January 11, 1998

So What's The Deal With That?

How many people live in the greater Los Angeles area? Probably more than 10 million.

How many attended Monday night’s Kings game (a thrilling come from behind, 3-2 overtime victory for the Kings versus cross-town Disney toadies the Mighty Ducks)? Announced attendance was 16,005. Add the players, the officials, the media, the workers … probably about 17,000 in the building.

How many different aisles in the Forum are there? About 30, I would say. 30 different ways to get to your seats.

Why were my friends Rob and Melanie and I down at ice level before the game? Well, every now and again, way before the game, a bunch of people from the stands get to go out on to the ice, and shoot pucks at the net. They’re standing comfortably on carpet at the time, so there’s no danger of slippage. It looks like a hell of a lot of fun, and we wanted to see how we could get in on the action. So, having arrived in plenty of time, we headed down to ice level, only to find out that this privilege was reserved for special groups of Kings sponsors only.

Why did we stay down there? The usher, who wanted to kick us out of these incredibly expensive seats, agreed to let us stay to watch the professional player warm-ups, as long as we promised to scoot back to the cheap seats before the game started.

So why did I stop by the bathroom on the way back to our assigned seats? I had to go. Had two large Cokes with dinner.

But having done that, why did I then get in line for more food? Well, a hockey game is fun, but a hockey game with popcorn and a large Mountain Dew, extra ice, is more fun still.

So why were we delayed a bit going back to our seats? Melanie went to grab an ice cream snack.

Factor all that in, all those different little pieces of time and space … and tell me why, why, why in the name of God, while I was walking with Rob and Melanie, back to our seats, food in hand, after being in a place we shouldn’t have been, and, in fact, on the opposite side of the arena from our assigned seats … did I run in to "her"?

There’s no way to explain who she is, but trust me, it was one hell of a way to see her. She was once very special to me, and, I thought, I to her. Turns out, not so much me to her. Fine, I’m a big boy, I can deal with it. But after we made tentative steps toward re-establishing a friendship, she bailed. And that hurt; apparently (and in direct contrast to the contents of a very sincere sounding letter written by her) our friendship was something she wasn’t willing to fight for. (We were great friends before, during, and after a very brief "involvement" several years ago.)

We made the kind of small talk you make when you run in to someone quite unexpectedly. Someone you’re not really sure what to say to. Someone you tried building a bridge to, only to see it go up in flames. I mean, sure, I had a whole mental list of, "here’s what I’ll say if I ever run in to her." But somehow, when the moment happens, and she walks right past you at an NHL game, and you have to check, and double check, and make sure it’s really her, and then say something … well, the prepared speech ("Hey, congratulations on finding a new way to hurt me.") doesn’t immediately spring to mind.

I guess this is just one of those little jokes the universe likes to play from time to time. I have no doubt that some day, all "coincidences" will be explained to me by a Supreme Being as just fits of mischief he/she/it felt would add a bit of a surreal touch to our reality.

You see, I wasn’t even supposed to be at the Kings game tonight. I had dinner plans with a friend … who canceled at the last moment due to work obligations. That’s when I called Rob and Melanie, to see if they’d be interested in going to the game.

So what’s the deal with that, Universe?

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Colin Campbell - jenolen@earthlink.net
Last updated May 24, 1998