I arrived home from my new home-away-from-home, the RWJ Fitness and Wellness Center (heretofore known as "the gym") on Friday expecting nothing out of the ordinary except that my wife, who was taking a couple of days off from work, would be home.
When I saw a sign in the window reading, "Happy 60th Birthday!" I imagine my suspicions should have been activated. For one thing, my birthday was, at that point, 25 days away, so the whole sign thing seemed a touch premature. Once inside, my wife and son informed me there was something I needed to see. Now. And they seemed very excited about it.
To be fair, I was not entirely naive about what was going on. I'd suspected for a few years that when my birthday hit a year with a 0 in it there would be a trip to Yankee Stadium and the tickets purchased would be for seats considerably more desirable (and pricey) than the ones I usually buy, which are in the absolute last row of the nosebleed seats behind home plate, backs literally to the stadium wall, players more a rumor than a reality on the field.
But it had never occurred to me I'd be getting seats to a Yankees/Red Sox game weeks before the actual date itself.
So plans for the day--which mostly included getting started on the next-next Haunted Guesthouse book (the next one, HOSTESS WITH THE GHOSTESS, is scheduled for release on January 8, 2018), were scrapped. A trip to the Stadium is an all-day affair, and the whole family was going. It would be easier for my daughter, who lives in the Bronx anyway, to make the game.
Keep in mind, I'm used to the nosebleeders. When I saw the vantage point from here, with the players actually life sized (except Arron Judge, who is the size of the Chrysler Building) and all visible at one time, I was spoiled for the rest of my life. I imagine I'll be back to the upper reaches again sometime, but it's going to be a comedown.
I've been a fan of the Yankees--and you can say what you like about them, but not to me--since I was 7, which I have now let out of the bag was close to 53 years ago. It's my one true obsession and the thing about which I am least rational. Say what you want about my writing, my politics, my taste in music or movies, and I'll try to see your side. Suggest that I should root for another team and you will be banished from my Twitter feed.
So the game was a terrific spectacle. Turns out the noise from the insane scoreboard is not as loud and jarring downstairs as it is up among the cheapskates in the 68th tier. Things that had soured me on seeing the game in person in recent years did not seem to be as important. And the team I root for managed a victory after a little suspense, which is the best way to win. Ask Alfred Hitchcock.
In short, we had a splendid day and I'm still shaking my head at the shock of it all. (We had a server bring us food at the ballgame!)
Now, I'm told the celebrations are not over. Something occurring on or near the actual date itself is in the works. I'm sure it will be lovely. I'm in the hands of three wonderful people who have great instincts.
I can barely wait to be 60.