“Stay at home. Under no circumstances leave your house.”
My father is usually sane about these sorts of things. But I suppose he still is my father.
“At the very least, turn on the TV before you make a decision.”
On the TV I see the storm watch. Tornado warning until 5:45 in Middlesex County. I give in and tell him I will not leave my house until after 5:45. Until the warning is changed up until 8:30. Why doesn’t my father trust I will stay indoors until 8:30PM on a school night? On a night weathermen are warning us not to trek outside into the oncoming apocalypse?
It’s simple. He knows I don’t have cable. And he knows it’s the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals. Last time the Bruins were in this spot, he could have simply sent me to my room if I wasn’t listening. But now I am a grown up. Not really an adult, but I have the responsibilities of a grown person. And the choice.
My roommate listens to my think aloud as we watch the TV go black and hear the storm alarm going off.
“Am I crazy to go or not to go? I will look like an idiot if I get stuck in a tornado. And it will piss off my dad. But if it doesn’t even rain and I’m not watching the game, I’ll feel like a fool. Which is more crazy?”
She tells me exactly what I do not want to hear.
“Well, they are telling people to stay inside on the news.”
“Okay, I’ll wear my raincoat.”
The streets are empty and the sky is black and gold. Not a drop of rain.
Bartender Kills the Radio
I walk to the back of the back, eerily quiet for a big sports night in Boston. I am one of the last to arrive. Most others came from work, and didn’t have their fathers trying to guilt them into being responsible. We have a big booth for a friend’s birthday. The mussels are already devoured; the spinach and artichoke dip half gone. And only one of them is in a hockey jersey. I situate myself the best I can under the circumstances. An hour before the game. And I have no desire to be social with people who clearly don’t know what is important.
After a half hour of fidgeting and picking at nachos, I force a friend to switch places. I tell him I need to sit on the outside, so I can stand at any given moment. Wave my hands in the air at any moment. Curse without scarring a neighbor’s ear during the power play. He switches, out of fear. And I stand for the first two minutes.
In these two minutes a man tells me his drink order. Because obviously any woman standing in a jersey is a waitress. First two minutes no goal. I sit down. Slightly more relaxed. I shift in my seat the whole first period.
At intermission the storm finally begins. The alarms are going off on Fenway. And worse yet. Satellite is gone. My fear realized. This storm could prevent me from watching game one. And for no good reason, for a second I blame my father.
Immediately, everyone with a smart phone has it out on the table. I know the intermission probably hasn’t ended, but I need to know for sure. Many phones aren’t working.
Our waitress informs us the game may take awhile to get back on. I think she might replace all of our glasses with plastic ones. I almost tell her this.
We begin chanting RADIO! And finally they turn on the radio, which is too muffled to make anything out.
A bartender takes the microphone and announces, “So…the Bruins just scored.”
Everyone in the bar is one their feet celebrating. We hug each other. Congratulate each other for braving the storm. Because this is worth it. We look at the lightening over Fenway, and think we are taking in something historic. And we text everyone else we know. Everyone else who is sitting anxiously in a dark bar with a muffled radio. And I imagine those bars burst out into the same excitement.
But nobody’s smart phone updates the new score. And then I receive a text from my father CAN’T SCORE ON A 5-3!
The RADIO chants turn to LIAR. And finally the game returns. One TV at a time. And one by one, we realize it remains 0-0. The lightening outside looks threatening, a few minutes ago it was inspiring.
And in the last twenty seconds we lose. Fans who braved the storm. Fans who were deceived. And none of us our thinking about the state of our homes or the roads. We are still looking to the sky, to make sure it’s a shade of black and gold.