An old(er) man and his wife (probably both in mid-70's) sat down in front of me today at the A's game. Field level seats, on the aisle, allll the way up the stairs behind home plate, well under the overhang (and since it rained today, that was okay).
It took him 3 tries to hook his cane on the seat. He almost got me, but I kept ducking. As I'm sitting there, pre-game, eating my Oriental chicken salad, a small wooden object hit me lightly in the shoulder and bounced off my jacket. I found a tiny red sharpened pencil on the cement floor and tried to hand it back to the old man, but he kept ignoring me. Finally his wife took it from me, thanked me, and handed it to him. I said to him, "You must've thrown it over your shoulder." He wondered why he couldn't find it, took it, and started making marks on his scorecard without acknowledging my existence.
I'm going to be like that when I get older, I thought. Except I'll have a better hat, an A's cap. But I'll have the cane, and I, too, will be sitting close to the exit so that I don't have to climb the stairs.
His scorecard was as old as he was. But since he hadn't gotten through all the sheets, he must not go to that many games a year. But when he does, by golly, he whips out his old scorecard book and keeps score.
He barely talked to his wife all game, intent on getting the plays down on paper. It didn't help either one of us that the scoreboard was obscured from view by the overhanging concrete. He kept leaning forward to see a sliver of the bottom part of the scoreboard, occasionally lifting the binoculars to his eyes so that he could pick up the details.
A woman in an official-looking A's outfit came to our section and started handing out surveys on how well the fans liked the stadium experience. She spoke to him but he didn't hear her. She spoke again, trying to hand him the survey, but he ignored her. Finally his wife reached across him and took the survey and pen. He leaned toward the young woman to see what she wanted. When she said, "We just want to find out how we're doing," he shouted, barely above a whisper, "Here's how you're doing!" and shoved the scorecard in her face. She laughed.
His wife seemed so patient. She watched the game as silently as he did. When they stood up for the 7th-inning stretch song "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," she had difficulty becoming fully erect. He helped her in the last millisecond, a good two-thirds the way through the song. I didn't think it was required of us to stand during this break in our pasttime, but apparently it is.
Yup, I'm going to be just like him. Tottering out to the ballgames. Using binoculars to aid my tired eyes. Keeping track of the players and the action in front of me and ignoring (and not hearing) the rest. If being put out to pasture means going to the ballfield, I'm halfway in the barn right now. Except I've got a better hat.