Gearing up for another Sunday.
ASTORIA, New York City- I felt bad so I got on a train to chase them. My wife and kids were going to this kids event in Madison Square Park. I was going to stay in Astoria and put a couple more hours into the book, but, as I said, I felt bad.
I don’t have much time with my kids during the week. They leave at 7 am and don’t get back to 6 pm. Then we eat. Then they go to bed. Repeat. The weekend is really the only time that we have together. However, the weekend is also when the Bills games are. Saturday and Sundays is gone this week and then next week I’m heading to WNY for then next two games.
Less than a week after that I’m going to Armenia.
Then a week after that …
So I chased them down and watched the Story Pirates perform. My kids really like them. They act out stories that kids make up. The last time they watched them Petra named one of their characters Sir Poops-a-Lot. One of the performers remembered her. “Hey, weren’t you that kid who named …”
After that we just kind of walked around the park. The kids did some art. Petra made a Bills button. I thought she was going to give it to me but then she didn’t.
I don’t really know what to do at these kids fests. All the kids are piled up doing art projects at tables and the parents are all standing around wacking their puds. I just listen to their conversations. Mostly, it’s moms gossiping about BS. One lady was telling her friend about how her boyfriend was taking a trip with another woman. She was worried that they could become closer. “He boning her, dude,” I wanted to say but didn’t.
After that we went back to our apartment in Astoria, ate egg salad sandwiches, and I rode back to Manhattan to go to Public House, which is hosting Bills fans this year. It’s kind of a downtown bro bar whose only affinity to the Bills or WNY is the fact that they like us coming in and giving them money. If they hang a Bills flag from the wall, put on Bills hats, play the Shout song, and serve Labatts at a discounted rate, we’re there, spending money. There are real Bills bars around New York City, but they tend to be pretty far from where I’m staying — it’s over an hour to the Fulton Ale House — while Public House is 25 minutes porthole to porthole. I mostly go to all the games anyway, so I was only there to meet up with the Bills fans coming in for the game, which was again being played in New Jersey (a weird quirk of scheduling had them playing the Jets and Giants on back to back weekends).
When I got there the Notre Dame game wasn’t over yet. So there was this strange overlap of identity at the bar, as it’s also a place for Notre Dame fans. It was odd watching the bartenders shape-shift from one team to the other, but whatever, I was just there to hang out with old friends.
And I did meet an old friend that I wasn’t expecting. Some dude from way back in the day who talked a little about people I used to hang out with in Rochester that I haven’t thought of in a decade-plus.
But that’s kind of what’s interesting about this. As I’ve mentioned many times, Western New York is a small town kind of place and everybody meets up at Bills games. So I show up to things like this and receive a kaleidoscopic sort of overview of my entire social life growing up — from people that I went to school with in Albion to the punks and drunks of Buffalo and Rochester. I never really know who I’m going to meet, which has me scanning the crowds: do I know that dude? Usually, they identify me. At a game in Minnesota last year I met my village cop who used to run the substance abuse prevention program when I was a kid. He’d come into my school and tell us not to do drugs or drink. He was ripped.
The night went as expected at the Public House. It was the designated out-of-town Bills fan meet up — in each city for away games the local fans set up parties for the in-coming fans — and the regular crew was there: Kenny and Co. After a few drinks everybody socially congealed. We talked about the upcoming game and Australian horse race betting and New York City. I met a few locals that I didn’t know yet. We basically started the party that would continue on the following morning at 8am in Lot 26 of Metlife Stadium.
I partied pretty hard when Erik the Pilot was in town. I counted our beer intake and it hit a number that I rarely surpass anymore when not working in the Post-Soviet realm. I believe this took a bit of a toll on me, and I contracted conjunctivitis or blepheritis or some virus or something. Monday morning my eyes were crusty and red. It was an annoying reminder of reality. But it’s clearing up now, and I hope that it will be gone before the game tomorrow.
There is a training tactic that strongmen and even bodybuilders sometimes do that I believe may apply here. Human bodies only get stronger when applied to varying amounts of stresses. We all know that muscles only grown by being pushed to their limits and micro-tearing, but other body systems appear to respond similarly. If you want to lose fat eat extremely well six days a week and on the seventh eat whatever you want. Apparently, this jump starts your metabolism. Bodies get used to routines, so breaking course on a regular basis provides stresses enough to ultimately make you perform better in the end. So I live healthy six days per week and then Saturday night to Sunday evening I drink beer and have fun and watch football.
I don’t know if this really works.
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