Friday, October 29, 2010

Life update

I haven't had much trouble sinking into this World Series like a comfy couch. Many Reds fans say they are having difficulty with this postseason because of the Division Series loss. I, on the other hand, have had no problem, probably because I never could believe the Reds were in the playoffs in the first place.

We're all so excited for next year that we all wish we could skip the off season. But don't forget! The off season is what makes Opening Day such a holy day! The waiting and anticipation contribute the appreciation for the game - if it were baseball season all year around, it wouldn't be so special. But while we sit in the darkness with our artificial heat and our dried out winter skin, the baseball clock seems as if it stops.

I'm skipping winter this winter. I'm traveling again - back to Beirut, back to the functional chaos of a conflict-prone state, back to my friends with their bullet-riddled psyches and their broken Lebanese souls, back to Hezbollah and Fatah al-Islam and the Salafi jihadists coexisting with wealthy capitalists and pious Christians and scantily-clad women and communist students and Buddhist bartenders.

I'm going to be doing a lot of writing while there, and I vow to update this blog at least twice a week as well as my travel blog, Travellingrox. I'm over my baseball-doesn't-matter-when-people-have-no-food-to-eat stuff, and I will write about why over the course of the next few months. Until I leave, I will enjoy this World Series, and though I am root, root, rooting for the Giants, I hope Texass can win a couple of games to extend it a bit.

You all can enjoy scraping your windshields and driving 30 miles per hour in a 55 zone over icy roads and shoveling your sidewalks and freezing your butts off. I'm going to the Mediterranean sunshine, where fifty-five degrees is bone-chilling and palm trees have Christmas lights and...oh! Christmas in Lebanon! A new experience! I love seeing the way other countries celebrate Christmas. (Yes, Lebanon has Christians - 30% of the population is Christian.)

All of this warmth comes at a price, however, for when the cold rains of February cascade from the gloomy Midwestern sky, the jubilance of rebirth becomes a glitter in a baseball fan's eye. Oh, who among us has not been filled with joy at the sound of the words "pitchers and catchers report?" The sight of these exalted beings, their shiny red shirts covering their wintry white skin until their arms turn brown from the glorious southern sunshine...a symphony for the soul!

Part of the joy Spring Training brings us has to do with suffering through winter. When you don't suffer through it, that joy is suppressed, as I found out last spring. But I was new to Beirut then. I had been in country for three weeks when pitchers and catchers reported, had no internet access in my residence, and didn't know where to go to get good enough internet to watch Spring Training games. Oh, but I know now. When I went back last month and it was time for the Reds to clinch the division (did that really happen?), I watched Jay Bruce hit the homer (The Homer?) two days after it happened. And I am just remembering now the guy at one of my cafes asking me if I was watching baseball as I sat there staring at my laptop. He knew. They all knew. It was funny to be watching the clincher in the same city I had watched the start of the season. (Though I had watched Opening Day in Cyprus.)

Anyway, being abroad when baseball starts is a bit dispiriting, even with the miracle of the internet.

I made my return ticket for March 30. Obviously there's a reason for that...