The Bus Stop on Union in the Marina in San Francisco is always a great place to watch a game. It was there I watched Golden State win the NBA Championship last year. I watched the Chicago Blackhawks clinch the Stanley Cup just a day prior there as well. On this particular day, it was empty; my favourite kind of bar. Today my Purdue Boilermakers played the Michigan St Spartans for the Big Ten Tournament Championship.
Purdue lost. It shouldn’t be a surprise cos my alma mater has a way of doing that to their fans. To be a Boilermaker fan means you are a true fan. They are like the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs, maybe even the old Boston Red Sox before 2004, all of those teams famous for finding different ways to break your heart. That being said, this particular team didn’t break my heart because they were worse than Michigan State; then again, maybe Michigan State was just better. And so we lost. Earlier in the year, we won. Barely. In overtime, as MSU forced extra time after a furious rally coming back from an earlier deficit to my Boilers. I’ve a feeling we will meet again in the tournament. March Madness is about to start. Michigan State has every chance to be an overall number one seed, though I’m sure my dear Jayhawks fans will have something to say about that. (Postscript. I would find out that MSU didn’t even get a #1 seed, let alone an overall #1; that’s going to hurt Sparty fans, and in my opinion, a travesty.)
What I’ll remember most about this loss wouldn’t be the game itself but rather my time with my two close friends Brandon & Lasy. Like my moments with the other people I hold dear in my life, the last few hours were spent with laughter, love, and life. Even though Purdue lost, I was having the time of my life.
I tried everything to get them to stay, but kids get in the way. And by that, I don’t mean it a bad thing but a real thing. And in this particular instance, I was happy to lose, even though I did put on the full court press on both of them to stay. It’s to their credit that they did leave; cos I can be extremely convincing. As they walked out of the bar, I felt that I loved them even more for leaving. They did the right thing.
So that left me to explore. I made friends at the bar, which is easy for me to do, something about my personality. I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but it’s definitely one of my super powers. So I stood outside The Bus Stop under the awning, witnessing every single raindrop that was falling. It was an exquisite moment that seemed to last an eternity, one that signaled that this day while one two-thirds of the way done was not even half done. That’s what happens when you’re under an awning on a Sunday in San Francisco. The possibilities are truly endless.
It wasn’t but a few steps that I walked when I stumbled into The Italian Homemade on Union. The Marina gets beat up a bit, but I love it for its Sunday’s; it’s empty. The quaint restaurant had me at Italian and I was compelled to open to door inside. Once in, I was greeted with a hearty hello by the Italian gentlemen running the establishment.
So I walked in. Pretty soon, I asked the sitters why they were there, what they loved and what I should order, or whether I should high-tail it out of there. Much to my surprise, instead of the high-tail, they asked me to stay. And they told me what to order. My favourite. My staple. My dish that I always order to evaluate every Italian restaurant that I have ever been to.
Spaghetti bolognese. I ordered the fettuccine instead. It was homemade.
Even before I was to have my first bite, I knew it would be amazing.
Of course, that being said, while waiting for dinner, I asked the young woman at the table across from me if I was making a good choice. She spoke furiously in Italian before realizing she was speaking in Italian. I didn’t need the translation to determine what she eventually told me in English. “This was place is amazing. The pasta is made right in front of you. These guys are straight off the boat from Italy. It’s the best food ever.”
She was right. A man I didn’t understand dropped the fettuccine bolognese that I had ordered onto my table in front of me. That first bite was better than what I had imagined. That last bite was even better.
Did it mention it was amazing?
And then just like that, I left. But I didn’t leave in a straight line directly home. That’s the beauty of the Bay Area. Every line home is never straight; in between, there are always adventures to be had, to be lived. And so, even though it was storming outside – my walk to the garage that was housing my car evidence to its fierceness – I knew I had other places to be on my way home.
I drove up Conzelman Road where Ant-Man drove in the opposite direction in his debut movie, past Hawk Hill where I originally intended to stop and take a gander at the Golden Gate. Instead because the clouds were so thick and hanging low prohibiting any view of the bridge, I kept driving on the way to Bonita Lighthouse.
Eventually, I pulled off on the side of the road, the rain pelting against a cloudy sky where visibility was at a near low. The scene reminded me of what it could be like off bluffs of the Scottish Isles, or perhaps the cliffs of Dover. I jumped onto the battery and walked along the trail to the precipice looking down onto the Pacific Ocean. Its serenity on this day was replaced by an angry bellow, roaring loudly its intent to make itself known. I tried to tell her I’ve always known her intent; I’d spent many a day and night by myself along it listening to her whims. And in turn, she heard all my worries, my angst, my hopes, my past, my present, my future. On this day, she didn’t do much listening, howling angrily as I braced myself for her onslaught, the winds aiding her fury.
And yet, it was intensely invigorating. On the edge of life, I felt the most alive I’d felt in quite some time. When I could, I thought of those that I loved. And so I spent the rest of the afternoon this Sunday loving the people I love, knowing they were away.
It didn’t matter.
You can love the people you love doing the things you do, whether they are near or far. That’s what love is all about. It comes from within. It’s an energy source. The love you feel can truly power you the rest of your life; and perhaps power them.
Just give it.
You’ll feel it.
You’ll be better for it.
To give is to live.
I turned away drenched, my ears and shaved head swollen, and said goodbye to the Pacific, thanking her fury for giving me focus. Now it’s time for tomorrow.
Maybe Purdue will win it all in the Tournament?
In one week, we will be in India.
(Oh wait, we already are! This was written Sunday 3/13/16 but only posted today, whenever today may actually be.)
PostScript Written Day 1 of the Tournament 3/17/16. Purdue – a #5 seed – loses in double OT to #12 seed Little Rock, blowing a 14 point lead with four minutes left in regulation. Oh to be a Purdue fan.
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ALWAYS BE EPIC.