Column #48 Getting to the Game
February 1, 1998
Getting to the Game
Under normal circumstances the act of going down to the pub for a few beers and a night at the oche is a simple maneuver. You grab your darts, the keys to the car and roll. You then drink too much, throw too long and spend the drive home constructing a creative excuse for why you’re about to walk in the door an hour past the time told your spouse to expect you. “Damn, honey, I was hot tonight. Couldn’t miss. Won six bucks. Here — go buy yourself a new outfit.”
For some, and for reasons I simply can not comprehend, this seemingly simple routine takes on a complexity that is downright mysterious. Take for example my friend Tommy Molina who routinely shows up absent some his darts. Not all of them mind you — just one, or two. How such a thing can happen, and happen regularly, to me anyway, is no less strange than forgetting to step into your underwear in the morning. And Tommy has this problem too. Seriously, this is a guy that just plain shouldn’t drink.
And then there’s my buddy Phil Hoods who has no problem with the basic process. He hops into the car, tosses his darts onto the passenger seat, always arrives early — and then spends a good ten minutes trying to then find his darts among the piles of beer cans and crumpled Marlboro packages that comprise the interior decorating scheme of his car. Once, and I swear this is true, Phil actually couldn’t find his darts for an entire season. Was convinced someone stole them until he discovered them swallowed up somewhere in the back seat of his Honda.
In Dartoid’s World remembering the darts ain’t the problem. It’s the getting to the game part that’s often more complicated than the game itself is worth. This currently comes to mind as I head to Indonesia for a night out with some guy I met on the Internet. I’m heading to a bar that I have no name or address for. It’s close to a hotel called the Nikko, as if that helps. Or as if it matters — I’m still more than a day away.
I’m at the airport in Zurich as I write. Some twenty hours ago I left my home and my wife and my dog and my sanity behind. I haven’t slept. I’ve eaten airline garbage. Watched Air Bud. And memorized the better part of the Swiss Air Gazette in-flight magazine. There’s an interesting article about how the big hotel chains are going about courting women, expected to comprise fifty percent of all business travelers by the year 2000. One nifty idea is that they’re stocking rooms with cotton balls. Not that I doubt this is a stroke of genius that someone should be paid big bucks for (my wife buys about a billion of the puffs a year) but just what do women do with these things anyway?
Coming off the escalator en route to a fourteen-hour layover in the transit lounge I was nearly sucked into the earth when my shoelace got stuck between the disappearing steps of the machine. As I struggled to free my foot a rotund French woman cursed me as she squeezed past my predicament. I had unhappy thoughts.
Presently I am sitting in a little restaurant contemplating a plate of cheese chunks (choix de fromages sur assiette) and an uncarbonated coke with no ice (Europeans have some sort of mental block about ice). I long for more airplane garbage. I want to throw darts. And now that my foot is free my greatest desire is to hunt down the escalator lady and kick her in her fat french derriere.
In some eight hours I’ll begin the next ten-hour segment of my trip. My route takes me over Turkey and Iraq, Afghanistan and India. The Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. I’m thinking of flushing every toilet on the plane as we skirt the Teheran airspace. It’s long past time someone finished the work George Bush left incomplete.
Following another couple hour layover in Bangkok, a quick hop to Singapore and yet another layover, and a few more hours in the air I’ll land in Indonesia and begin to chart my way to the center of Jakarta to find my game. This, of course, is assuming that my darts, which are packed in my luggage, also manage to find their way to the end of this nightmare of a journey.
And, if they don’t show up, well… just call me Tommy or Phil.
From the Field,
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