MIA @ DAL: Ugly
1/29/18 Dallas: I thought I was somewhat of a man, or at least could maybe play one on T.V. But then I went to Texas.
My good ole friend Maxie Shnapie met me in Austin over the weekend, and it became clear I was no man. I was attempting to grow a beard, because my hair was thinning up top and I had to do something. Upon arriving, Max -whose had a beard since we were roughly 14- informed me that I was doing it wrong. He said I had to bring it lower to make it seem like I had a more robust jaw. The beard was there to deceive; he said in so many words. I didn’t believe him, even though he’d been a bearded human for over a decade. I was stubborn with my ill-informed stance, that the beard should run directly on the jawline, ladies loved precision; I said in so many words. He didn’t even continue the argument with me, because he was extremely sure that I was very wrong. But I’d never been wrong about anything in my life, so Maxie Shnapie was in for a rude awakening.
As you may have guessed, his name was not actually Maxie Shnapie, but I had to belittle his name and make it sound infantile, because it turned out that I was very wrong about the jawline of a bearded human. The women of Austin, Texas made that quite clear.
By no means was I trying to besmirch my good friend. He was a handsome fella; he had his deceitful man beard, and Russian wrestler muscles, and other handsome man qualities. But we’d been out a million different times to a million different places in New York, and I’d never seen anything like this. He was swatting away hoes left and right. Max had a lady back home, so he was trying to deflect the hoes to me, but they could not have been less interested in that. This gal from a bachelorette-bridal-party-sweet-16-thingy was trying to hook him up with their group’s hot single friend, and Max just pointed to me and said, “here’s the single guy.” I couldn’t even describe the look of disappointment on her face, her face said, “wwhattt, hhiimmm??” It was hilarious. After her initial disgust, she came over to me and gave me the same proposition she posed to Max, but in a far more half-hearted manner. It was kinda like this, “yea…so… that’s my friend…she’s single…and you’re… you…so I don’t know,” or something like that. I told her to get the fuck out of here, I didn’t need her pity; ladies loved precision!! I didn’t say that, I said, “oh, cool, yea, we’ll see what happens,” but I was thinking the other thing I didn’t say. She walked back to her sweet-16 bridal-shower-gender-reveal party, we laughed and laughed as she retreated. I’d never been so insulted in my life.
Now look, I knew I wasn’t God’s gift to women, sorry, God’s gift to hoes, but, y’know, I was alright. I was tall and thin and had cool tattoos and had been called handsome by a wide enough range of humans to know I wasn’t hideous. But Jesus, I couldn’t even get a fuckin’ look, Austin was not digging what I was shoveling. And I also knew that wasn’t a saying, but I was growing a beard and trying new things. I was under the impression Austin was going to be another one of these hipster paradises, which historically boded somewhat well for me. But as we were hopping around from spot to spot, it became clear that some lanky half a hipster with silly tattoos, in the beginning stages of growing a beard, had no place… Deep In The Heart Of TEXXAASSS. That was one of the many songs that I didn’t dance with anyone to. Max had a line of hoes asking him to dance though, he kept deflecting to me and they kept being disappointed. As the last one came up to him, I just yelled out, “OH WHAT THE FUCK,” and the girl looked at me like I was an absolute maniac. And I suppose I was in that moment. I think Max was more delighted with how much it was pissing me off than flattered by how much attention he was getting. We grabbed some road beers from the bar for our walk back to the Aribnb, and laughed hysterically at my absolute lack of appeal.
I stayed in Austin another night after Max left, and had pleasant conversations with some of the folks back at the hostel. A few of the humans were even female humans, still being in Texas and having them engage with me in conversation felt like a great victory. My bar had been reset quite low.
I drove to Dallas the next day, and it seemed I’d never get the hell out of this state, but I had to go watch the Mavs in Dallas. I had to, because I said to no one that I would. I had already seen both the Mavs and the Heat play elsewhere on this trip so far, and I really had very little interest in this game. I had very little interest in Dallas as well. But I arrived there, and it was clean and kinda nice and there wasn’t much human activity or traffic in the city, so I was ok with it. The pillow in the hostel’s bed had some good volume to it, so what more could I have asked for. I suppose I could’ve asked for a game that I had any interest in, but at least the tickets were cheap.
The game itself was very ugly, as ugly and unappealing as I felt in Austin. There were tons of turnovers and wide open missed shots and bad defensive rebounding leading to more missed shots. And Harrison Barnes missed two wide open dunks, one was like a reverse that he didn’t need to attempt and he kinda just missed the rim entirely. He hit it with his hand, but the ball just got thrown in the other direction somehow, it was astonishingly bad. Hassan Whiteside was destroying the entire Mavs team down low, and the Heat were blowing them out, but like most bad-not very good teams in the NBA, they gave up the lead. The Mavs almost came all the way back. But like most bad-not very good teams, they fell short in the last minute of the game.
The guy seated next to me was a season ticket holder, he didn’t tell me that, but I could tell. I was seated in one of his seats because I didn’t want to sit with the family that was next to my seat. He said it was fine as long as the row stayed somewhat empty, because he came to game by himself, like a loser!! Who does that!! I could also tell he was a Mavs season ticket holder by the way he was interacting with the game. It kinda sounded like he was reading from a script of things that might be said a basketball game, and he was saying everything just loud enough for people to hear him, but to not have to engage. He was saying shit like this, in a dry monotone, “c’mon now, little defense,” “that’s why ya gotta box out,” “good pass, Wes,” (he called the Mavs players by their first names, because they were long time buds), “get that shot out of here,” “can we finish a play, gotta hit those shots,” and so on. It was like ½ motivational, ½ tough love, ½ shit talk, and ½ encouraging. Which equals 200% season ticket guy.
I actually liked him though, he knew what he was talking about, and he wasn’t a homer; not complaining that the refs were out to get his team. I had an opportunity to take him up on some friendly conversation after he made a comment about a couple getting engaged on this kiss cam, “about the fifteenth time I’ve seen that since last year,” and I liked that he also found it stupid when people did shit like that. But I didn’t, I just said, “yea, not as original as they think.” I was gonna ask him if he had season tickets, and I could tell he would’ve been more than happy to chat basketball and about my trip, but I just wasn’t in the mood. I was rarely in the mood to speak to other humans, I was able to force myself to be social when at hostels and such, but I really didn’t want to speak to anyone at a basketball game. It was easier to just eavesdrop, make wrong assumptions about them, and keep to myself.
Season ticket guy left midway in the 4th when the Mavs got down nearly 20. He missed their almost comeback, but I guess he knew what their fate was. He was season ticket guy, he spotted his team’s almost comeback victory from the 1st quarter. So he left. I kinda saw it coming as well, but I stayed until the end, because where else did I have to be. My friend had gone back to New York and my beard still wasn’t Texas ready, so I stayed until they officially fell short.