I am writing this from a hotel room in my old stompin' ground – Toronto. Hard to say where home is anymore, but every corner of this particular city has a freak flag flying that says, "Hey Schultz, remember that time...". Some corners I want to drive by very quickly in case they recognize me. On others I want to sit and soak it all in.
Being here with a gang of 13-year old boys makes it all the more surreal. They are for the most part, wide eyed and eager to shop 'til the puck drops. I hate shopping. I want to take them to see the new Art Gallery of Ontario, and to Chinese bakery near U of T for an egg bun, and to the Morrissey for a beer (but it has gone the way of Bud the Spud) and "up north" for a chilly dip in Georgian Bay. But this is their time, not mine.
Last night, we went to a Blue Jays game. Talk about memory lane. I love baseball. But I love the ritual of baseball, and people watching, hot dogs, and die-hard baseball fans, even more than I love the game. I admit to coughing up a fur ball when I saw the ticket prices! Back when I was a regular, 15 bucks would get you decent seats and you could smuggle in your own beverages. Ah, Exhibition Stadium. Those, were the damp, sunburnt, smelly, glorious days of summer and academic probation.
The Sky Dome. Well, let's just say whoever fills Bud the Spud's parking spot will have big shoes to fill.
I am sure memories are being made at the Dome. I watched 20-something boys having a great time together. No girlfriends, no worries. But the old antics on Blue Jays Opening Day at Exhibition Stadium still make me laugh. Once, and don't tell Jack, I wore a backpack on backwards and smuggled in a case of beer pretending to be a pregnant woman. My friends roared as security moved the turnstyle for me. My gang of merry pranksters would laugh for nine innings, and into the night. Not ever really sure who won, but it didn't really matter.
The Rogers Centre is nothing short of fantastic, but to me, it's just not baseball without the elements. And it ain't no Wrigley Field. But it is baseball. Last night, I settled in with my beer, got myself some dinner (peanuts in the shell) and just started looking around. So many men. So many groups of men in well-tailored suits, wearing baseball hats. And hysterically funny, heckling fans. I loved it all. I love men. I haven't been that relaxed in way too long.
I had to leave the game early to get some real work done, and it went into extra innings, so by the time Jack got back he was in love with the Blue Jays and I was in love with being away from our home, back here at my home.
We all need a break. Here's a $9 plastic glass of lukewarm draft beer to you, Bud and Mrs. Spud.
Things change, but memories we carry around with us. Like happy cellulite.