weight or bad weight? Gay weight or straight weight? Is she talking about my face or my shrinking biceps? I want to reach across the counter and shake her for the answer but the CULTURAL DIVIDE BETWEEN US CANNOT BE OVERCOME!

I’m writing this now – a vain, deeply impatient man half-crazed by a deficit of endorphins.

Last Friday I drove down to South San Francisco on a very early Friday morning for an appointment with a hand therapist, scheduled by my surgeon, only to be told by the embarrassed hand therapist that she could do nothing for me until after the surgeon pulled the three pins out of my wrist. Minutes later I was ushered out of the lobby into a back hallway, after I’d begun yelling at a flustered cast technician who’d just given me diametrically opposing information about the procedure for replacing the dingy splint, catching and pulling now against the heads of the three pins sticking out of my wrist, that her co-worker had given me two weeks back.

Later I found myself sitting in an exam room, deeply ashamed and confused by my behavior.

I tried to talk myself back into a state of humility with the fact that the combined doctor and ER visits, pharmacy runs, and surgery had cost me less than $1000.

I’ve wrestled with my impatience, driving the Manly Fireplug to softball practice where I watch from the stands.  I nodded, as if I agreed, when a friend told me that there is always next season, thinking to myself that having watched my mother die at the age of 55, I no longer think that there will always be a next time.

I then tried to remind myself that we were talking about D league gay softball and, like, chill out, dude.

For perspective I told myself that I do not live, say, in Japan. I’ve never seen a tsunami or an exploding nuclear power plant. These thoughts distracted me about as long as you’d guess.

I wrote a story for a local magazine, cobbled together from this blog, about my first season playing softball. Just before I sent it to the editor, I cut out the part about breaking my wrist in the Vegas tournament, because I didn’t want people to pick up on my self-pity.

I decided to be a little less vain here.

My team had their first games of the season, a double header, bright and early this past Sunday. I drove the Fireplug to the field and stood on the sidelines, shivering a bit in the cold morning air, recognizing the nervous looks on some of my newer teammates’ faces.

I’d gone the whole last season, my first season ever, avoiding base coaching, always a bit unsure of the rules. But this year, without anything else to do, I stepped in, figuring like everything else in softball the best way to learn was to just throw myself into it and make a few mistakes.

I stood there just outside the foul line, watching where each of my teammates hit the ball and gauging how far they should run, signaling to them to stop, or to look, or to just plain run. And after each single I’d slap their shoulder and tell them good job, and when the next guy hit I’d tell them to run. “Go,” I’d say. “Go, go go.”

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