Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wiggling, Perfect Little Messes of Twenty-Nine

I found myself saying that life is not an waiting room for invitations, which, I still find to be true. But, as it happens, it is still sometimes just that. You want to do this? Well fuck. I suppose that's better than playing Find the Smell in the kitchen or reorganizing my socks. Sure.

This is precisely how I have come to play beach volleyball this summer near the banks of the Potomac at the edge of the National Mall. Earlier this year, having since given up kickball, - because clearly, I'm too old to play kickball and then go to a bar and play flip cup, but I'm not too old to play soccer (or volleyball) and then go to the bar and play flip cup - I agreed to play soccer. After GFC convinced me to play another season of kickball last year, after which we both determined that shit show was our absolute last, she got an itch to get out on week days once spring came around again.

Coincidentally enough, the guy that runs the kickball league (and once turned to me at a kickball event years before and said, "Go to the dance floor and get this party started," which sort of confused me as to why I was picked, until a half an hour later when I had noticed that my flailing arms and drunk laughter had quickly filled the dance floor of the boat) asked GFC to join his soccer team. GFC then asked me to play. I declined, he offered to pay our entry fees, and she pulled the Yes Year card.

So there I was, playing soccer on The Mall. 

I scored a goal once. True story.

Although the real highlight of this soccer season was that time during Police Week when a group of bag piping cops came into the bar GFC and a teammate (that had a crush on her) had gone to - in lieu of flip cupping that week - and played Amazing Grace, to my utter delight. I do love me some bagpipes. We had invited a couple of attractive French backpackers to sit at our table - because, who knows! that could be her husband. (Hint: He wasn't.) They both seemed to think I was slightly nuts in my zealous reaction for 'pipes, while I jumped up in sheer delight - like a hoarder in a flea market - to film it.

It was during a drunken night at soccer at our normal bar - which is far less drunk now that I've attempted to train my taste buds that beer is just fucked up apple juice (not that I care for apple juice either) - that we were playing a round of something when a guy noted that GFC and I "look athletic and would [we] like to play volleyball". This was mostly her conversation, as I had tuned out into my own world of dancing to bad music, drinking beer and crushing chicks and dudes alike at flipping cups.

Clearly, this is a huge turn-on to most men, because my dating life since soccer began has been out of this world.

I hope you sense the sarcasm. Although, the first night I attended soccer a fellow player I'd met that night followed me home. At the flip cup table I'd renamed him Tallahassee. I rename people in life for one of three reasons: 1. I don't care for their actual name, 2. I already know too many people with that name, or 3. I won't remember their real name and that's my cover. (Which makes it rather convenient to avoid names here on the Internets.) Tallahassee came home with me; not that he was invited, but he really did just follow me and apparently similar rules apply to following me home as do to giving out my number: It's easier to avoid than to say no, although even when I said "no thanks" to the cab share, he insisted anyway.  But I assure you nothing - and I mean nothing, aside from Trivial Pursuit - happened. I don't find Woody Harrelson attractive.

So drunk, yes-yearing me, still half-way tuned out, agreed to play volleyball - which I only found out about the next day thanks to my inbox. Oh, yes. Well, alright then. Volleyball it is. Now it's my favorite social sport yet. (And this list is long: kickball, softball, skee ball, soccer, volleyball.)

It seems most all of this happened/s because GFC and I have simply stopped giving a fuck. Which seems counter-intuitive to my original statement about waiting around for something to do, but this is more of a dancing around like no one is looking. Even though they are, but, if you do it long enough and laugh loud enough, a weird thing happens: They join in. At some point since my mid-twenties, I've stopped giving a fuck what other people think: I am dancing because I fucking like Britney Spears! Deal with it.

Then they do - and dance with you.

Between soccer and volleyball, it is quickly becoming more and more obvious every time that people just want to be around other people that are having fun. And yes, there are kids there - the ones we used to be - the ones in their early to mid-twenties prancing around calculated and making sure their hair is perfect. Lusting after that guy they should never be with; watching him with unrequited intent. Aw, honey, no.

And then there we are, six years past. Wiggling, perfect little messes of 29, covered in sand, flipping cups (and taking names). And suddenly everyone wants to be our friend.

Even when you're running down Pennsylvania Ave. half-drunk at 11:55 on Tuesday night feverishly staring at your Metro app as the last train counts down. You hear someone behind you who's on their phone start to run with you. "We can do this!" you yell back. To the phone, they announce they're about to miss their train as you both reach the escalators, "You got this girl," you call back to him again. "Let's go!" He hangs up to follow you, and as both reach the bottom you see the sign announcing that the train is arriving. We both make the doors just as they close behind us. We sit together and start to chat.

"I'm so glad we made it. I didn't think I would and I live [far away]. I was on the phone asking my friend if I could stay with her tonight, but I really didn't want to," he confesses. "I was just out trying to get my mind off my ex-boyfriend today. We just broke up." For 16 minutes and eight stops, we're friends. We learn about each other's lives and his newly broken 21 year old heart. He is who you used to be. You open up and enjoy the conversation. You don't give a fuck about anything but the moment - just to stop and listen; reassure.

"It'll be okay." And suddenly everyone wants to be your friend.

Or, ya know, they don't. And if they don't, well, fuck 'em. It's the kind of revelation where they say youth is wasted on the young, but I guess we have to worry first before we can live enough to realize nothing really matters: Just fucking have fun. Who cares? Because tomorrow we might be married with kids.

And it's probably really challenging to flip cups with an infant on your hip.