This is almost like Freshman year all over again,
staying up all night and on into morning for no good reason, except there is a good reason: Finishing a painful rewrite, fueled by Diet Mountain Dew Code Red and a deadline. Then taking JP to hockey practice at 6:10, which my dad would usually do: There's no reason for more Pierson men to be up at this ungoldy hour than is absolutely necessary.
Aliens cruising at low altitude at 6:00 am on a Sunday morning would conclude that the human race consists solely of old people, old people's dogs, spandex-clad cycle enthusiasts, and guys in white trucks taking their little brothers to hockey practice.
That's where I am right now: the hockey rink, writing on a thick stack of "Hockey Summer Camp" flyers because this table is one of those molded plastic ones with all the holes in it, and the book I brought is too small to use for a writing surface.
I was going to write, in that annoying newspaper-feature-writer kind of way, "Taking the kids to hockey practice on a Sunday morning seems to be largely a paternal obligation," because it was just me and a bunch of dads sipping coffee, leafing through newspapers, until two moms showed up. I'll bet my dad knows all these faces by heart. Poor bastard.
Out there on the ice 27 skates back and forth, side to side, backwards, whatever the drill calls for, better at skating at 12 than I am at walking at 18.
I stole the pen I'm writing with from the table where I got the flyers. It was chained to a plastic box full of sweepstakes entries, I liberated it with every intent of bringing it back, but ten bucks and a night of missed sleep says I won't.
Ooh, a comprehensive drill...They line up at the back, behind the net, then one at a time skate down, pass to one coach, get the puck back, pass to another, get it back, then shoot on their goalie.
27 shoots...misses. Better luck next time, buddy.
This place is pretty Zen at 6:45 like it is now. Just muffled inter-dad conversation, the rustling of pages, coughs, the clattering of pucks we're two sheets of plexiglass away from.
Dig this, if you can: My girlfriend's parents are out of town this weekend and I haven't seen her since Friday, when I dismissed myself from a birthday
party to go write. She's staying at her friend's house, which is a block away from our houses. I passed by it last night walking to the store to get Diet Mt. Dew and peanut butter, neither of which I needed desperately at 11:15 PM but I just had to get away from THE PLAY. I walked by on the way back, couldn't remember if the only window available for knocking on was her friend's bedroom. Cursed her lack of a cellphone, then my lack of a cellphone, then walked back home and faced down the Behemoth again.
33 is dangerous, fast, aggressive, and about three feet tall. He and my boy 27 make a hell of a team.
A lot of these kids have whole clans attending practice, three little brothers in giant sweaters accosting the switched-off arcade games. Why not leave them at home? Church after this, maybe? If at mass this morning there's a bunch of kids sitting next to you, one of them giving off the none-too-faint odor of sweaty fungal hockey ass, you'll know where they were earlier.
33 just shouldered a kid a little bit into the boards, he hit 'em and crumpled. There are coaches on this side of the rink now, surrounding the wounded. His dad's waddling out there now, birkenstocks on ice.
They're diving across the ice, now, sliding like penguins. Then push-ups. Suddenly I feel I've never exerted myself to do anything.
Practice ends at 7:30, he'll be changing 'till 7:45. Home at 8, screw the last nuts into place on this damn hell ass third draft of a play succintly titled "Skip," send it off saying I need a 2nd set of eyes to tell me if it's any good because after this long continuously with anything it's like a mouth of thoroughly chewed food, rendered flavorless by familiarity. Type this up, post it 'cause if not now, when? Bed by 9. 9:15 at the latest. Awake at 3 ideologically, 5 realistically. Dinner. Promised Dana
I'd come to game night, well, didn't promise, but said I would, and on my last day of school an embattled near-retirement wizened old Irish english teacher told me out of the blue in the hallway, "Your word has to be gold, because it's all you have."
27 shoots, scores.