Monday Night Football Princess

While I sit here and sort-of-watch Monday Night Football with the Fairy GodBoyfriend (FGB), I am reminiscing on the game from last night, notably the Redskins &  Cowboys game in which the Cowboys lost in the last three seconds by simultaneously scoring a touchdown and a holding penalty. Yes, really. I don’t wish I was their coach last night.

Then again, I don’t exactly wish I was the Redskins coach either. I can’t imagine they celebrated their win at all — they screwed up only slightly less than the Cowboys. It would have been laughable had it not been so painfully consistent. The FGB still owes me a jersey, though. That was the deal.

There have already been two turnovers–correction THREE since I started writing– in this Jets & Ravens game tonight before halftime. I find myself wondering out loud if the first games of the season were all this sloppy. The FGB answers in the affirmative. The FGB is an Eagles fan. We won’t even talk about that game yesterday. Ouch.

Instead, let’s talk about synchronicity.

Almost three years ago, I was laid over in the Charlotte airport, waiting for my connecting flight to Charleston so I could attend my little sister’s wedding. The Vogue magazine featuring Soteria’s necklace had just hit stands. I had just broken up with my lying-cheating-thieving fiance, and I had checked a bag, so I couldn’t catch the earlier connecting flight. But Charlotte had free wifi and the airline had a couple of closed gates where there wasn’t a crush of people to breathe down my neck. I took advantage of both.

I was plinking away at the keyboard when a couple and two younger men sat down across from me. I didn’t mind too much — the younger guys were boisterous, but not annoyingly so. They also didn’t appear to be with the couple, as they parted ways and caught a flight after a few minutes. The couple was fairly quiet after that, I noted. I’m a writer. It’s my job to note things like how people interact with each other, and what they say to each other when they feel no one is paying attention.

One of the guys who worked for the airline approached us — I hoped he wasn’t going to make us leave the mostly-abandoned gate. Instead, he patted the man across from me on the back. “Hey, man. I just wanted to say that I’m not a fan of your team but I appreciate how hard you play.” The man smiled, thanked him, and shook the guy’s hand before he scurried off to…land a plane or something, probably.

There was another silence after that. The woman looked a little itchy for conversation.  I made a decision.

It’s rare having those times in your life when you can see both paths of your life diverging in that wood, but this was one of them. I had made the decision to be less passive in my life, and here was the perfect opportunity to put that resolution into action.

“I’m sorry,” I said over my laptop screen. “I should probably know who you are, but my boyfriend (I didn’t feel like going into details) is more of a British-type-football fan.” The man laughed and said it was okay. The woman smiled at me, so I kept talking. “Are you off to a game, or vacation?”

“Vacation,” the woman said, excitedly. “We’re going on a cruise.”

“Really? I’ve never been on a cruise. I’ve always wanted to go on one. Where is your favorite place to go?”

The woman rattled off a list of islands — some I’d heard of, some I hadn’t. “Cancun,” said the man. She rattled off more. “Cancun,” said the man. After the third time he repeated “Cancun,” the woman sighed. “He just says Cancun because he likes to fish.”

“I love to fish!” I told him, and went into how much fun my father and I always have fishing in Mosquito Lagoon, right beside the NASA shuttle launchpads. We talked about Cancun, and what he fishes for there. I told them both I was on my way to my sister’s wedding and bragged about her Vogue issue. We chatted leisurely until they called boarding for my flight and they wished me farewell.

When Dad picked me up in Charleston, I told him that Donovan McNabb and his wife sent Soteria and Charles their best wishes. He laughed and shook his head. “Only you, Alethea,” was all he said.

The synchronicity of it all is that while my life was falling spectacularly to pieces, Murphy was setting me up with an Eagles fan later down my road. And when I fell for that Eagles fan and took another, unprecedented, divergent path that led me from Pennsylvania to DC, Donovan McNabb made a similarly unprecedented move from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Washington Redskins. Their training field is right down the road from us.

What does it mean? Maybe nothing. Maybe it’s just another pattern in the chaos of the universe. Maybe I’ll run into Donovan again. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll mention our strange synchronicity.

More likely, I’ll ask him his best fish story.