So I got back from Arizona and I'm in the shuttle van returning to the extended lot (Red F-13) at the Pittsburgh airport. There are 7 of us. I'm sitting directly across from a 10 year old who was celebrating his birthday. He was accompanied by his grandparents. They were discussing their trip to Disney with a priest who was seated to my right. The grandmother was a large woman - I'd estimate she weighed in near the 268 lb range. Not quite sure why I find that detail pertinent. Apparently they spent 10 days out west and were headed back to Latrobe.
And here is a snippet of the conversation...
Grandma - "Ohh, we had a wonderful time. The fireworks were incredible.
Priest - "Did you see the presidents? Isn't that something?"
Grandma - "Oh yeah, they were amazing. So lifelike. It felt like they could reach out and touch you."
10 yr. old boy - He looks in the priest's direction and inquires, "Are you a priest?"
Priest - "As a matter of fact, I am."
10 yr. old boy - "When I grow up, I want to be a priest!"
Priest - "Ohhh, that's wonderful!"
Grandma - "Ever since he was a young boy, he's always loved going to church. You should have seen him at the baptism when he was a young boy. His arms were outstretched. And he loves the fish fries too! Don't ya?"
kid - Ohhh yeah, I just love fish!"
Priest - "Ohhh, God bless you."
Then, for the love of god, I decide to speak..
SAF - "Apparently, he's probably unfamiliar with the pedophile scandal historically sweeping through the church."
Grandma - "Seems like your parents never taught you any manners."
SAF - "Well... they tried but it didn't take."
Then there was this incredibly awkward silence for about almost an entire minute.
Bus driver - "F-13!," he cries out.
I scramble to my feet and politely nod in their direction, grab my luggage and exit. And that's pretty much the end of it.
And here's my take on the Steelers/Raiders game. It was 3 of us. Me, Gig and her friend Emily who made a surprise visit from Seattle. I constructed a sign that read...
I DEMAND A FREE TICKET
THE CASH EQUIVALENT
U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A.!
The sign was written on the back of a coke 12 pack. I utilized a twig backing (carton-packing taped) for additional height. I was trying to convey a wide range of emotions. Obviously, the typical arrogant American sense of entitlement was center stage. And the Palinesque "U.S.A." bit was designed to evoke a phony, cornballish sense of patriotism for anyone who might be easily influenced. The "cash equivalent" request was admittedly a bit of a stretch. It's my dream that some sugar daddy might come along and ask me if I have change for a hundred, to which I'd respond, "Sure thing my man, here's a twenty." The stick-taped backing was a little bit ghetto but I liked the understated, blue collar approach. I even wore this yellow oven mitt. I was attempting to recreate a Michael Jackon/Liza Minelli glitteratti thing. All in all, I was trying to appeal to everyone across the board. Throw it all out there and see what unfolds.
Gig went with the traditional sign. "If you give me a free ticket, I promise I won't sit by you"
Emily had no sign. She thought we were both weirdos.
Ironically, Emily quickly snagged a ticket for $20. My sign seemed to be working against us. I got a few deranged looks here and there but little commentary. Gig received a far more positive response but nobody was biting. Tix seemed relatively scarce around 12:30pm. Sensing an underlying discreet vitriolic vibe, I rested the sign against the bench and just watched the crowd roll in.
Nearing crunch time I walked to the top of the steps and found an old man. He sold me a $200 club seat for $20. And then Gig conjured up a 20 buck ticket right at kick-off. We gobbled up the rest of our drinks, a mamosa and some red wine and headed in. Great game - Steelers 35 Raiders 3.
On the flight back from Phoenix, I sat next to a die hard Raider fan and his son. In fact, the plane had plenty of Raiders fans. I surmised that it originated in Oakland as that is one of the Southwest Air hubs. He had me totally convinced that the Raiders would pull off the upset. He kept spouting stats and betting trends. He called it Raiders 31 Steelers 10. Well... at least he got some nice California weather.