Friday, August 16, 2002

Food, Football and "AHHH F@#$!!" (and not in a good way)

I got two tickets to a Tennessee Titans pre-season game against the Raiders (I still want to call them the Oakland Raiders). Our company has tickets for customers and guests when they come into town. We do the same for Hockey. It's a good fun way to treat our customers when they come by for training or for prospective customers when we want to butter them up.

So I got one and my department coworker got one. I considered them a birthday present since his B-day is on the 19th and mine is on the 20th. (Little b-day plug there) However after lunch yesterday Eric started feeling not so good. He also didn't relish the idea of driving home so late. Since he's about an hour out of town, give or take, I can see his point.

So last minute I asked my coworker and friend San if she wanted to go. And I know how you ladies LOVE to be asked out at the last minute, but she likes sports so she perked up quick. She had other plans, but they were canceled, but not until about 4:30 and I was freaking wondering if I was going to have to go alone! That would have SUCKED!

So we changed and consolidated vehicles (drove mine) and headed downtown. Traffic was heavy but not too terrible. We got down by the parking garages and San tells me to turn down this alley. That there is a secret parking spot there and no one gets towed there. I was a bit hesitant and uncertain. She said, "Trust me." So I did.

We walked down to Buffalo Billiards and hunted for some seats. This was at 5:45. By 6:15 we FINALLY got our order taken. But only because I went up to the bar and ordered there. The wait-staff was pretty busy or under staffed. We got our food at 6:30-6:40 and chowed! The game started at 7! The Santa Fe Dip sandwich is pretty good. Nothing special, but it tasted good. Not worth the $7.55 that is cost though. Oh well.

We checked our watches and realized we needed to get going. Chugged our beers and headed out. The walk to the Coliseum was pretty easy and without incident. We got to our seats, in section 103, and found our other coworkers (we have 4 seats).

It was a good game and we pretty much crushed the Raiders. They fumbled a lot and we had a couple of interceptions. It was 14 to nothing before San and I even got to our seats and we were only about 3 minutes late!

This was my first NFL game that I've been to. I've been to college games (GO BIG RED!) but they don't quite compare. It's different. I think I prefer going to hockey games better. The crowd really made the game, but as for watching it I might as well have watched it on TV. I spent more time watching the jumbo-tron than the field!

One bonus was watching the peewee football during half-time. These little 5-7 year olds out there in helmets and pads that are as big as they are trying to play foot ball. It wasn't real organized but they were as good as some college flag-football games I've been in! They were pretty cute and funny. The stadium commentator was calling the games too, that was funny. They had two teams on each end of the field. The teams even had cheerleaders! Cute little girls following the leads of the adult cheerleaders. I don't think they made much of an impact on the boys playing other than, "EEwww! Girls! Coodies!!" The other boys on the side line were cheering more. They were jumping up and down in excitement. I could imagine them bouncing thinking, "I wanna play! I wanna play!!" All the crowd loved them. I mean how could you not?

About half way through the 4th quarter we decided to go ahead and leave. People just meandering out of the stadium This bugged San. Have you ever seen those people on the Interstate who weave through the lanes to get ahead. That is what San was like. I was keeping up and trying not to step on her heals, like I did three other times that evening. I got threatened with having to carry her if I broke her shoe. I'm not a big man, but pretty strong, but still, it was a long walk to the car! Plus I suspect I would have been beaten with the shoe before having to carry her. LOL

On the way back to the car I joked how it would suck if my car had gotten towed. I was told to stop worrying about it. As we walked up the alley I could see other cars, mine wouldn't have been visible from our angle, and I felt confident that mine was going to be there. We rounded the corner and....ummm...that red SUV is not my car.

Since there were other cars there my first worry was, 'Has my car been stolen?' But I quickly decided that it was more likely that it had just been towed. We looked around and saw signs that said you'd be towed, but none that listed a phone number. I think at this point I was in a bit of shock.

We walked up the alley further and found a towing sign that had a phone number. San called it since my phone was in my car and I probably wasn't in the right frame of mind. They place she called didn't have the car, but they suggested another company that might. She called them. No luck, but they gave us another company to call. She called them and they did have it, though she had trouble hearing or understanding what they were saying. I'm not sure which as all I was hearing was, "What did you say?"

Before calling this company a couple walked up to their car that was still parked safe and sound. The woman asked if we had been towed. She also knew about the spot where we parked and commented that is was one of her secret spots too. This gave San some more credibility about the "trust me" thing, but honestly I wasn't really mad at her. They offered to give us a ride, but be declined. OOPS! Cuz just as soon as they left we found the car and where it was. We missed our ride! Just then a friendly and very "country" guy was walking down the alley. San asked him if he was going home and if we could have a ride. I have to give her this, she is a bold woman. He apologized and said he lived down town but was nice enough to give us suggestions of how to get down town quickly and hit the least amount of post game traffic. But, uh, dude we don't have a car! At least he tried, in his camo hunting cap. He lives downtown Nashville?? I guess I've been around the cosmopolitan groups too much. Forgot how decent "real" people can be.

So we went walking and this is were I started to run afoul. I suggested finding an ATM as I was worried that the towing company wouldn't take plastic. San pointed out a cabbie would require cash too. Good thinking and the last of my good thinking that evening.

San felt that getting a cab so soon after the game would be a bad idea as we'd spend a fortune on cab fare for just sitting in traffic. No thanks. So the next question was where to wait out the crowd. We had three choices; in a bar, in a hotel lobby (there are a number in downtown Nashville) and just sitting outside. Neither of us was too thrilled with hanging out in a hot smoky bar. The idea of having a beer at that point didn't really appeal to me and I was already hot and sticky from the game and the 100% humidity.

This is where I started to get into trouble. I have a lot of pride and I did not feel that it was right or appropriate for us to loiter in a hotel lobby, even if it was nice an cool. I was also thirsty. I just wanted water but I wasn't going to get it. I started getting pissy. San wanted me to choose and I couldn't. I'm learning that words and phrases like, "whatever" and "I don't care" are like nails across the chalkboard for women. I tend to pick strong willed women as friends too, so needless to say San was NOT please with my answers.

At this point San looks me in the eyes and says very sternly and with an edge, "You are making an already difficult situation worse! Make a decision before I really get mad!" Needless to say I snapped to attention. One, this was right on a street corner and people were walking by us and a noticed a few people glancing at us. I think I even saw a look from a guy that seemed to say, "I feel for ya bro." I didn't really make a definite choice but at that point I think it was clear that I didn't want to hang out in a hotel either. Actually I think I may have even said so. So San took the lead and we walked up the street a couple blocks and then over. San had a plan. I wasn't sure what exactly it was, but at that point I wasn't going to argue.

San was trying to get to Broadway, the "main" street that goes through downtown and westward. There would have been lots of traffic, but lots of taxi's too. I'm guessing that was the plan. But we walked down the street and ran into Renaissance Hotel. As this is the same place we hold our company users conference (this will be the third year in a row) I felt more ok with hanging out here. We walked in and San asked about getting a cab. The front desk pointed us back outside to the guest drop-off/pickup area. There one of the hotel employees could hail us a cab. This was a stroke of luck for us because frankly we were both pretty frazzled at this point.

The guy was pretty busy so it took about 5 minutes for us to get him to call us a cab, but then we were off. The cabby got us to the place and the dude wanted cash for the tow. Thank god for the ATM. The "almost" uh oh was that on the phone they told San it was $55 for the tow. This guy wanted $65. Did he rip us off? I dunno. Between San and I we gave him all the cash we had. She had to dig in her purse for change to get to $65 as we only had $64 in actual bills.

Finally we hit the road. At this point we were only about 1/2 mile from where we work! We could have just taken a cab to and from the game and saved money! The tickets were $40 a piece, dinner was about $30 with drinks, the cab ride was about $10 and the tow was $65. Glad I didn't buy the tickets! Needless to say I'm parking in the parking garages from now on!

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