Let’s Have Some Group Therapy
Ok. I’m going to be strong here. : deep breath :
They say that talking through your feelings after a tragedy helps lessen the pain. I’ve kept this pent up inside for almost a week. I thought I could feel better. I thought I could forget.
But the nightmare. Oh the pain. It continues.
So I think it’s time I opened up and discussed my feelings. I need to get closure.
This is going to take all my courage.
Here we go.
Last week, it was Tuesday, and I was at the ballpark with The Good Man and some of our friends.
It was a clear, warm August night. The San Francisco Giants were playing baseball against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the crowd was full of anticipation.
My vacation was just beginning and we couldn’t have asked for a better night. A cool breeze played over the outfield and the laughter came easy.
It was the middle of the fourth inning. The Pirates had been sat down and the Giants were up to bat. No hits in the game so far, so I decided to get up from my seat and use the ladies room.
Evidently I wasn’t the only one needing a stretch break in the 4th inning because the line to use the ladies room was really long. But the line moved fast and thankfully, I was able to get my business done and get out of there.
Feeling a growl in my tummy, I walked the length of the third deck of AT&T Park to find a vendor with the shortest line. No luck this night, the food sellers were hopping.
So I just got on line. All you can do is wait. I had nachos on my mind. If you go to the right vendor, they’ll serve you up this tray with two reservoirs. One holds cheese. One holds salsa. Chips line the middle. It’s perfection in a non-recyclable plastic rectangle.
The key to this whole delicious thing is the liquid cheese dispensed from a cheese machine. The nice lady behind the counter pushes a button and cheese comes out.
When the cheese is flowing, you know all is right with the world.
I waited in a long line while some dude in the front bought eight thousand hot dogs and had to contact the International Monetary Fund to get the transaction done. I watched the game on the in-house monitors.
Jeff Keppinger doubled and the waiting crowd sent up a cheer.
Still, I stood in line.
What got me through the drudgery was the thought of the ballpark nachos. So happy. So good. Cheese AND Salsa? Can it really be true?
Finally Hot Dog Boy walked away and the line moved up. The next guy only wanted a beer, and was done fast. One more step forward.
But wait. Something was wrong. Something was amiss.
Something was…out of order.
I noticed one of the ladies who vend the sweet mystery of life that is ballpark nachos was holding a big silver bag and wringing the life out of it.
She was extracting every last morsel of the orange cheesy goodness.
And then I realized. The truth came to roost.
The Cheese Machine had gone offline.
Oh dear god! The humanity!
What will become of us? What can be done?!
I saw a guy come out from the back to install a new bag of cheese into the machine. Then I heard a lady tell someone “It’s going to take a few minutes, the cheese has to warm up.”
I panicked. What should I do?
You are never prepared for an emergency when the terror strikes. These type of situations call for clear, calm thinking.
I considered moving over to another food vendor, but the lines were outrageously long. I’d only have to wait and wait for the dispensary of another cheese supplier. And what if THEY ran out too?
No. Now was the time to be a grown up. I had to become Zen. I had to stand my ground. By god I’d wait for that freaking fake cheese to warm up.
The minutes ticked by at an utter molasses pace. I couldn’t watch the game I was so heart rended by the fear and worry I had. What will become of the nachos?
Finally, after an eternity, I saw one of the vendor ladies tentatively try the button on the now silent machine. Sweet molten cheese flowed like lava from an active volcano. The night was saved! The cheese rides again!
The crowd parted and I stepped right up to the register. “One nachos, please, the kind with both cheese and salsa.”
“That’s a deluxe nachos,” the Goddess in a Green Visor behind the counter informed me as she filled the reservoir with the sweet fake orangey manna from the gods of processed cheese food.
She even gave me a swipe of cheese across the top of the chips.
Yes. Deluxe. My destiny.
I paid the tab and turned away, comforted by the crispy cheesy salsa-y treat.
I vowed to eat every morsel, my spoils in the victory over the thronging masses that night at AT&T Park.
I am a survivor. I am stronger than my fears.
I grew up a little that day.
Image from The Fun Ones.