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Chapter 25
‘Did I cause any embarrassment?’
Rosie had been concerned that I might make inappropriatecomments during our tour of the World Trade Center site. Ourguide, a former firefighter named Frank, who had lost many ofhis colleagues in the attack, was incredibly interesting and Iasked a number of technical questions that he answeredintelligently and, it seemed to me, enthusiastically.
‘You may have changed the tone a bit,’ she said. ‘You sort ofmoved the attention away from the emotional impact.’ So, Ihad reduced the sadness. Good.
Monday was allocated to visiting popular tourist sights. We hadbreakfast at Katz’s Deli, where a scene for a film called WhenHarry Met Sally was shot. We went to the top of the EmpireState Building, famous as a location for An Affair toRemember. We visited MOMA and the Met, which wereexcellent.
We were back at the hotel early – 4.32 p.m.
‘Back here at 6.30,’ said Rosie.
205/290‘What are we having for dinner?’
‘Hot dogs. We’re going to the baseball.’
I never watch sport. Ever. The reasons are obvious – orshould be to anyone who values their time. But myreconfigured mind, sustained by huge doses of positivereinforcement, accepted the proposition. I spent the nexthundred and eighteen minutes on the internet, learning aboutthe rules and the players.
On the subway, Rosie had some news for me. Before she leftMelbourne, she had sent an email to Mary Keneally, aresearcher working in her field at Columbia University. She hadjust received a reply and Mary could see her tomorrow. Butshe wouldn’t be able to make it to the Museum of NaturalHistory. She could come Wednesday, but would I be okay bymyself tomorrow? Of course I would.
At Yankee Stadium we got beer and hot dogs. A man in acap, estimated age thirty-five, estimated BMI forty (i.e.
dangerously fat), sat beside me. He had three hot dogs! Thesource of the obesity was obvious.
The game started, and I had to explain to Rosie what washappening. It was fascinating to see how the rules worked in areal game.
Every time there was an event on the field, Fat Baseball Fanwould make an annotation in his book. There were runners onsecond and third when Curtis Granderson came to the plateand Fat Baseball Fan spoke to me. ‘If he bats in both of theseguys he’ll be heading the league on RBI. What are the odds?’
I didn’t know what the odds were. All I could tell him was thatthey were somewhere between 9.9 and 27.2 per cent based onthe batting average and percentage of home runs listed in theprofile I had read. I had not had time to memorise thestatistics for doubles and triples.
Fat Baseball Fan nevertheless seemed impressed and we begana very interesting conversation. He showed me how to markthe programme with symbols to represent the various events,and how the more206/290sophisticated statistics worked. I had no idea sport could be sointellectually stimulating.
Rosie got more beer and hot dogs and Fat Baseball Fanstarted to tell me about Joe DiMaggio’s ‘streak’ in 1941 whichhe claimed was a uniquely odds-defying achievement. I wasdoubtful, and the conversation was just getting interesting whenthe game ended, so he suggested we take the subway to a barin Midtown. As Rosie was in charge of the schedule, I askedfor her opinion, and she agreed.
The bar was noisy and there was more baseball playing on alarge television screen. Some other men, who did not appear tohave previously met Fat Baseball Fan, joined our discussion.
We drank a lot of beer, and talked about baseball statistics.
Rosie sat on a stool with her drink and observed. It was latewhen Fat Baseball Fan, whose actual name was Dave, said hehad to go home. We exchanged email addresses and Iconsidered that I had made a new friend.
Walking back to the hotel, I realised that I had behaved instereotypical male fashion, drinking beer in a bar, watchingtelevision and talking about sport. It is generally known thatwomen have a negative attitude to such behaviour. I askedRosie if I had offended her.
‘Not at all. I had fun watching you being a guy – fitting in.’
I told her that this was a highly unusual response from afeminist, but that it would make her a very attractive partnerto con............
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