By the time I saw Tim Lincecum hugging the blonde woman that most sources have identified as his girlfriend, for me things were already changing. I’d already started dreaming up ways to end my blog or at least transition it to a different format. The blog is not nearly as “Tumblr famous” as its millions of cohorts, and I have never blogged with the intention of going viral, but there is at least a modest following and that’s at least something to keep on going. The way I have tried to describe Baseball 2.0 is as equally modest: a normal blog, just like every other one where the blogger writes about their days and nights and random thoughts, but with an angle tangentially related to baseball and some attempt at mimicking the greats of narrative nonfiction.
Even typing this entry is remarkable given that for the last few days I have endured a sprained wrist so painful at first that I thought it was broken. I’m better, now. In fact, the whole week itself has been so apocalyptic that were not the whole city engulfed in World Series fever, I might have had better luck at relegating baseball to the background. The fact that bold, visual evidence has materialized of Timmy in a relationship isn’t what has really drawn me apart from baseball, although it’s one reason. I’ll always be a Giants fan and there isn’t really much use speculating when or if I will waver from baseball as a hobby; it’s just a matter of how strongly I can keep the connection given life’s circumstances, of which there have been many this week. I’m in a far different place than where I was in the 2010 postseason. There have been no magical escapes to The Ballpark, no renouncing of daily life to live playoff life. I have had to marry the two lives and it has lately felt like I have been on the verge of trial separation.
I sprained my wrist when I was breaking down the store after our latest big event, this time with the author Lauren Conrad. The author! To say that I feel silly for putting those words together with her name is to define the art of understatement, and anyway, I had no contact with her. She was nice enough, though. She was enthusiastic with her fans — there must have been over 400 — and kind to the staff, my coworkers who did have interaction with her. And, let’s face it, let me just get this out in the open: she’s pretty. Even I, a proudly gay man with knowledge of his sexuality from as early as the second grade, understood how someone like her elicited pursuit.
It will never be me. I am not the kind of guy who will ever be pursued by anyone. That is not self-pity, although when I sit with the realization it certainly feels that way. There are studies that suggest gay men and straight women have the same psychology and brain activity, and to me that makes sense: although I recognize myself as a guy without suitors, in my head I am not unlike Mindy Kaling, who in the pilot of her adorable new sitcom visualizes herself as a South Asian Sandra Bullock for the 21st century. I don’t have as much comic relief to provide in this entry as her sitcom does — if you don’t already, you should watch — but as long as we’re on the subject of relief, I should mention that I made myself come twice when I masturbated in the shower this morning. Indeed: that’s how difficult this week has been.
Stupidly, I tried to heft two metal line stanchions — those things that hold velvet ropes at big events — and it is something I have actually done successfully in the past. But only when I pay attention. The stupid part is that I didn’t realize, or was willing to admit to myself, just how tired I really was; so when I picked up those line stanchions, I wasn’t really lifting them so much as aimlessly, half-assedly carting them. I may as well have been dragging them over the floor. Instead, in my half-assed hefting, suddenly my right wrist when crack. The noise was sharp enough that even I found myself marveling wide-eyed at the extent to which I had taxed my body, but I didn’t start to feel any pain until about ten minutes later or so. In fact, I’d managed to replace the stanchions in their original area in the back of the store and it was still a little bit later when I strolled up to my unsuspecting boss and said shyly even as I clutched my now-throbbing wrist: “Hey. So. I think I need to fill out a claim form.”
Perhaps now you can see how impressive my morning feat in the shower was. I did it with my left hand, the so-called weaker hand, except that this week I have had no choice but to use it for everything from typing, to ringing up customers, and then… you know, that thing this morning. Meanwhile, my right hand has been held up in a brace, injured and nearly immobile but not broken. The on-site doctor — my job has an on-site doctor! — determined that I didn’t even need an X-ray. In fact, she grinned when I recounted my silly attempt at manliness.
The other thing to happen this week was the complete upending of my entire life. I know that sounds like hyperbole, but if you were to have seen my apartment within the last 24 hours, you would be witness to evidence of said upending. Two nights ago, Clara discovered bed bugs floating around no, not the bedroom as one might suspect, but in the hallway closet. Freaked out, we immediately found an exterminator who was willing to start treatment this morning. Which meant that I spent all day yesterday, the day of Madbum’s glorious comeback, packing up everything that I loved and then throwing away the rest — and I threw away a lot. It wasn’t just a matter of prepping the apartment and securing all my precious cargo against the pesticide. What the three of us accomplished yesterday was a spontaneous explosion of single-day autumnal spring cleaning and a reframing of each of our lives. In my continuing efforts to define (or maybe redefine?) myself, I parted with objects for which Eckhart Tolle would admonish as just only being objects. They do not define who we are. But these things did define me, and when I forced myself to part with them by stuffing them into trash bags, it would have been a lie to myself to stop the tears that streamed through if only momentarily, for there was still a lot of work to do, still many miles to go. No crying in baseball, no crying when you are frantically setting up to exterminate bed bugs. The incapacity of my wrist and this sudden bed bug infestation are explosive manifestations of symbolically shifting sands, although in truth I have not really minded only being able to live and work with one good arm, and even though the work was overwhelming, I did not really mind having to suddenly clean and pack up my whole life. I thought more about how baseball had once meant so much to me, and still does, but now differently. I thought about what I would do with this blog, how I had devoted so much time to it, and how there were enough times when in fact I did wish and imagine that, yes, Timmy read it. I have never been so stupid as to think that he did, but I was free to wish and hope. Over the years and as recently as last week, former instructors and writers whom I consider mentors have all hounded me to write for publication; that blogging is great and all, but that I should channel some of that energy into crafting a good, strong manuscript. Maybe. After having spent about a third or so of my life thus far trying to get published, I got tired of that pursuit and the moment after I decided I was done with it, even if only temporarily, the motivation fled and has yet to return. All I’ve ever wanted to do is write: here, unfiltered, without the pressure of ambition. As of now, there is no manuscript. I have no interest.