It’s Derek Jeter’s last season. This depresses me on many levels. Makes me feel old, yada yada yada, but mostly, it brings me back to his rookie season in 1996 (ninth grade) and the many nights I stayed up late into the night with my clock radio pressed to my ear so I could hear the end of the Yankees’ extra-inning games. So, in honor of his last season, I’m posting an old essay I wrote about love and baseball. It’s called “Me and My Mattingly.”
The first time I fell in love, I was seven years old. The Yankees were not a great team back then, despite the impressive talent on their roster: Dave Winfield. Rickey Henderson. Don Mattingly.
It was Mattingly who first caught my eye. Tall and pinstriped with a stately sheriff’s moustache, Don was a real looker. His dimpled chin, deeply set eyes and near-constant stubble—this was a rugged, adorable hunk.
Most importantly, like me—and like so many great first basemen—he was left-handed. Left-handed! We had so much in common: I ate with my left hand. So did Don! I threw a ball with my left hand. So did Don! At night, I curled my teddy bear into the crook of my left arm. And so did Don! He and I were obviously a match made in heaven. The only real problem was that we’d never actually met.
Did I tell you I have a new job?
In October, I left my outpost in downtown Vancouver, Washington, where, from my cubicle, I could watch the bridge lift up and down over the Columbia River. I now spend my work week in a windowless cube under blue fluorescent lights in a “skyscraper” in downtown Portland.
(Or what counts as a skyscraper in Portland. The building has less than 30 floors.)
Working in downtown Portland means I’ve been able to leave my car at home and take the bus or light rail to work, which makes me feel like I’m back home in New York (sort of). It has also meant that Martin could sell his troubled Toyota to a man who knocked on the door and offered cash for it, full well aware of the condition it was in.
Taking the bus has many perks. One less car insurance bill. Less gas. One less car on the road. My work subsidizes my pass, so it’s only $40 a month for unlimited rides. And I can lost in a book during my commute, play games on my phone or stare idly out the window and think about absolutely nothing.
It also has its drawbacks.
In November, Martin and I went to Hawaii to celebrate the fact that we put a ring on one another’s finger and agreed to put up with each other’s gas until we’re old and incredibly gassy.
(I jest. It was much more romantic than that.)
These are the iPad doodles I drew from our trip. We began in Oahu, where we camped on the beach at Waimanalo Bay while we played in an ultimate frisbee tournament. (I know. I know. On our honeymoon. But it was only fitting! We met playing ultimate, so why not celebrate our marriage by playing ultimate?) Afterwards, we drove up to the North Shore, where my cousin got us a family discount to a fancy resort for a couple of nights.
Then we flew to Kauai and stayed in a rental house I found the night before on the Internet. It was perfect: Ten minutes up a single-lane road outside of a historic plantation town that’s outside of the slightly larger historic plantation town that’s outside of the tourist outpost of Popui (on the sunny side of the island). We had a majestic view of the ocean from our lanai, where we could see the private island Niihau on the horizon.
The trip was relaxing and wonderful, save for the moment I slipped off of a trail while hiking on the Napali Coast, rolled my ankle and somersaulted off the edge, catching onto a palm as I rolled to stop my fall. Nothing like hanging off the edge of a cliff to make you thankful to be with the one you love.
I drew most of these in Hawaii, without my stylus (which went missing right before we left). I drew the rooster and the cat when we got home—you can see the difference the stylus makes.
We got married! The wedding was awesome in every way possible. Here is a small selection of the more than 900 wonderful photos our photographer took. Photo credit: Bryan Rupp Photography