To write about anything right now other than the election and its aftermath seems small and irrelevant to me. It’s felt that way for a while, so I let the blog go dark. Sure, I have some thoughts about the current state of the union, but mine wouldn’t be anything other than another voice bouncing around in the echo chamber. I am profoundly sad and very scared. Nothing original.
Since the election I haven’t written a thing.
But this morning I got up and had a thought: the only way to move on is to move on. Which for me is to write. That’s what I do. I tell stories. I believe in the power of storytelling—in its ability to take you from one place to another—and that remains true, even in a world that’s been turned upside-down.
There’s a story that I’ve been wanting to tell—a small one, that doesn’t involve any apocalyptic predictions or course-correcting diagnoses for the world. It’s just about this one perfect day I had last month, and it won’t unwind the clock or make me any less scared about where this country is headed.
But I’m going to tell it anyway because it’s all I know how to do.
Last month, for my boyfriend’s birthday, I took him and his kids to a Giants game. Full disclosure: I’m one of those idiots who takes sports way too seriously—a don’t-talk-to-me-for-a-while-after-my-team-loses kind of person. So I was not in the most generous of spirits on game day, given the fact that the Giants were skidding off the road with 3 consecutive losses. I was angry that I’d invested so much money in a game that might well be the nail in the Giants’ coffin. I only briefly considered putting the tickets back on Stubhub and taking everyone to brunch instead. It was such a nice day though, I figured what the hell.
For anyone outside the Jersey area, October 16th was a perfect fall day. High 60s, mostly sunny. No precipitation, no wind—just perfect, crisp warmth.
We pulled into Giant’s stadium around 11:00 and I witnessed tailgating culture in the flesh: lunatics in pinstriped Giants-themed suits and blue face-paint. School buses painted Giants-blue. RVs and flat-screen TVs and Giants’ flags. Barbecue smoke from hundreds of grills, the smell of grilled burgers and sizzling red meat—and the sight of it all as seen through the hazy gauze of the grills’ swirling heat. I tried to take it all in.
We sat in the back of my boyfriend’s Isuzu Trooper and watched him get the grill going, as his kids and I complained about how hungry we were, and then shrugged when he asked all three of us why we hadn’t eaten more before we came. We watched as he cooked the meat he’d been marinating for days, and then ate the most succulent ribs I’ve ever had.
Then it was game-time.
The neat thing about desperation is that it lends itself to a very exciting energy: everyone in MetLife Stadium knew that a 4th straight loss would effectively mean the end of the Giants’ season—and the frenetic energy of that knowledge was palpable the whole game.We lost our collective minds when a terrible call let the Ravens score with 2:00 left in the game. Let me tell you something: screaming obscenities in unison with 80,000 other people is a pretty powerful experience to have.
“Even if they lose, this has still been a good day, right?” I leaned over and asked my boyfriend, who just rolled his eyes at me.
“Of course, you lunatic.”
He was probably right, but we’ll never really know the answer to that question.
Because thirty seconds later we lost our minds again when, on 4th down, Eli hit Odell Beckham Jr on a quick slant and OBJ took it 70 yards for the winning touchdown with a minute and a half left in the game. Those blue idiots were going to pull it out and keep their season alive.
The ride home was quiet. We rolled the windows down and Springsteen’s raspy voice filled the car as it glided down the NJ Turnpike. I leaned my head back and watched the lavender sunset pull the day to a close. The day had been perfect. For all the complaining I do about wanting my life to be better and more and bigger, here was a moment that was just exactly enough—and the truly remarkable part was that I was able to recognize that.
Like I said, it’s nothing earth-shattering. It’s just a story I wanted to tell before the world ended, and I figured now was as good a time as any to tell it.