As much of a tremendous time it was making the trip to Cherry Hill with Sean Taylor and catching up with the illustrious Dennis "Gloves" Madden and his family, I really only have a couple of stories to tell. In short, it was great to meet a couple of Sean's friends and equally great to catch up with the Maddens, who are always very kind when I stroll into town.
At one point, Sean, his friends and I found ourselves in thrift store where I saw this absolutely wild blue blazer that I was moments away from purchasing. In the end, I decided to set it down because the more a thought about it, the less places came to mind where wearing the the thing, as cool as it was, would seem appropriate. This was perhaps a sign of my growing maturity. While we were waiting on line to check out, a television up front was playing the tail end of "The Little Mermaid." While the people with items to check out stood online, I excused myself and raptly watched the last 20 minutes of the movie. This was perhaps a sign of my growing lack of maturity. Also, at one point, Sean's friend asked him to go check the purses for any Vera Bradley bags. Rightfully so, Sean Taylor had no idea what to look for and started reading the tag of each bag, which was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Now, not that I'm proud of this, but due to my sister's appreciation of her style, I knew how Vera stuff looked so I walked over to Sean and essentially said, "don't worry, I got this" and set to work narrowing down the field of purses. This was perhaps a sign of something I'd rather not discuss.
As I said, it was great to see my radio cohort and his family and a couple of his friends I've come to call my own. In a cool collision of worlds, Sean Taylor joined us for a basketball session. After a night of wings and some brews, I headed back to the Madden home to sleep for the night. I was at rest for a couple of hours when I was suddenly being shaken awake by Mr. Madden.
"Tom, Tom, I can't sleep," was all he said for a beat or two.
Now, given the fact that I'd just been roused from my slumber, I was a little unclear as to how I fit into that equation. For a few seconds I genuinely thought he wanted me to read him a story or hum him a lullaby. I doubt the moment was that long, but time sure did seem to slow down as I wondered what the heck he wanted from me.
"I need to sleep on that couch. You can move downstairs," he added after what seemed like an eternity. I pretty much just nodded and gathered my stuff and moved downstairs without really opening my eyes. When I woke up the next morning, Mr. Madden thanked me for moving the night before and we commended ourselves on how quickly and easily we handled the transition. Quite an experience.
Ah, at last it is time for the finale of the post, yet another episode in the Odyssey of Sean Taylor. On our way to Jersey, Sean Taylor and I were deep in conversation and Sean accidentally hopped on the Turnpike heading north. It's a relatively easy mistake to make and we both picked up on it pretty quickly and got off the pike as soon as possible. That's where the fun began.
As we exited, Sean asked the booth operator how to turn around and get on the pike going south. The operator asked where we were headed. It was an innocent enough question and Sean Taylor answered "the Cherry Hill/Philly area" as he handed the woman the money for the toll. The woman then jumped into an elaborate analysis of what exit we should take off the pike and what signs to look for when we did. Sean politely interrupted, saying that we knew all that we just needed to know how to turn around. The woman interrupted Sean, insisting she knew what his question was and again began to, again, explain that we should get off at Exit 4 and look for the Philly pike. Sean, again, interrupted saying he knew all that and just needed to turn ar-- and before Sean could finish his sentence, the woman chimed in again.
Now, until this very experience, I never quite understood why people wrote. sentences. like. this. I mean, I know what the sentence structure is trying to convey, but I never saw the need to express emphasis like that. I don't find it annoying or anything, like the overuse of exclamation points and woorrrddsss typed outtt like thissss!!, but, like I said, I didn't ever have use for it. The lady in the booth changed my life forever.
"Sir! I. un.der.stand. what. it. is. you. are. asking. me."
At that point I was useless and instantly lowered my hat and began giggling uncontrollably out the passenger-side window. from the corner of my eye I saw Sean Taylor raise his hands slightly from the wheel as if to say "what am I supposed to do?" Sean then realized that the woman still had his money and became a very strained form of apologetic. The woman jumped into her monologue for the third time and, at last, finished her 2 minute speech with a simple, "to turn around, follow that sign." A relieved Sean Taylor said thank you and we rolled along in silence for a couple seconds before recounting what had just happened and laughing heartily.
The fact that you knew that both of these people were thinking, "is this person a moron, or what?" at the same time while a line of cars sat restlessly behind them was too funny for me to bear and I won't forget the exchange for a very long time.
Song of the Day: Baby Britain-Elliott Smith
Jazz Song of the Day: Part VII of Keith Jarrett's Testament in Paris Concert.
Second Jazz Song of the Day for the sake of the holiday and my growing musical infatuation with Julian Lage: My Funny Valentine-The New Gary Burton Quartet