1. I watched a lot of college basketball today: Villanova wore down Seton Hall in a victory; Georgia Tech upset Florida State; Virginia Tech surprised suddenly cold shooting Virginia; and Gonzaga pummeled Pepperdine. Sometimes when I watch these games, I daydream about playing on certain teams. I love to dream about playing for Villanova. I would have loved to have played for Coach Jay Wright. His teams pass the ball beautifully, put one another in great spots on the floor to shoot from, work cohesively on defense, and have great trust in one another. Likewise, I dream about being young and talented and playing for Gonzaga for similar reasons. I would have loved to have played on a team that has a set offense they run and that are coached to improvise within that system.
Watching Gonzaga's players improvise reminds me of the best days I experienced being in plays when I felt connected with my fellow actors. We had memorized our lines. We knew each other's tendencies on stage. We had internalized our director's instructions. And then we played, we worked off of each other, we responded to our fellow actors, and were alive and aware in each moment. I see Gonzaga's players, as they combine discipline and freedom, really playing basketball, being creative, and enjoying themselves.
2. I don't drink much beer these days. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might remember when I used to chronicle in these pages the beers I drank and how I experienced them. I drank many of those beers in tap houses and tasting rooms in some kind of social situation. I look forward to when I will drink beers in such establishments again, but, for now, I'm home by myself a lot. I don't enjoy drinking alcohol by myself very much.
Today, however, I decided to pop open the can of Daft Badger's Blood Orange IPA I've had in the fridge ever since the day Jeff and Anne dropped by for a visit in December.
I had forgotten just what a great citrus bomb this beer is. I nursed it for about an hour and enjoyed not only its immediate hit of orange-y splendor, but the bitterness that complimented the citrus, giving the beer a bite that kept it from being overly juicy.
One pint of beer was enough, but it was a most enjoyable one.
3. As I relaxed in bed, I ended my day my tuning in to an episode of Fresh Air from earlier in the month and listened to Terry Gross interview Fran Lebowitz about the documentary series she made with Martin Scorsese on Netflix, Pretend It's a City. Listening to Lebowitz talk about how she's not had much difficulty being by herself for long periods of time in her apartment during the pandemic in New York City somehow reminded me of a point she made in Pretend It's a City. In the documentary, Fran Lebowitz talked about herself as a reader. It frustrates her when people she knows talk about books in terms of whether they could relate to them or not -- in other words, if these readers do not find themselves in the book in some way, they lose interest. Lebowitz's point was that we should read precisely because we do not find ourselves in books, but rather enter into unfamiliar worlds, learn about things we've never experienced, and enlarge our worlds. I used to try to nudge my students into this kind of approach to reading, trying to persuade my students that in school you do best by delving into books that take you out of yourself, not that merely confirm the self you think you already are.
This got me thinking about how long it's been since I either read a book or watched a movie where I said to myself while taking it in, "That's totally me! I see myself in this story! I can sooo relate to that!" I used to have this sense of identifying with movie or book characters happen much more often when I was younger. I felt a deep kinship with the characters in the movie Return of the Secaucus 7 when I was in my late twenties. Similarly, there were moments in Ordinary People when I felt like Timothy Hutton's character, Conrad, I were the same person. It meant everything to me when this deep sense of connection happened when I was young.
I don't experience that thrill any longer -- and haven't for quite a while. For example, I loved listening to Fran Lebowitz riff on subjects in Pretend It's a City. But, not once did I think to myself, "I'm just like her!" I'm not. I'm not opinionated, acerbic, brash, or much else that she is. But, I enjoy her being the way she is, I enjoy her stories that often have nothing to do with the life I live, and I enjoy the way her observations expand my imagination and help me have new daydreams about New York City.
I need to alter what I just wrote a bit: I did feel a sense of kinship with Martin Scorsese during Pretend It's a City. He spends most of his time on screen laughing at things Fran Lebowitz says and I enjoyed joining him, loved seeing him sometimes double over when she really killed him off, and thinking, "That's exactly what I'd do!"