Back on October 17th, 2003, this Social Rambler was a lowly cook at Tortilla Flats Mexican restaurant in Providence, RI. Having just finished my shift, I took my filthy apron off and joined the throng of noisy Red Sox fans at the bar. I had been receiving reports on the game from waiters and bartenders throughout, (still knotted at five) but I finally finished up in the kitchen and grabbed a Pacifico from the fridge. Huddled under a tiny TV that was almost never turned on, the Red Sox faithful brayed and shouted at one another during the commercials, but then the game resumed and order returned. Aaron Boone, hitless in the series against Tim Wakefield, would lead off the Yankee 11th. (Later, Keith Olbermann hypothesized about what happens when you match a knuckleballer, an agent of upset rhythm, against a hitter cursed with poor timing…)
Moments later, I lept from my stool with arms raised as Boone’s shot arced skyward toward left field. Once the ball found the seats I turned around…and immediately dropped my arms. The entire bar was silent. I looked back at the TV to see Pedro Martinez in a trance, staring at the field. The patrons in the bar were similarly hypnotized. For hours that night I had enjoyed the atmosphere of the place, listening to the sounds of the patrons during the exciting seventh game. The CLINK of empty beer bottles thrown into the bin punctuating the loud cheers as Red Sox Nation, fingers crossed, hoped to Reverse the Curse.
They would have to wait another season.
Sheepishly, I slunk back to the kitchen for my coat. The bar was still quiet. Steve, the huge bartender, mopped up pools of spilled margaritas while grown men sullenly dragged tortilla chips through the dregs of their nachos. I made accidental eye-contact with a drunk lady, and recognized her as my boss from a previous job. As I watched her trying to match my face to someone in her memory, I thought of the day she fired me from the bakery. She looked even more pissed off at this moment, and I hustled out the kitchen door into the alley. In the morning I would call my father to discuss the game, and the poor misguided Red Sox fans.
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