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Monday, March 28, 2005

Decompression: Spring Training As Socratic Dialogue

Fair warning: as usual, links in this blog entry are not guaranteed to be work-safe. 6-4-2 thanks you for your patronage, and for your patience during the recent, brief outage. -- Rob
Did you find the female fans comely?

The metropolitan Los Angeles area leads the nation in the aesthetic arts as applied to the human canvas. The outlying areas, upon discovering some of plastic surgery's more esoteric forms, have been known to recoil in horror, but more often than not, they quickly line up at the airline counters for tickets to LAX -- or else send their own local sons to be tutored by the Angeleno geniuses who practice their craft while stirring up business with targeted national promotion.

Naturally, one side effect of this is the local presumption of physical perfection. This leads to all kinds of extremes, for instance, the sales rep for a colo service I encountered a half dozen years ago who looked as though she had exercised every last cubic centimeter of fat off her body, not to mention any resemblance to an actual woman. But if LA women have unreasonable expectations of their appearances, at the same time it often makes them modest in pleasing ways. For instance, no woman in her right mind overweight by thirty or more pounds would wear a bikini in public, and yet this kind of abandon was everywhere in evidence on the lawn at the Cubs' games we attended. Southern Californian ladies all but universally have a subconscious horror of becoming the "before" picture for liposuction ads, and indeed we did not see such at the Angels games. Women of Chicago, I beseech you: look in the mirror before putting on that halter top. The eyes you spare may be my own.

I do not entirely mean to spare the men in this, but since male beauty is a target of comedy rather than gross titillation, it seems redundant to lambaste that which others have already so successfully lambasted. I note in passing the large number of pendulous guts in attendance, but then, men seldom care, though they should. For myself, I hid my own gothic nudity, hoping only to avoid scaring the horses.

What was the effect of the late Easter Sunday upon your writing?

Sadly, 6-4-2 took an enforced holiday Sunday. I had intended to do a writeup of Saturday's game, but owing to the late hour we arrived back at our hotel, I couldn't, and then Easter Sunday had the unfortunate effect of closing Schlotsky's, where I used the free web access for blogging and other illicit purposes.

I'm not much on holidays I don't actually get off, and the only exceptions I'm willing to make are Mother's Day and Father's Day. But get religion involved and -- gag -- colored, hard-boiled eggs, and that's enough to make me sick. I hate hard-boiled eggs -- always have -- and so Easter was always about avoidance so far as I was concerned. I didn't have anything against the actual coloring of the eggs -- that part was fun -- but to the extent that someone, somehow, would actually have to also consume them made the whole process an eensy weensy bit like Itzhak Stern having to remand himself to the Nazis. Dress eight-year-old me in a shirt and tie, and you've got an apostate in the making. Keep me from my blog, shut down one of my favorite restaurants, and you have a full blown heretic on your hands.

How was the drive back? How were Arizona gas prices? Did you encounter any ruffians or traffic?

The price of gas in Arizona temporarily lags that in California, but only just; we paid $2.23 or so in Mesa, and $2.65 somewhere around the eastern outskirts of Moreno Valley. While unpleasant for us in our sedan, it will undoubtedly soar to the top of the list of indignities hurled at the Bush administration by the owners of the supersized, Rancho Suspension-raised trucks used for offroading. At some point between Moreno Valley and Palm Springs, this sort of truck forms the majority of vehicles on the road. Inevitably, they come with large-tread offroading tires, making them very loud on the street. But besides this offense, I level these two charges against them:

We reckon one such cretin may have caused an hour-long traffic jam in the eastbound direction, as an 18-wheel tractor burned to the ground along with the first trailer. The driver died in the incident, unfortunately, and so I can only speculate as to the cause. I certainly hope the miscreant -- if there is one -- is caught soon.

Well, spring training in Arizona sounds very unpleasant. Would you recommend going to others?

Oh, heavens yes. Despite the headaches, it's a great place to see the teams come together. Because the teams are at most only a couple hours' drive away from each other's parks (and more like 40 minutes or less), proximity means it's easy to see many different games. The atmosphere is very convivial. Even in the A's home park of Phoenix Muni, I only once encountered an SUV full of dimwits yelling, "Angels Suck!", and even then, they were safely ensconced in their large vehicle; once in the stands, no one bothered me, and this was universally true regardless of which park we were in. The small parks are a bargain relative to the regular season; to get views as good as we got in the regular season, you'd routinely pay quintuple or sextuple the price we paid for individual tickets. And it's easy to see many teams if you so choose.


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