I actually did stuff this past weekend, hosting MMA impresario Dave Doyel on a trek to Fort Myers for Red Sox spring training.
Here are the bullet points.
• I did not get lost from the airport.
• I did miss the exit to 75 North, which crosses Florida east to west. Just a small diversion.
• I still did not get lost from the airport.
• I had my first memorable Jacuzzi experience. Where I hung out in Rhode Island and Boston, Jacuzzis were rather rare. Those things are relaxing! Either that, or it sapped all my youthful vigor and turned me into a static prune.
• We sat in the Jacuzzi with a farming couple form Minnesota. The salt of the earth cavorting with evil librul commu-fascists. They were none the wiser.
• I challenged Mr. Doyal to a swim race, assuming a victory. Instead, I was routed. I'm used to some jabroni challenging me on the basketball court, his head filled with hubris, and then quickly and coldly dispatching that hubris. To be on the opposite end is not as enjoyable. I am not a creature of the water.
• We drove around our first night in sprawling, octogenarian Fort Myers looking for a cool place to eat. We ended up at P.K. Sam's aka P.F. Chang's. After more than four years down here, I should know that you don't find cultured eating in this state.
• Game 1 on Friday afternoon. Great seats several rows up near home plate at the spring home of the Minnesota Twins, Hammond Stadium. Carl Crawford didn't make solid contact once and Jonathan Papelbon could not find the strike zone. Recipe for a Red Sox defeat.
• I did get revenge for my loss in the swimming pool with a thrilling win at Smuggler's Cove mini-golf course. I started out hot, went into a slump, but then turned on my Ironwill O'Houlihan motor to pull out a one-shot victory.
• We met up with some of Dave Doyil's Harvard buddies, one who used to work as a hawk back in the pre-Sears days. Dark, dark times. I heard of a scoring scandal and a hilarious story involving Sport Joe. For more details, you'll have to ask nicely.
• One of the guys thought about being a journalist but instead went into consulting. He asked if he made the right choice. After laughing uproariously, I asked him, "Do you like money?" He nodded. I asked, "Do you like living like a normal human being?" He said yes. So I told him he made the right decision.
• This group of Boston-educated Red Sox fans ended up at the Fire Pit, one of those cookie cutter restaurants that tried its hardest to appear trendy and appealing. Mediocre food. While we left, they were setting up the place into a nightclub. During the day, I hear it's a library and a BINGO hall. (I've been watching too much Larry Sanders.)
• The next day was a trip to City of Palms Park, the site of the Boston Red Sox. We packed into the right field bleachers and baked in the sun while we (mostly me) tried to find as many non-Caucasians attending a Red Sox game as possible. And I found a few.
• I was there for Adrian Gonzalez's first at-bat in a Red Sox uniform, a solid single. The game went very well, even John Lackey pitched like a professional.
• The one player who stood out in both games was by far Jacoby Ellsbury. He smashed the ball all over the field in the two games we saw, including a home run against the Marlins.
• After the game, NESN reporter Heidi Watney walked right by us. Just thought I'd mention that.
In summation, you can't beat a few days of spring training baseball in wonderful Florida weather with likable people. And while Fort Myers has its faults, Dave said, "I could see myself loving to live here when I'm 70."
After last week's unfortunate events, this little excursion was the perfect elixir. Now it's time to enter the chaos that is mid-March at my job. It begins Thursday.