The 2014 season really solidified some things for me. One very important lesson I learned was that “happy wife, happy life” is actually an effective tactic. It comes with some pretty simple instructions that ensure maximum happiness in a relationship, such as:
- give in to all things that make your wife happy and she won’t complain, bitch or nag about anything (a loose promise);
- act excited and interested about everything your wife does even if you’d rather dig your own eyes out;
- Compliment and encourage your wife in everything she does, even when you find it neurotic and/or counter-productive;
- Smile and say I love you to your wife even when you’re actually seeing red and want to charge her like a bull who was just riled up and released from the pen
All I had to do was replace “wife,” in the aforementioned theory with “Anthony” and we were guaranteed to be on the straight and narrow.
Sure, 2014 was yet another year of sacrifice – and I was still well aware of my commitment to Operation Pipedream – but boy did we have a lot more fun when we were finally working together toward the same goal. Gradually, I watched Anthony ease out of his desk-job funk and rediscover his happiness. It was really in those first couple months of the season that I truly saw Anthony for who he was, and what he was born to do. After almost four years, I had finally come to terms with the meaning of baseball in Anthony’s life. In fact, if you remember back to my very first post in this blog, it was this very moment that inspired me to begin writing about our journey in the first place. I was sitting alone in my apartment, reflecting on everything we had been through, and creating this blog to finally share my genuine pride in his talent. I had finally found a place within myself that was at peace with our unorthodox union, and happy to share what I had to learn to get there. Some might have taken a less obtrusive road – perhaps avoiding career suicide and crusty RV’s named Grandma – but I got there, nonetheless.
As a result, Anthony had a breakout season in 2014. He had already been really successful the previous years in Mexico, but this one really put him on the radar. Knowing I finally had his back 100% let him relax and focus on the game, instead of wondering if I might show up at the stadium and charge the field in an unprovoked rage. Some days, that wasn’t completely out of the question, but in 2014 I managed to keep my crazy, for the most part, tucked away. As Anthony continued jacking up his stats in every category, we floated along on cloud nine. Managers from the Mexican Major League started calling and asking about him, and rumors about him getting a contract with one of their teams began circulating. Those babies paid anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 per month and I started seeing a lot of new bags and shoes in my future. Hell, maybe even (dare I say it) a ring!? But the season wasn’t quite over, and it wouldn’t be a Bitching Mound blog post if we didn’t talk about the struggles. And kids, the struggle is real.
Despite the newfound solace within our relationship, we were still not exempt from our typical bouts with bad luck. On any given visit to Mexico I battled things like cockroach roommates, two-hour immigration waiting lines, stadium swamp-ass, and language barriers. I had learned to deal with all of them – even embracing the swamp-ass as a cultural norm – since 110 degrees was clearly going to be impossible to avoid, and I wasn’t going to give up a cute line of skirts for a little pool of sweat. Please. But one thing that no one is ever really prepared for in life, and a circumstance that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies, happened to me on one of my long drives back to Tucson. I know. You’re thinking: “What’s worse than hooking up an old, leaky shitter hose to Grandma?” but I assure you that this is worse. Far worse. I contemplated even sharing this with the world, but I want people to look at me and say “Jesus. You really love that guy.” This should pretty much solidify that.
After a particularly long wait in the border line, and listening to my two dogs rabidly barking at the six million street vendors shamelessly mauling my car for a buck, I couldn’t wait to get into America and get some food with a nutrition label in English. Hell, with a nutrition label at all for that matter. Unfortunately, my choices were limited to fast-food in Yuma right over the border, or wait three and a half hours until I was on the outskirts of Tucson at which point I could potentially be starved to death. And then my options were just more fast-food anyway. So I opted for McDonald’s over Taco Smell, I mean Bell, considering I was just trapped in Mexico with the real deal for three days, and indulged in two (not one) spicy ranch chicken sandwiches off the dollar menu. And a medium French fry. And a Diet Coke. See what I did there? I stuck with the diet soda – substituted chemicals for calories. Smart.
With three hours left ahead of me, and my appetite satiated, I sat back and settled into the lengthy drive. Nothing I hadn’t done a million time before – it was the story of my life. Work 40 hours, drive my bright red BMW into Mexico for the weekend, sit in baseball stands for ungodly lengths of time because some teams had pitchers that I could throw faster than, and then make the commute back home to gear up for another work week. Pretty standard stuff for a girlfriend, who sacrifices all sanity and normalcy, to date a boy who wants to grow up and be a professional athlete. What is NOT standard is cruising along in your car, jamming out to Beyonce in the middle of nowhere, just reflecting on a fun weekend, when the McDonald’s garbage you just polluted your body with decides to wreak havoc on your stomach.
Out of absolutely nowhere, I started to feel as though I might need to make a pit stop. Like soon. My stomach was flip-flopping like an 1800’s butter churn, and I felt the palms of my hands start to get clammy. Part of me felt grateful that I was already sitting, but I knew that would only hold me off for so long. Looking around at the endless sand dunes and cacti, I felt like God was somehow mocking me again. Like, “HAHAHAHA! Angela, did you really think your change of heart about baseball was going to get you off the hook of living a life of intermittent misery??? You are doomed to crap yourself!”
A few minutes passed, and there was no sign of life in sight. No rest stop signs, no exit signs, no God damn trees to even pull off and hide behind. Just wide open desert and Arizona summer heat. Fidgeting in my seat and demanding myself to pull it together, I sped up to about 90 mph. Things were getting desperate and I knew that if I got pulled over that I’d actually be able to use the excuse with an officer that I shit my pants so I kept the pedal to the metal. I started texting Anthony about my dilemma:
“I think I’m in trouble” … “I might shit myself” … “I hate this drive, this is all your fault!” “Call me, I’m scared!!”
Of course my cell service was about as strong as my faith at that point, so no one could save me. I sped up more, going close to 100 mph at this point. My dogs must have sensed my urgency and franticness because they were both sitting straight up now staring at me, making me more uncomfortable than I already was. Like they knew what was happening and secretly laughing about it as if it was some sort of vengeance for all the times I kept them locked in a cage all day. I felt like the whole world was against me. I wanted to flatulate (fart, if you will) but feared for my life if I did. Instead, I just prayed to God that any sort of exit at all would appear. I begged for a toilet of any kind – perhaps even a port-a-potty on the side of the road at a construction site where men annihilated that thing all day long. I would have gladly contributed to the filth – anything would be better than pooping outside in the desert – and after all I had been through it only seemed fair that my prayers be answered. But fairness had long escaped my life on the day I met Anthony, and I vowed to somehow blame him for all of this when it was over.
Gripping the steering wheel and rocking back and forth, I saw a green exit sign up in the distance. I pushed the car over 100mph and rocketed forward with a small surge of hope. I squealed around the small curve of the exit and pulled to a defeated stop. The exit literally went nowhere. To my left was a narrow dirt road that simply followed along the highway with a sign that read “business route.” Business route?!?!? What the f*&%?? To my right was a small, dirt round about area for cars to make a u-turn and now, where helpless souls went to defecate. With no time left to contemplate how much self-respect I was about to lose, I angled the car enough to block the view to the highway, threw it in park and grabbed the McDonald’s napkins that I had graciously saved. I had no idea what was about to happen, as I had never crapped into anything but a toilet, but I was sure it wasn’t going to be good. In a sweaty rage, I whipped down my shorts, muckled onto the front left fender of my car and prayed that no one would drive by as I became a full-fledged neanderthal on the side of the highway.
When it was all said and done, I sat back in my car and felt like I wanted to cry. I had just shit in the desert and left it sitting there like some stray dog would have. I was the epitome of an animal, so I did what all people who poop on the side of the road do – I called my mom.
She did her best to assure me that I was still a normal person, and that I had in fact, ‘finally lived’ now. (What?!) I began to question my decision to call her after that, but was in too much shock to debate her questionable morals. Instead, I called Anthony for some assurance about my life. Considering I have never even passed gas in front of Anthony in the entirety of our relationship, (okay once…on accident) he found the whole mishap to be beyond hysterical. I couldn’t win. I turned off Beyonce and just carried on with what used to be my standard drive home. Her normally empowering lyrics to “Flawless” didn’t seem to resonate as much with me anymore. I did not, in fact, “wake up like this.” So in the three hours of silence, I pondered what this baseball season (that I actually was on board with) had in store for us, and tried to block out the memory of what had just transpired.