When you are far away from everyone you love, you find ways to be part of humanity. Sometimes it is just eavesdropping on conversations while you are sitting alone in a booth having your spinach and mushroom omelette.
The two men over my left shoulder are talking about baseball. Correction: they are discussing baseball with a fervor and passion I usually reserve for music, movies, and my beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders. I’m not going to lie, I have no idea where all these ideas are coming from. They sound like scholars who have spent an extraordinary amount of time dedicated to studying the diamond.
I have purposefully not turned to put a face to the voices. I am enjoying the mystery. I imagine them in jeans, baseball caps, and work boots of some sort. They both have booming, resonate voices which makes me feel like they are not small men. Graying goatees and hair that is just a touch too long to be fussy.
It’s early on a Saturday morning so they are not so young that they can’t control how much they drink on Friday night, so they are not hungover. One of them probably has a pack of cigarettes in his shirt pocket. The other one is a non-smoker.
They speak with an intimacy and have many shared memories and reference points, perhaps they are brothers who meet up once a week for breakfast. That’s a nice thought.
Trades, pitchers, ball fields, Red Socks, Dodgers, Angels, and Rangers. Injuries and errors. The Draft. College. Batting stance and the eye. National League and the other one. Fourteen at bats. Cleveland’s outfielders.
Maybe I should start learning more about baseball. You can carry on quite a conversation about first base. I don’t even think they are using it as a euphemism.
I am nearly finished with my meal. Soon, I will need to stand up to leave. Do I avoid glancing to my left, or do I scope my entertainment out? The suspense is killing me. Maybe I will drop something so I can see if my mind’s eye is close. Maybe I should continue to build the mystery.
Should I give these men names? Tom and Steve. (Those sound like fairly unassuming names for strangers you will never meet.) Toronto… They are talking about Canada! I love Canada. Oh, there is a baseball team there. I wish they would talk about something else.
Ack! Now, they are talking more quietly! The conversation must be more interesting. Nope, it was the Yankees. Is there some conspiracy involving stolen bases and a World Series? What the hell are these dudes talking about? Now, back to the Red Socks. Math and numbers. Agents and contracts.
Manning??? Isn’t he a football dude? Both of them! What the hell? You can’t switch sports in the middle of the conversation. Right handed hitter. Must not have said Manning. Arm span and height. Gee. There are so many boring things to say about America’s favorite pastime.
These guys are baseball spies! Insider trading! Stolen bases and laundered uniforms. Who do you call to report these crimes?
Okay, I know. I’m not that funny. They sure talk about a lot of aspects about the game. They must watch SportsCenter.
Update: I looked. Very average older gentleman. No goatees. Baseball caps in place. Hair DOES look a smidge shaggy. They look nice.