Big Question Marks

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The 1st Rule of MLB is -- You Don't Talk About MLB!

I was on my way to a snazzy office building in the CBD (central business district), to drop off some paper work to my 'handler'. Nothing big, just business forms and such, the usual paperwork anyone goes through when signing up with a temp agency. Like most days in downtown Melbourne, it gets hot and bright, so naturally I have my water and my Jays Cap on, pushing through the crowded streets.
In heat this bad no one smiles, it's all looks that cows make when they're cooped up in a pen. Blank stares, slow blinking, anything to save energy really.
You relish the time you have to stop at the intersection while the lights are changing, take a swig of warmer-than-pee water that was ice cold when you left the house. It's in these weird moments time crawls by, giving you what seems like eons to glance around and realize that you're the only one glancing around, studying all those jack-arsed faces - looking forward, slack mouths, blinking slowly, and trying to save energy.

On my return glance across the street is where I saw him, staring right into my eyes. It's the intrusive stare, the kind you first look away from but peek back to see if they've caught you. Yup, you're caught, next it's confusion; "Why me? Is he staring at me?! Maybe he's looking at someone behind me!".
The last thing you want is to be stopped by some crazy in the street that pulls you aside to preach about Mother Mia the Moon Goddess - especially in this heat. So you stare ahead like the others, focus on the walk light. But he's there, staring. Determined to make eye contact again, you can see him just out of the corner of your eye, staring you down like a mean old bull.

It's just before the light changes that I get the guts to look him in the eye with all the machismo I can muster.
Finally I clue into what's going on. Melbourne city dwellers hate wearing baseball caps. With all the heat baking my brain I wonder how I could've missed it. Looking over all those blank faces you'll never see one baseball cap - let alone an MLB cap.
The sea of colliding people stream toward each other from opposite sides of the street, bringing with it the staring dude-- wearing an Oakland A's cap, the green one with a bright yellow 'A'. A giant smile cuts across his face, mine too, our unspoken 'secret handshake'. Before the two sides meld, we both exchange a quick nod, then we're lost in a fury of people pushing, crossing, you have to keep up or be lost in the mess. On the other side safe, I look back briefly - nothing.
And for the 6 blocks I can't stop smiling.