Time to Settle Accounts
February 8, 2012: Impressions.
At last, sun.
After an often cloudy, occasionally drizzly start to the trip, this morning began with sun rays through the window, strong and true, and I was reminded of April 2010, the heat, the rays, the blue, the green.
Ben and I were back in the car, driving to the home of one of my fellow New Trier class of 2000ers. He has lived in L.A. since 2007; I was coming through to do an interview with him about the life of a Chicago sports fan transplant, while also interviewing his friend Gar, a man known professionally as Batting Stance Guy, the world’s greatest impersonator of professional baseball players’ stances and swings.
“Can he do Dawson?” Ben asked me, concerning Andre Dawson, his old favorite Cub.
“I’m sure he can.”
“Can he do old Dawson and young Dawson?”
“I would say almost definitely.”
We got to the house, and Ben dropped me off. Inside, Alex’s housemates directed me upstairs. I walked up the stairs and found a closed door. I knocked, and a voice said, “Hey – ” I opened the door to Alex’s room and saw another door to a roof, where Alex and Gar were seated. They welcomed me to the deck, and I shook hands with Gar and sat down. Sun glared in my eyes, and I took my sunglasses off my shirt. They wore shades too. But I was dressed for an earlier meeting, jeans and a button down and my wool Kangol, while they were in t-shirts.
“Yeah, get it off!” Alex said when I tossed my hat on a table and unbuttoned my shirt. “Anybody want a Coke?” he asked. We both accepted, and he returned with three cans and a bag of Pretzel Crisps.
“Beautiful summer day, gotta have a Coke,” he said.
I popped mine open. My finger dipped below the rim and I licked the liquid’s syrupy sweet. We spoke for ten minutes, enjoying our Cokes and the sun and the air and a roof deck in February. Then we started, Gar going first and revealing during the sound check that his favorite ballplayer before the age of 15 was Kent Hrbek.
“What did he look like?” Alex asked.
“What weight class?” responded Gar, who then delivered three Hrbeks, one at 215 pounds, one at 230, one at 250.
I texted Ben when the interview ended, and put my shirt back on over my white tee, leaving the buttons undone and my hat in my hand. Gar was giving Alex a ride to his next destination, and we walked off the deck, through the house, (sun on the floor tile), past the pool – a spacious backyard scene – and out to the winding roads. From there I walked the route Ben would be driving; smiles, sunshine, blue skies, warm air, loose L.A. shoes and tall L.A. trees.
“I tell you what,” I said when I got in, “it ain’t bad out here.”
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