Last night, right before we went to sleep, the wife had a tissue and tossed it towards the wastebasket. She missed, badly, as she often does. I took a tissue, balled it up, and gave it my best flick. Swish, as I often do. Lisa rolled her eyes.
Yes, I am a trash can baller. Doesn’t matter the object being tossed, the distance to the trash basket, or the shape of its opening. TV room, kitchen, even outdoors with wind. I can play. My greatest moment was on a rooftop covered in loose stones where co-workers were tossing them at a metal pipe sticking out of the top, maybe two inches in diameter. I walked up, grabbed a rock, and tossed it dead in from ten feet. One and done, I walked away.
I went to college in Washington, DC where my “sport” of choice was jaywalking. Yeah, I had my own version of the X Games, crossing streets where I wanted to, crosswalks be damned. The roads of the nation’s capital are all long and straight, with well-timed traffic lights allowing vehicles to get a good head of steam. And the drivers? Many of them diplomats and taxi cabs who learned a different set of road rules than us Americans.
If there had been an Olympic team for jaywalking, Bob Costas likely would have done a heart-warming profile on me. It wasn’t about how close the car comes to you (that’s just stupid), it was all in the style as you crossed any avenue named after a U.S. state. I was better than anyone, gauging speed and distance before stepping off the curve and never breaking stride or tempo as I made like a chicken and crossed the road. The only time I can remember misjudging and needing to run was on Halloween night my sophomore year, and as the car went screaming past me I said to my friends, “Wait a minute. Was that Senator John Kerry?” Of course it was, and I had misjudged because he was a Massachusetts driver after all.
These skills don’t have to always be physical. As yoga is a mind-body approach to fitness, my final skill is a mind-body version of competition: parking karma. There are few as blessed by the parking gods as I, and for that I feel honored and humbled. I do not mock the parking gods, nor do I invoke their names or ask for their assistance while searching for an open meter in the city. There are disciplined rules to be followed, which I adhere to, and nearly every time there is a space available and waiting for my car. The parking gods do not let me succeed every time and make sure that I must pay tithe to the parking garage masters on an occasional basis. But 20 feet of open curb is often my reward. Don’t believe me? Ask Lisa, she’ll back me up on this (besides, she has subway karma … )
The night I realized my parking gift was a memorable one. I was on a date, racing to a comedy show, hitting every single light just as it changed from green to yellow. And as I pulled up in front of the club planning to let my date out to grab tickets, a car literally right in front pulled away. There it was … TV parking. We jumped out and got the last two tickets before the show sold out. Wow. I’ll be telling my grandkids about that one.
Of course, I’m not great in all pursuits. For example, did I “score” with my date at the end of that night? Of course not, in that area, I had NO game. Don’t believe me? Ask Lisa, she’ll back me up on this.
Previously on The Reluctant Hubby: “The Summer of Slug”
photo credit: Steven Depolo