Conversation in dugout:
Player One: Dude, I think I see your dad watching from the softball field.
The Son: Oh. Yeah.
Player Two: Is that him in center now?
The Son: Hmmn. Maybe. Uh, yeah.
Player Three: Hey, see who can find him next.
Player Four: Wait. Is that the guy across the street in the truck?
And that, my friends, is how Mr. Halfstory became the Where’s Waldo of JV baseball, or maybe the next guy on the Neighborhood Watch posters. He claims the view is better, he can sit on his bucket in peace, take pictures, ponder potentially stressful plays (or muffed plays) alone. In baseball, everyone has their rituals. One parent always paces and when his son makes a tough play he stops grinding his teeth and says, “that’s what he’s supposed to do.” But he is really, really happy because, like all of them, his boy has airmailed that throw. A lot.
Just finished with The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes. This book is a concise 163 pages, and it has taken me a long time to read it. Beautifully written but ultimately unremarkable, I wanted to like it. I really did. Barnes is a smart, insightful writer, but his characters are not people to whom I can relate, nor are they folks with whom I’d throw back a pint (and I’m not that picky). I liked how he portrayed the testiness of close relationships, between friends and between lovers, and his careful period detail. It hummed with the desperation of one man’s ordinary life, and his attempt to illuminate a mystery that might just be a life-changer. It’s just wasn’t terribly interesting. I wonder if Jack Reacher has spoiled me, and I am now unable to appreciate the quiet and methodically written tome, free from rogue agents and implausible gun fights. Barnes’ controlled writing did remind me of Ian McEwan a bit, but less arrogant. I can see reading this at a beach house while ruminating over lost chances. Of course, I can do that over coffee without any mystery (unless my cooking qualifies). Perhaps I’ve become a more thoughtful and better person after reading it. So hey! If you’re in a self-reflective mood, go for it. And while you’re there, grab me a gin and tonic, a big blanket, and let Jack know I’ll wait.