I don’t know how the rest of you withstood the past eight weeks. It was May and it was 38 degrees. Then it was June and it was 38 degrees and also pouring. I attended a nephew’s after-season baseball tournament in sweatpants, watching the soccer moms hunch into their lined leggings and five dollar lattes. Spam emails offered me opportunities to “escape the heat” when I required a parka to enter the basement. It wouldn’t end. It wouldn’t end. It wouldn’t end. I begged the Lord. It wouldn’t end.
When it did end, last week, overnight, I didn’t trust it; I was a beaten animal who had been offered an entire dead cow on a very large platter and I refused to approach it, for this was clearly some sort of awful prank. Surely, the sun lived only in fairy tales.
I was exhausted. It was an odd sort of exhausted; not the kind of exhausted that happens after a string of Olympic-viewing all nighters or driving until your eyes are gritty or helping to deliver baby camels or whatever it is people do to drive them to put Red Bull in their bodies. It seemed that every single thing I did was coated with a grimy film of tired. Bedtime arrived before a 6:20 first pitch did. Opening wine required too much energy, so I just plopped a mini-box of raisins in some vanilla extract and hoped for the best. And so on.
This state of being reached its apogee right around the time the Reds were drilling down on a four-game losing streak, just after breaking three games short of .500. The Wild Card race, too, then, was meant only for strip malls in the Bermuda Triangle and Sasquatch bachelorette parties.
The cheapest, least-fattening way I have found to relieve this degree of melancholy is to look up real estate listings. Where? Anywhere. I’ve had 17 addresses in at least the past 15 years. Moving vans don’t scare me, but three solid weeks of rain as the Zip Dip OPEN sign blazes forth does. I find myself attracted to minimalism lately, for the fewer possessions I own, the easier it will be to slam the car door, settle my laptop in the passenger seat, and plug Guam into the GPS. Josh The Pilot can parachute in eventually. The trash is at the curb and I haven’t gotten a newspaper delivered since 2003. Other than my electrolyte powder supplier, I cannot imagine who in Cincinnati could possibly miss my physical presence.
Usually, I run a search for tiny homes and studio apartments in Florida, where it’s warm, or Colorado, where it’s considered mostly acceptable to ride horses into convenience stores. Traumatized by the necessity of wearing a hooded jacket to a mid-June parish festival, I’ve been focusing more on Florida, as far south as I can get without actually emigrating to Bolivia. This involves exploring properties in the Florida Keys, all of which are a bit out of our price range. Once I got excited when I saw a listing in Key Largo on the shore for a mere $185,000, but it turned out to be for a boat slip, and, as I watched the Ohio overnight temperature forecast sink to 52 degrees, I considered it. Did I actually need a boat to live in a boat slip? Couldn’t I just bob around on one of those giant unicorn rafts and find a bar with walls in case of hurricane?
This is Marlins country. Surely the Reds will visit occasionally, with plenty of good cheap seats available for the asking, probably up to and including the dugout if I was willing to forego access to a ladies’ room. But then I felt sad that a rectangle of water was worth several thousand dollars more than the actual physical West Side house we live in, and new friends in Florida never ask what parish you’re from. They just assume you’re from somewhere else, and they’re usually right. Plus, no one knows how to pronounce “Reading Road” properly anywhere but here. So I’ll stay warily put for the moment.
Are you trusting the weather and the land on which we currently stand? Can you credit these brief rises and falls, rises and falls out of last place, like a lung learning to breathe? When I lack certainty, I run; a carefully attuned gut is the hallmark of the nonmathematical mind. But can I even trust my lack of trust? Baseball is a grind, the players are always saying into Fox Sports Ohio microphones– but when the parts of the machine start to slide effortlessly past one another exactly as they should, shiny and efficient, is the usual wear and tear still extracted?
Maybe this fanbase is so exhausted, loss-logged, and beaten by rickety bullpens that a newly mixed team, any team, will seem a tonic to us, even if it’s about as stable as a plot of ocean. But now, right now, with the All Star break upon us and Puig slipping effortlessly over the plate in the stadium lights, it’s best to stay a while.