Monday, December 04, 2006

A Shell Of A Time

I kidnapped Shell Saturday night.

Shell is the young woman, 19 going on 40 going on 19 in the 1960's, who has shared our home and our hearts for several months.

My friend, and co-worker, who is the announcer at the AT&T Center, where the Spurs play, called me at about 5:30 on Saturday afternoon and asked if I'd use his seats for the game that night, at 7 p.m....90 minutes from tip off. I, being of unsound mind and totally oblivious to anything but the words "free tickets" said, "Sure!" and raced out the door to retrieve the tickets from under his doormat across town, along with a couple of quad-venti lattes from a Starbucks on the route to help keep me and - I assumed - Amy, awake for the game.

As I was rushing across town on my single minded, quad-venti, mission Amy called to tell me she was, "throwing up." Being of unsound mind and totally oblivious as stated previously, I came up with the touching and loving response of, "You'll rally."

Yeah, I scored big points.

Amy really wanted me to go and started actually calling people, anyone and everyone, to see if they'd "sub" for her. She was pretty far down the list before I called her again, two quad-venti lattes in hand, and realized her strategy. I begged her to stop and not to worry. I've gone to games alone before, the tickets were free.

Plus there were some folks on her "desperation" list whom I didn't really want to spend the next few hours sitting next to...even amidst a deafening crowd.

It wouldn't have been the first time I've had a last minute invite and gone it alone. In past instances, I've found someone standing in line looking to buy a single ticket and simply handed them my extra saying, "No charge, enjoy the game." Most of the time those recipients didn't believe me until they squeezed by the lady with the beehive hair-do who has season tickets on the same row and realized I was sitting in the seat next to the one that had dropped like manna from Heaven into their laps. Almost always the only response I've received has been a rather incredulous - oftentimes suspicious - look and a mumbled, "um thanks."

I don't blame 'em, I mean in today's world you don't expect strangers to appear out of no where and give you something you were seeking for free. I wish that weren't the case, but that's a tangent I'll let your mind chase solo....I was still in full Spurs' frenzy.

So, by the time I got home and saw Amy struggling to put on make-up so she wouldn't look like the walking dead - I won't remark on the success of this effort, I love this woman and also am fond of my life - there was little time to strategize, but I knew there was no way I was going to drag Amy to the game despite her rather sorry but admirable "put me in Coach" attitude.

I snagged my latte and started scrambling out the door just as Shell was walking in. Shell is not a sports fan. Shell has never been to a Spurs game. Shell has never been to the AT&T Center. Shell couldn't tell me which team was the Spurs when we were sitting 40 feet away from them.

I grabbed her arm and said, "Great! You're here just in time! We're going to watch the Spurs!"

Being 19 years old and misplaced in time - she really should have been born in the 60's - her response was, "What the *&%# man!" Followed by, "Sorry, I wasn't talking to you."

She's 19, she had a cell phone to her ear talking to some poor schmoe who I think was expecting her somewhere else.

So it goes. My rules. You're always subject to being least those were the rules Saturday night.

If you're going to take a hostage, you really can't get bogged down in their lives.

Moments later, we were in the car. There were a few more expletives, a little bleary-eyed wonderment (Shell tends to sleep days so my 6 p.m. is like her 6 a.m.) and then she said, "Where are we going? How long is this going to last? Why am I going?"

All good questions considering the circumstances, I responded with my usual wisdom, grunting, "Free tickets...Go Spurs Go!"

The blessing is that Shell really is a child of the 60's, or should have been, and her protestations stopped rather quickly, apparently deciding to go with the flow, the karma, or whatever she was experiencing at the moment.

We arrived at the game with time to spare. I was well fueled on caffeine and Shell was beginning to wake up, at least enough to shout, "FOUR DOLLARS FOR A COKE? YOU COULD FEED A FAMILY FOR THAT!"

I ushered us to our seats, past the beehive hair-do lady, as fast as I could avoiding a few wary-eyed security guards who still had Shell's spontaneous remarks about the price of a bottle of water going through their heads...and eardrums.

The game was sloppy and Shell spent most of the first half text messaging her friends, presumably the folks she was supposed to be with, but no one showed up to arrest me for kidnapping so I'm assuming she kept it tame, or she didn't remember our exact seat numbers - thank God for sell-outs.

At half-time, Shell left to use the restroom and I expected to hear a skirmish, but mercifully that's the one thing the AT&T Center doesn't charge for....yet.

She came back moments before the second half tip-off muttering something about the price of nachos and the homeless, I breathed a sigh of relief, and then the action resumed...on court.

Soon I noticed Shell was paying less attention to her phone and more to the scoreboard. The Spurs could have put that game away early, but they managed to make it a squeaker and it came down to the very final fragments of a second with a desperation heave from a Sacramento player.

It missed. The Spurs won, and Shell was jumping up and down with the best of us maniacs. I still don't think she understands or cares a lick about basketball...but as we were walking out of the arena she turned to me and said, "Thanks for kidnapping me...that was fun."

How many kidnappers get to hear that?