When my cousin moved 650 miles south of the Mason-Dixon Line in the year of our Lord 1995, the biggest difference for him was our highways. "Back home, it's only 2 lanes in each direction." He peered out the window and counted, "One, two, three, four, five, six! Six lanes in each direction! This is a 12-lane highway!"
And he's right. I've driven the streets of Philadelphia, Manhattan and up the Jersey Turnpike. I don't remember seeing a highway wider than 2 lanes in either direction. It makes Southerners bad drivers when we drive up North. We're not acquainted with the 2-lane etiquette of staying out of the left lane except to pass. We're lazy and we're used to having too many options.
Sunday we had another kickball game. It's only our second game since the previous week's was cancelled due to rain. We lost again, but this time the margin of loss was smaller, so I consider it an improvement. I contributed to the game twice: I played first base and got a player out and I sacrificed my kick so a male player could score. I'm really enjoying kickball and think I'll play the spring league.
But the real fun of the game is meeting up at the team bar afterwards. We had a couple of new players this game, one of which I had previously e-mailed on Facebook when I saw that we both friended the kickball league. I introduced myself to him and told him a little about our team that he had been assigned to. He responded and we shared a couple of friendly e-mails before meeting yesterday.
I was giving the waiter a hard time at the bar because I wanted to eat chicken wings, but the 10-piece serving was too big for me. Harvey asked the table, "Will no one share some wings with Sarah?" The guy offered to split the wings with me and then traded seats so we could sit next to each other.
Our conversation was easy. I can't say that for very many people I meet. But he and I had instant rapport. He teased me for grilling another new teammate, which then got him grilled with the questions. A Northerner from Cincinnati, he was surprised I didn't have a Southern accent.
"My parents are Northerners and every time I spoke with a Southern accent growing up, my parents would tease me until I cried, so, no, I don't have much of a Southern accent." There are several words I say differently than my parents, who speak Pennsylvania Dutch. They may have mocked me for my "heel" instead of "hill," but my father's "garage" sounds an awfully lot like "crotch."
"So, Schmoozer, what are your emotional feelings on beer pong?" I asked back.
He laughed. "I'm okay at beer pong, but I'm a champion at flip cup."
"Flip cup! I haven't played that since college!" I exclaimed.
"I'll have to have you over for some flip cup," he offered. "I've got a house with a grill. My roommate, she's cool, but she's with her boyfriend most weekends," he quickly added.
It was good. It was easy. It was natural.
It was time to leave. I got in my car. Schmoozer got in his white vintage convertible. It was an Alfa Romeo. Everyone headed home. I followed Schmoozer on the highway. Despite the six lanes, I could always spot him in my rear-view mirror. After about 10 miles on the highway, I saw him make his way to the exit as I continued straight back into the city. As he headed up the exit ramp, our cars were parallel to each other. I felt like a stalker until I saw his face was turned towards me. I looked ahead to the road and looked back at him. He was still facing me and stuck his hand up in the air and waved goodbye before heading out of sight.
It was the most action I've seen in months.