It was hot today. "Africa hot. Tarzan couldn't take this kind of heat." What made matters worse was that I had to spend the bulk of it in the sun watching the Phillies cough-up a 10-game winning streak to the Cubs in a 10-5 defeat. A day off from work, but even a bad day at the ballpark beats a good day at work. Sadly, by the time the clouds rolled in and the sun rolled out, the game was almost over, and the only thing left to do was to venture out and play in traffic.
Maybe it was the heat, or maybe a moment of clarity, but as I sat there witnessing the carnage, I realized that most of the things I enjoy in life are on the fringe of what most people would call popular.
Minor league baseball, the LPGA, professional cycling and most of the music I like get reactions like a dog hearing a high-pitched sound when I start talking about them to the humans. I think it was the heat.
For instance, last Saturday I had a ticket for the Blue Rocks game against the Frederick Keys. Friday's game was rained-out, so they scheduled a double-header for Saturday, starting an hour earlier than the regular game. I hustled down there so I could be in Wilmington for the 5:05 start and see a kid named Danny Duffy pitch for the Blue Rocks. I can't talk about that to many people because they don't understand my gibberish. I sat (and stood) for two full games and enjoyed every minute.
Twice this year, I've used a full week of precious vacation time to attend LPGA golf tournaments. They were both majors (The LPGA Championship and the U.S. Open) but that significance is lost on most people. "Wha ... huh? You're taking a week off?"
"Where are you going?" they ask, expecting some exotic locale.
"Bethlehem, Pennsylvania," comes the answer, and the ears prick up and the head tilts.
"OK - have a nice time."
And I always do, which serves to make me feel more odd instead of more normal. Wandering a golf course in the woods of Pennsylvania, watching young men play baseball and checking the Tour de France on television would rank low on most lists of "how to utilize your free time."
The other thing I noticed was that, in the brutal heat today, most people were (a) wearing a hat and (b) not wearing sunscreen. I attended the game wearing my soon-to-be signature white bandanna and packing a spray bottle of sunscreen in my giant shorts pocket.
I'm guessing that, as I write this, the people around me who neglected to protect their skin are now looking up sunburn cures on WebMD and running out for aloe cream. Meanwhile, my skin maintains its original pasty white hue and although I came home a little sticky from sunscreen, I can wash it off in the shower. I smelled better too.
Hats, on the other hand, hold in the heat. That's the point of the hat. I've recently discovered the joy of the bandanna. It keeps the sun off my skin-head and the layer of cloth doesn't hold any heat in. In the heat, I ruin more hats than most people own, and while wandering the Saucon Valley golf course I embraced the bandanna as a nice alternative to the hat.
Five years from now, everybody will be wearing them, and you'll say, "I know a guy who's been wearing them for years."