Recommended wine for today’s entry: Woop Woop chardonnay. Yes, you read that correctly. And no, it is not a euphemism for an anatomical reference. Woop woop, I’ll have you know, refers to “the middle of nowhere” in Australia, where this wine is made. My friend Beth C. got a glass in Florida and allowed me a sip — it is slightly on the sweet and fruity side, as many Australian chardonnays are, but quite good. According to the Woop Woop Web site, “From delicious, crisp stone fruits combined with hints of lemon blossom and skins of lime, Woop Woop Chardonnay from Vintage 2009 is a medium-bodied, richly fruity, dry wine suited to consumption over the next year or so.”
Flash back 3 years: Four devoted softball moms, hunkered down under anything found in the trunks of their cars, including outerwear so cutting edge that it hadn’t hit the Paris runways yet: trash bags, canvas sacks, horse blankets and extra sliding pants stolen from our daughters’ game bags while they were in the field. Our butts frozen to the cruel metal bleachers. As I recall, my teeth chattered so violently that I bit my tongue, leaving a semi-frozen trail of blood dribbling from the corner of my mouth.
I don’t remember who won the opening weekend tournament, but I do remember that we were not talking about the team’s potential for the upcoming season. We were talking about WARMTH.
Flash to last week: Those four devoted moms followed through on our vow to vacation in Florida for opening weekend just as soon as our daughters all graduated and put the years of softball suffering behind us.
If you are ever given the choice between an early March weekend in Frankfort, Kentucky, or an early March weekend in Tampa, go with Tampa.
But we honored the memories of our daughters’ ballplaying days by venturing to Clearwater for a Spring Training game between the Phillies and Rays.
And that is why it was our daughters’ faults that we found ourselves on the Beach Trolley with the Oddest Agglomeration of Characters Ever Assembled on Public Transport.
For example: A husband and wife plopped down in front of us, prompting my friend Sue and I to frantically begin texting one another: THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU TEASE YOUR HAIR TOO MUCH, mine said, referring to a tangled chunk of pink-tinted hair surrounded by a ring of bald scalp. And from Sue, seated behind the man: WHAT? HE COULDN’T FIND ANYTHING IN HIS OWN CLOSET, SO HE GRABBED SOMETHING FROM HERS? This referred to a mid-riff length mauve plaid zip-up hoodie with 3/4 sleeves, the perfect jacket for a large man on a cool Florida evening.
After 1 1/2 hours, the trolley route finally ended. But we were still about five miles from the stadium, so we found ourselves at the bus station, as advised by
an expert our concierge a friend from Tampa a “tourism” lady, hopped up on caffeine, who plopped down on the edge of my friend Beth’s lounge chair and babbled to us for thirty minutes while we attempted to sleep on the beach.
Even though it was Sunday afternoon, the bus station was scary. Forty-year-olds-on-skateboards-and-old-men-in-trench-coat scary.
Here is an example of an upstanding citizen we met at the bus station: Old hippie, dirty hair, on his cell phone. He is pacing so fast that he is not only traversing the width and length of the station, but roaming the entire city block. All the while talking SO SO SO loudly that we can hear every single word of this brilliant conversation (note: this is not verbatim, but, because he repeated everything at least ten times, it’s probably pretty close):
SERIOUSLY, BRO, I NEED YOU TO COME GET ME. GO GET MY BENZ, MAN, AND COME GET ME. I’M AT THE BUS STATION, BRO, MY OLD LADY IS AT CHURCH, MAN, AND I NEED A RIDE TO MY BIKE. YEAH, MAN, I NEED TO GET MY BIKE. I CAN’T HELP IT, BRO, I JUST GOT TO RIDE FAST. IT’S IN MY BLOOD, MAN, I KNOW I GOT 19 TICKETS IN TWO WEEKS. BUT NO ONE CAN BEAT ME ON THAT BIKE. IT’S THE BOOSTERS MAN, I JUST FLY AND SHIT. YEAH, BOOSTERS. SO GET MY BENZ MAN, YOU CAN DRIVE IT FOR REAL. GO TO MY HOUSE AND LOOK UNDER THE MAT AND THERE’S A BOX. THE KEY TO THE BENZ IS IN THE BOX. GET THE BENZ AND GET ME AND TAKE ME TO MY BIKE MAN. NO THE OLD LADY IS AT CHURCH, BRO.
That is a snippet of the conversation. Wastoids like this scare me more than bullied kids wielding weapons.
So, because we were still waiting for a cab, we almost offered to go to his house and get the key to the Benz that wasn’t just hidden under the mat, because bro, that wouldn’t be safe at all now, would it man? NO, but if you put the key to the Benz in a BOX under the mat, then there is no chance that a desperado would ever find it.
So anyway, we finally made it to the game, which was really fun, back to the bus station, back on the return trolley, where we saw even more comical characters, including a leather-faced man with a bike (no boosters, man) and a GIANT cowboy hat with a feather from a GIANT peacock spouting from its band.
Finally, after a full day, we approached our trolley stop. We collected our belongings — purses, jackets and cell phones.
Then, LUCKILY, we saw this sign:
JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME, I sent my friend Beth W. back to get my screaming child while I rushed to retrieve my steaming hot turkey from the seat I’d vacated.
A couple weeks ago, I might have thought, Now what in the hell prompted THAT sign? Did someone actually forget their baby or their Thanksgiving dinner when they got off the trolley? But that was a couple weeks ago. Today, I’ve seen the Oddest Agglomeration of Characters Ever Assembled on Public Transport. And I know why they have to have signs like that.