Yesterday was #NationalFriendshipDay and Emma and I got to hang out, in part because I started work well before dawn. I think these national fake holiday days are pretty silly, but friendship is one of the most important things out there--and it can take many forms--and any celebration of friendship is a good one, I think. Emma, having taken one of her surreptitious photos of us, made this for me with her Instagram. She had just said something funny.
Outside of my trips to Rhode Island, we have not seen much of each other this summer, because I have been here and she has been there. On Sundays they come back for the dog's training, and of course soon they will be back for good, with school starting. We usually hang out a bit on these Sundays. Yesterday I began work before four the morning. By the time Emma got to Starbucks, where I was reading and making notes for work, I had ran nine miles, walked three, climbed the Bunker Hill Monument three times. You know you are having a strenuous workout when you are so wet with sweat that you need to change your T-shirt, shorts, and boxers in the middle of it. I'd walk another three miles with her, because she wanted to go to a convenience store in Chinatown. To explore. Because she has been watching various Japanese and Chinese soap operas on Netflix. I have even watched some of Boys Over Flowers with her.
Did I really want to walk to Chinatown to go to, of all things, a convenience store, on a Sunday? No, of course not. (It was kind of fake how I said that. I'm sorry. "...on a Sunday." Like I have a life, or leisure, or family activities, or a new garden to plant out back of my house. None of that is true, of course, right now. I shouldn't have made it sound that way. That is a Rockport farmer's market T-shirt in the photo. I can barely tell you how much I want that to be my Sunday activity, one of them, waking up in my house, having made more art and history that week, and gotten credit for it, had it all seen, knew that it was overrunning the world, but looking forward to throwing some Brahms or Beach Boys on the pricey stereo that is now buried in storage in JP, downing some tea and flipping through The New Criterion, or a John Dickson Carr locked room mystery, or Phil Steele's college football magazine, then getting ready to whip down to the farmer's market on the village green with Motif #1 looking on, buying fresh ears of corn, a bundle of sunflowers; heaven; Oh my God would that be heaven to me, everything organized, clean, spacious, and the work doing what it could have done all along, and me doing what I am here to do.) But to make Emma happy by encouraging her interests, of course I did, by the same token. When I was a kid, my parents encouraged my interests, whatever they were. The point was that I was interested. Not in what I was interested in. True, I guess that would have been different if I was into, say, devil-worshiping or torturing crayfish. But it was no big deal at all, just how we rolled, if I was doing my hockey stuff in the morning, then wanted to go to the ballet in the afternoon. My mom, my dad, they both supported all of that equally. I was going to be how I was going to be--how I am--which I think surprises no one, if I was raised by spider monkeys from Mars, but I didn't have to fight or rebel to be it with my mom and dad.
I had that support. And that support made it easier for me to grow into the artist I am, the artist I am still growing as. I probably came off as very sincere in whatever endeavor I was into--and, wouldn't you know, whether it was ballet, sports, writing, collecting baseball memorabilia, I'm still into all of those things now, in ever more ardent and devoted ways--but they never questioned that. They never suggested I shouldn't care as much as I did about something I was focusing on. I think, in some ways, they trusted me, that there probably was some point, even if something did seem like an indulgence.
I thus view these things with Emma the same way, and I try to pass on how my parents were with me. So, we went to the Chinese convenience store. I got some chrysanthemum tea and a package of Matcha creamy candy. The agreement was that if I went to the Chinese convenience store, she had to go with me to the Public Garden--this kid, like most kids, can be lazy, and often wants to walk the bare minimum amount of paces each day--so we sat there after and talked. This is from the Starbucks, after a certain somebody had commandeered my Red Sox hat. I thought twice about wearing that hat, given recent developments. But, through thick and thin, as they say.
Still, I did not expect the Red Sox' season to be effectively over--and it's pretty close to full-on over--in the first week of August. Watching the Yankees drub them again last night, it struck me how the Sox have had near perfect health, the Yankees have had awful health, and the Sox don't belong on the same field with the Yankees, still, in 2019. They are totally outclassed this year by their rival's to the south. It's a reminder that attitude and focus means something in baseball. We know that it means something in football and hockey. Attitude and focus can compensate for maybe not having the best ever ability. Baseball is usually about star power or players having career years. But the Yankees are showing the Red Sox just how big a part character can play. And I am really tired of talk of World Series hangover being a fait accompli. The hell it is. Look at the Astros. Awesome in 2017 when they won it all, maybe more awesome in 2018, only they didn't win it all, awesome again this year. Stop with the hangover nonsense. That's a lame excuse. I also don't understand fans who say, "Winning a championship buys ten years' worth of goodwill for me, doesn't matter what they do then." Um...what? Winning a championship means to me that you better try damn harder to win it the next year.