Feeling motivated by the previous post (Passion), I decided to reach out and touch some people this weekend.
I made friends with the old lady at the Cal game who sits in front of us. Her mother was 10 during the 1906 earthquake so I’m guessing, based on her facial hair that she is about 92. Honestly, for me, it was love at first sight when Audrey scooched into the seats in front of us at ATT Park three months ago, with her son Mark who looks like a 70 year old Peter Fonda (just checked Peter Fonda is 71 years old).
I watched the twosome all season long in my observation, grateful mode. The son would buy his mother every single food item a vendor had to offer; sometimes jumping over seats to get the vendor’s attention (especially the Haggen-Daz ice cream guy). She ate (without the slightest inclination of guilt) caramel corn, garlic fries, hot dogs, peanuts, you name it; I’m pretty sure if there was a bourbon vendor, Mark would have been balancing a full Cal Bear plastic cup full of Jack Daniels over three rows of seats in an effort to get it to his mom.
Finally, during the last home game of the season, I decided to make friends. My icebreaker, “What would you do if there was an earthquake right now?” Hence, I know how old her mother was in 1906, and I also know she is the “Disaster Chairperson” at the Berkeley Senior Center, “because I am a senior . . . after all.” If I had bothered to step outside of my comfort zone a few games earlier, I’d probably know a lot more stuff about this woman and her 92 years here on the planet.
What I know for sure is that she is kind; never judging the two guys in our section who talked nonstop about their penchant for financing start-up companies or the little boys who kept hitting each other under the tent they made with their poncho (she leaned over during a rain storm and said to the oblivious father, “My boys used to do that when they were little,” and motioned to Peter Fonda).
I know that she is intelligent because she graduated from UC Berkeley in 1951, and because she said things during our very brief conversation that I was sure I was supposed to understand, but didn’t. I knew that she was compassionate because she didn’t write me off when I didn’t understand, and she was able to explain in a way that didn’t make me feel inferior, and more importantly that I learned from.
I know that she is beautiful in spite of her gruff exterior (a fisherman’s cap, oversized sweatshirt, and baggy sweatpants) because she had the type of eyes that are invincible to age; the eyes that show off one’s soul and one’s inner beauty. I know that she is fun because she is 92 and has season tickets to Cal football! I know that she is loving because as we passed each other in the aisle at the end of the game, she opened her arms and hugged me good-bye.
I know that she is a great mom because 1) her 70 year old son is willing to leap over stadium chairs to make her happy and 2) her 70 year old son is able to leap over stadium chairs.
She reminds me of some good friends I know. hope I see her again.