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Tag Archives: bad weather

Raindrops, a Bar Hag, and Chickens in a Tornado

1 Sep

September 1, 2011

Yesterday you read about the ostentatious security and omnipresent elegance of my new working environment. This was the night before.

I was on my way to see the single-A Brooklyn Cyclones (34-24) of the NY-Penn League play the Jamestown Jammers (29-30) at their park in Coney Island. The Cyclones have a great stadium and they put on a great show. It is always fun and right outside the outfield wall is the boardwalk, the beach, and the water. They do fireworks on the weekend and every time I’ve been there I’ve had a great time.

Bear that in mind as you read this.

I live near Coney Island and by train I am only a few short stops from the ballpark. (Get it? “Ballpark?” “Shortstops?” OK, I’ll shut up now.) The game started at seven and I wanted to be there by six because they were giving away jerseys. (Every Thursday is a jersey giveaway, another reason to like minor league ball.) I was on the train at 5:30 and at this end of the line we are as far from Manhattan as you can get on this train line so most of the people on the train weren’t coming home from the city, they were going to Coney Island, the last stop. The car I got on had only about twenty other people, most of whom were wearing Cyclones gear so they were going to the game too.

Across from me were two young guys. One was about 20, the other was maybe 16. They didn’t look like brothers but who knows? They must have been bored because they started elbowing each other, then trying to get each other in headlocks, then trying to flip each other over their shoulders and it pretty mush devolved into wrestling on the bench. It was stupid but not malicious. The one I felt sorry for was the middle-aged guy sitting a few feet from them and getting dangerously close to getting hit by a flying foot. As I said, the train was mostly empty so I have no idea why he didn’t move away.

However, even if he did move, he could only go to his left. On his right was a family of folks ranging from about five to thirty-five. None of them were wrestling, none of them were fighting. What was happening here was that one of them opened a box of fried chicken, put the box on the disgusting subway train floor, and began eating, tossing his gnawed bones into a bag on the floor next to the box. He had a can of soda which he (and this is true though I have no idea why he did it) poured into a plastic cup- no lid- and sat it on the floor as well. Someone else from the family looked in the box and told him that he had no fork for his macaroni and cheese. He wasn’t too upset. Care to guess why? Because he ate it with his fingers.

So on one side of the car was a wrestling duo. On the other side was a picnicker, You might expect the train to be filthy by the time we got to Coney Island but it wasn’t as bad as you’d expect. During the match the wrestlers had overturned a bag they were carrying and more Starburst wrappers than you would reasonably expect spilled on the floor but they actually picked most of them up. The fried chicken fan took his garbage (except for a plastic bag that he shoved under the bench) with him and tossed it in the trash. So my trip to the park was off to an interesting start.

Normally you'd see dazzling lights from the amusment park rides past the outfield wall but they shut the park down due to the storm.

I got to the park, got my jersey, found my seat, and the game began. It was a nice day but there was rain in the forecast and a few dark clouds were overhead. Soon enough, in the second inning, a drop of rain fell. That was it, all I felt was a single drop. A minute later I felt two drops and then nothing else for awhile. But to the loudmouths behind me it was a monsoon. I will try to recreate their “conversation” as well as I can. I put that in quotes because as you’ll see it wasn’t a real conversation as much as it was a bunch of chickens clucking to themselves without regard to the other chickens.

Chicken 1- Was that a drop? I felt a drop.
Chicken 2- RAIN! RAIN! RAIN!
Chicken 1- I was at the parlor today. I had my hair done.
Chicken 3- That’s two drops!
Chicken 2- RAIN! RAIN! RAIN!
Chicken 4- Remember when we were on the porch and it looked like this and we felt rain?
Chicken 1- I got my hair done today. I don’t want any rain!
Chicken 3- What if there’s a tornado? The Brooklyn Tornadoes they should call them!
Chicken 2- RAIN! RAIN! RAIN!

It went on and on. Remember, I had only felt three drops in three minutes so far. Hardly a tornado. After about ten minutes and maybe 12 more drops it really started to come down. Not hard, but a light, steady drizzle. Even without an umbrella and only with a hat I was OK. It was a very light sprinkle but the guy in front of me put up an umbrella. Not a big issue normally, but it was a huge umbrella that blocked the views of about 25 people behind him and poked the arms and heads of the people on either side of him. And the chickens started up again.

Chicken 1- An umbrella!
Chicken 3- It’s raining now!
Chicken 2- RAIN!
Chicken 1- He has an umbrella!
Chicken 4- Well it’s raining.
Chicken 1- I can’t see.
Chicken 3- Should we go inside?
Chicken 1- I CAN’T SEE!

And then the skies opened and the game was stopped and I went for cover. And things got worse.

I was standing under an overhang staying out of the rain and near me were a group of three people. One was an embarrassed man about 18. You’ll see why he was embarrassed in a moment. Another was a man of about 21. And the other was the 21 year-old’s date, a bar hag of about 40. The woman was about 40, looked 50, dressed 18. Short tight skirt, bulging belly, big gaudy jewelry, thick makeup. Think Jersey Shore cast in a few decades and you start to get the idea. She was holding a beer in one hand and a cell phone in the other. She was going on and on (and on and on) about how hungry she was until her boyfriend ran out in the rain to a hot dog stand and as soon as he was gone she started hitting on the 18 year old who just looked embarrassed and tried to walk away but the crowd and rain meant that he could only move a couple of feet. Getting no action from him, the bar hag got on her phone and called some friend and started complain about the game, about her boyfriend who had gone for food “hours ago” and didn’t come back yet, about the rain, and loudly cursing up a storm. The Brooklyn Cyclones get a strong cross-section of people and that meant that there were a lot of kids there, whose parents were shooting her dirty looks, all ignored.

I hated every single minute of it but unless I wanted to get wet I had to stay there. At one point whoever she was talking to asked her when she was leaving. She poked me on the shoulder and asked me when the game was supposed to end. When was the baseball game scheduled to be over? The rain delayed baseball game. There was so much wrong with the question I didn’t even know where to begin, but that didn’t matter since I had no desire to talk to her so I said “I don’t know.” She said, in a disbelieving voice, “You don’t know when the show is over?” I was tempted to say “neither do you” but I just mumbled “no” and turned away. She then got on the phone and cursed some more.

Eventually the rain slowed to almost nothing and they started milling around on the field and I went back- as fast as I could- to my seat. The rain had stopped but not the lightning. From my seat I watched lightning strike all around the park but especially out on the water where I am sure some boaters must have gotten fried. There were too many strikes to count. I am one of those people who likes a cool rainy night so I enjoyed it, threat of imminent death by electrocution and all.

I didn't take this photo but it is pretty much what was going on that night.

The game started up again after an hour and a half delay but both the barnyard behind me and the umbrella fan ahead of me left earlier so I had a clear and unbothered view of the game. Too bad I had to leave in the fifth inning for the appointment you read about yesterday. I left with the game tied at 1 but the Cyclones went on to win, 6-1. If it were not for the rain delay I would have seen the whole thing. I hate leaving ballgames early but I had a big day ahead of me.

As I left the stadium I was hit by two things. One was a wall of sound from the free Cheap Trick concert on the boardwalk just on the other side of the Cyclones parking lot. The other thing that hit me was a soaking wet woman walking away from the concert. The concert was outdoors and there was not a shred of shelter so they all got soaked. She mumbled an angry “sorry!’ and dripped off. I got home with no further incident.

There you go. Taken together, yesterday and todays blogs are the yin and yang of life in Brooklyn.

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