“Did you hear the big news?” the guest asked as I was cutting his keys.
“What’s that?” I asked, hoping it was about actual news. Maybe some natural disaster in Kuala Lumpur. Or perhaps some kindly scientist had discovered the cure to all of life’s maladies. Or, hope beyond hope, a guest was going to talk to me about some great discovery made in the far reaches of space that would change the very fabric of how we think as a collective society.
“LeBron’s going to Miami,” he said, and my fears were realized. This total stranger was going to talk to me about the subject I know least about and ignore the most: sports. Being a man who does not care for sports and believes they add no value to modern society, I couldn’t help but feel extremely uncomfortable. Usually when these situations happen, the conversation gets differed to someone on staff who actually gives a shit, but I was alone. Utterly alone.
“Uh, yeah, I did hear,” I lied.
“I’d thought he’d go to New York,” the guest said, not noticing, or perhaps ignoring, my indifference. “He’s got family there and he said he loves it, but I guess he likes Miami too. I’m sure he likes the ninety-nine million dollar contract too. It’s sure to be a helluhva difference. And they got nice beaches.”
During this external stream of consciousness, I tried to involve myslef by adding such tangential comments as, “Well, Miami wanted him more,” or, “Florida is a great place to live,” neither of which I knew to be true. I handed the guest his keys and went through my usual hotel spiel, which signified the end of the sports talk, but I think the guest was as ready to end the conversation just as I was, for I just could not reciprocated his ever-devoted love to sports.
He had mentioned he wanted to see it, which I assumed was the draft or whatever it’s called, live, but was stuck on an airplane. I imagined him fidgeting in his seat like a caged animal, ready to spring for his iPhone as soon as the plane landed. Once on terra firma, he went to his bookmarked ESPN app, saw the news and shouted loudly in the airport, much to the dismay of his fellow travelers and TSA. He hailed a cab, ready to share this news with the first person of the not-so-fairer sex he saw, but was disappointed when the cabbie’s command of English was not up to his high standards. Holding his tongue like an overburdened bladder, he arrived at the hotel, got out, paid the cabbie and walked to the front desk. He thought he could finally get it out, yet he was still haunted by disappointment’s ugly face as it turned toward him in the form of the friendly, young man who knew nothing of sports. Not only did the young man not “know the big news”, he did not even care. The man’s relief quickly turned to constipated frustration as he was guided to the elevators.
On occasion, I find myself jealous of my sports loving brethren who can instantly bond with others over sports trivia. It is an unusual thing for me to be able to connect to a complete stranger on a personal level, whether it’s at work, shopping for groceries or at the children’s museum, one of my favorite sources for studying humanity. There, I will see men talking in corners about the previous night’s score or the big upset last week as they passively watch their children, but I pay them no heed. I play with my daughter and watch her grow and know that, unless something completely unexpected happens, as it often does in life, sports will not be a part of her life. For myself, I realized I need to find a mutual topic of understanding between all men that doesn’t involve throwing balls, wiggling asses or explosions.
“Did you know that humans have more hair per square inch than a chimpanzee?”
This is why I have no guy friends.