Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I Think That Girl's Throwing Up

Grebe's not so subtle observation on the streets of New York City's Little Italy momentarily landed us in some hot and foul-smelling water. More on that later.

Ladies and gentlemen, it finally happened. After years being one of the Metropolitan area's biggest Dallas Maverick fans and grinding through a couple of heartbreaking seasons, a great many solid seasons, and one magical championship run, I, Tom Policastro, have finally seen a Mavs game for myself. The game itself was a tremendous experience, though, I'm not sure if ironic is the proper word, (I'll ask Nick Pappas later) but I did find it interesting that my first Mavs game comes during a season of transition, where for the first time in many years not only are we not dark horse title contenders, but not even playoffs bound. That sentiment's a touch defeatist, but I'm also a realist. With that said, didn't leave my pride in the team or excitement for the contest the worse for wear. 

I probably should have mentioned whom they were playing and where and whatnot. Anyway. the Mavs were in Brooklyn to take on the Nets and Wong had the great idea a couple months back to get a big group of our friends together to see a game. I would have went regardless of the matchup just to see NBA ball, unless the Bobcats are playing, but to see Dirk, Trix, VINCE CARTER, and the rest made the entire trip irresistible.

Wong, his friend Matt, and I made the journey to the BK out of Ronkonkoma, and as most of you know, train rides rarely fall short in producing memories as lasting as the times had at your destination. This time was no exception as no sooner was I in the train station ordering tickets (just in time for the rate hike. Yes!) than a laughably exasperated woman cut the line and began scolding/shouting at the man behind the window for giving her the wrong ticket. Now, as a customer service rep myself, my heart instantly went out to the guy. I really don't know if the woman was right, or the guy behind the window, but I've seen the extremes of a customer being right and a dick about it, right and a sweetheart about it, wrong and a dick about it, and wrong and sweetheart about it. Mistakes happen. No matter who makes them, Customer Service wouldn't exist without them. I will say this, though, the fact that this woman...

1. Cut the line in an interupting fashion

2. Was yelling at the guy like he was an idiot

3. Said "You didn't listen" literally five times before actually getting to her problem.

4. Said she was "on the clock" like her time was more important than other people's. (You'll have to take my word on her tone.)

made her instantly out of line. What was cool was, people on the line started scolding her immediately and the guy behind the window, an older man, clearly had enough clout that he didn't have to care about a stern letter or supervisor and fired right back, basically calling her out on being rude and a nut. Awesome to see those tables turn. A bit more to the story than that, but you largely had to be there. In the interest of time, moving on.

While on the train, I heard the already infamous "Harlem Shake" song. A song which, by itself, is not all that interesting or good, to put it bluntly. I did, however, get pretty jazzed when I heard it because I thought we stumbled into a viral video attempt that I, all shame and modesty aside, would have joined immediately. Regrettably, it was someone's ring tone and to make matters worse, it went off several more times on the train. Hearing the tune without the pending payoff a spontaneous dance party was irritating to say the least.

The Atlantic train lets you out pretty much right next to the Barclays Center, a wonder that lives up to it's hype. The place is state of the art, as you'd expect, but what I particularly enjoyed about it is that the surrounding area is still very much Brooklyn, with everything from run down bars and even a boarded up "haunted house" right across the way. Charming is a strong word and I think I'm over romanticizing the experience a bit, but how juxdaposed the arena was with it's surroundings was really intriguing to me.

Really not doing a great job setting up these stories, but the trip to Brooklyn also gave me a chance to catch up with a couple of York friends in Kev, Doug, and a visiting Brett. How it felt to see them as they entered the Black Sheep Pub is tough to put into words. Surreal in the best way possible, I guess. With the exception of a couple meetings with Kev, and a Jake Albus visit years ago, my York and Long Island worlds don't often collide. Again, at that point it could have been the beer romanticizing the moment, but it was great to exchange some introductions and just plain see some friends I hadn't seen in close to a year. Great to catch up with those guys in every way. Unfortunately, we couldn't quite align after the game to continue the festivities, but I look forward to our next meeting.

The game itself was pretty straightforward. I couldn't give you the play by play if I wanted to and you would want to read it if I could. We came to play, which was a relief, and a game where Dirk and VINCE CARTER carried us was about all I could ask for as a first time/long time fan. I was surprised how well Mavs fans traveled and there was definitely some more Mavs love in the stadium than I expected. It was a little hard to feel that love when Grebe and Wong shouted "sit down" at the top of their lungs every time I got up to cheer something, but I guess Dirk's appeal is pretty worldwide and I think during that title run we kind of became America's team for a couple weeks as we thwarted the then villainous LeBron and Heat. Directly behind me was a pretty adorable four or five year old yelling "Mavs stink" and other unpleasant things. I, obviously, said nothing and got the last laugh, but a couple times did look back at his parents as if to say "Are you kidding me here?" A very good-natured ribbing.

As Wong expected, our group of 14 immediately broke off from one another and I found myself with Wong and his friends from school heading back towards Manhattan. We stopped in a bar called "Coyote Ugly." Being that a movie was named after the place, I was a little disappointed with the venue. I don't know what I was expecting really, but there wasn't much to it. Not that I need my bars to have substance (other than alcohol, of course), but I guess I just expected Tyra Banks at the door to welcome me with John Goodman saving me a beer. Anyway, one thing they did have there was a punching bag designed to measure the power of your punch. All sarcasm aside, I can't say I expected to be any good at it and had no desire to get involved. Most guys who did it (not as much of a meathead activity as you might think, as the participants were pretty casual about it) were scoring between 550 and 750. The record was 920-something and of course, Wong had the idea that we should both toss our metaphorical hats into the ring and give it a try. I told him I had no desire to swing, but Wong wouldn't take no for an answer and threw in the dollar to punch away. He scored somewhere in the upper 400s and considering he had one arm in a sling, I was pretty impressed. I again told him I had no desire to swing, but he threw in another dollar and kind of forced my hand. I swung and got a pretty modest 185. I'm willing to chalk up some of that to a bad punch and the fact that my heart wasn't in it, but let's be honest, it wasn't going up much higher even if the wind were at my back. Kind of like when people don't like pictures of themselves. Yeah, I guess the photo could showcase you better, but at the end of the day it's a photo of you. Needless to say, I quickly tried to get lost in the crowd and when Wong went to talk to me about it. I said something like, "I didn't pay for it." It was the closest thing to a Pulp Fiction "they're your clothes motherfucker" as I've ever pulled off. Good times. For the record, the bouncer assured me I was nowhere near the worst score he'd ever seen. So there's that...

After that we hit a couple of bars where the dancing shoes came on. Usually my cue that the night has hit its apex and I should start winding it down. In one bar, Biscuits and I pretty much had a dance lesson/off with a bouncer where at least a couple other people who tried to join were unceremoniously shoo-ed away. In hindsight, probably the funniest point of the night, but in the moment it was just the state of the union. I then had a dance off with Grebe at the Spring Lounge. Results were inconclusive.

As we were heading back to Grebe's to recharge some, Francis took the time to pick up some Milano cookies at a corner store and was kind enough to share. We each had a couple and at the risk of embarrassing him, Frank took a spill on the sidewalk and sent his remaining cookies violently to the street without so much as getting a hand out to break his fall. Biscuits seemed more concerned about the state of the cookies than Frank, I don't think Wong acknowledged it happened, Matt dutifully checked on this friend, and Grebe and I toed the line between laughing hysterically and showing concern. Frank get pretty upset with the situation and actually threatened to go home, but Biscuits stepped up and got him some band aids and convinced him to stay.

We hung out at Grebe's for a bit and then headed back out in the night. Just outside of Grebe's apartment, we saw a girl with her friends who was a little worse for wear and was vomiting on the street while still walking. A feat as impressive as it was pathetic. Grebe in his haze (a haze we all shared mind you, not trying to paint myself as a saint here) pretty matter-of-factly stated this blog's title and sent this girl into a rage. She immediately stumbled towards Grebe with violence on her mind and venomous words flowing from her mouth. At this point she was not vomiting (now that would have been admirable and terrifying). We then stumbled over a bit more surefootedly (only a little) to get Grebe out of the area. It should be noted Grebe wanted no part of instigating her and did nothing to provoke her further, we simply turned Grebe's slow walk away into more of a jog. I can't stress enough that Grebe was not aggressive physically or verbally with this young woman. He was just kind of guilty of making a pretty sensitive observation within the wrong person's earshot while she was in the wrong state of mind. Having successfully gotten Grebe out of the ordeal, I notice Wong is nowhere to be found. I turned around and saw him about half a block back still chilling next to that girl. I doubled back to move him along and the rest of the night progressed without much incident.

Overall, a successful night with good people. Some other nuggets here and there, including Wong saying goodnight to Francis and me, and leaving with an umbrella he probably could have used the night before, but nothing worth writing home about. *laughs for sixty seconds at his own joke* I'm fortunate to have such great friends with which to share these moments and while this lost its relevance five paragraphs ago, go Mavs.  

Song of the Day: Miracle Sun-Anthony Green (The binge of this cat I've been on is remarkable, considering how casual my fandom of his work is usually.)

Jazz Song of the Day: Sweet Georgia Brown-Anat Cohen