We would watch sports, in the living room often.
We didn't have much reason to be around each other,
hard to find things to talk about, but professional
and collegiate sports were good enough to be in
the same place, the same time. Watching weird dreams.
The bad ones too. It's not always about watching
for the inspiration, we watch for the drama too.
The broken endings. And it was (basically) free.
Back when all that we paid for was Network TV.
They controlled most of the sports worth watching,
who needed sat or cable (except to watch boxing)?
I don't really have now what I had then. In a place
so sport-crazy, you'd think I could find people
who'd say "Yeah, let's go watch the Wednesday Night
Baseball game quietly. We don't have a TV, or if we do
it's for gaming or streaming, who the hell pays for cable?
We have internet. We have Bachelor's degrees, we have
nine-dollars-an-hour jobs and sometimes get scheduled
a full forty-hour work week. But we can go out
someplace where we can sit down and watch a game.
Two hours or so, among the barely audible music
pouring gently from a greasy bar kitchen and the intermittent
breaks of billiard balls cracking open the smell of peanuts,
and beer foam, and feeling comfortable with the time spent
sitting quietly without your own life sitting next to you
for a while, just for two hours or so from a Wednesday.
Watching a game." I don't have anybody like that here.
I say we watched sports, in the living room, and I guess
that we did. Only "we" means me and my parents. My
brother didn't get it. Almost seemed to resent us
for being so interested in something so silly. Crawled
in and out of his room, never stopping to say
something. A question every once in a while. Then
on with his business. Maybe he was spending more
time without us than we had anticipated? Without
anyone at all, as a matter of fact?
Unlike me, he has gained some advantage in the
long run, Now that the race has officially
started, and has been running for some time.
He had a head start, running away at twenty.
Running as fast as he could into...life? Adulthood?
Another sequence of time? Does age really make the world
around us that different? I don't think so.
But he did. And if he walks alone on some street
somewhere, and that somewhere is a street with a
bar and an open window, or an open door and he listens
for a moment, sparing one or two curious seconds like
throwing an unsympathetic coin into a machine
for something small and quick and satisfactory and
meaningless, the way he might have seen everyone else
for all I know, I never thought to ask him and the only thing he
hears is sports and sports and sports people cheering over
sports volumes, he'll laugh and condescend, continue walking.
This is one of the smaller advantages in life he holds over me.