Sunday, January 6, 2008

Chinks in the Armor

Expect Nothing. And be pleasantly surprised when something happens.

I tried very hard to put my new mantra into practice last night while watching the Steelers. For a half, it was very easy. I expected nothing, they gave me less than that. I entertained myself by surfing the web, which made each interception and sack slightly less painful. ("eh, who needs an offensive line? Look at these pretty mugs!") And then, the second half, they began to come back. "Expect Nothing," I told myself firmly as Miller made an outstanding catch on fourth down for a touchdown. I remembered that years ago I wanted his jersey and didn't buy it knowing I would only jinx things and he would either suffer from a season-ending injury or move to another team. You see? If this pessimism and cautiousness fills the part of my life filled with two-dimensional guys in tights on my tv, it's no wonder the rest of my life is just ass.

But the Steelers continue to pleasantly surprise me. And suddenly we're ahead, with the ball, with very little time left. We run a few dud plays and it's third down and six, and we really need this to continue to hold the ball and run the clock. And dammit, my expectations start to seep through.

Certainly ultrasound technology can sense if your unborn child's nervous and cardiovascular systems are completely and severely fucked up?

Certainly family members will be supportive during the holidays of the worst year of your life?

Certainly this man who gets paid to draw up plays will come up with something better than I -- tiny female on my couch who just spent the first half looking at pretty dinnerware on my computer?

And I'm staring at the lineup thinking, "Good lord, he's going to run the quarterback." No. He wouldn't. He couldn't possibly.

He does. Quarterback picks up two yards, and they punt. And Jacksonville gets the ball back, comes down the field, zips their chubby quarterback through our defense like a knife through melted butter, kicks a field goal, and we lose.

And I hurt. Turns out I do expect things, or I at least expect things and people to try their damnedest even if the results aren't good. I expect to know if my child is going to be born with severe problems, I expect to know in advance that family will act stupidly so I can avoid delicate situations with them or at least tell me honestly that they don't like dealing with dead babies, and I expect pro coaches to fucking THROW the ball on third and six when the game is on the line. And you know, if the results are grim, and family acts like asshats, and they drop the ball, at least you know they tried, and you can prepare for the dagger in the eye. Well, that was nice while it lasted.


niobe said...

It's awfully hard to scale back expectations enough to make reality into something like a pleasant surprise. Sorry about your team.

charmedgirl said...

um, yeah. like i said, i find it impossible to expect nothing. it was a really nice try, though.

and f-ing football...come on! a deadbabymama football fan should NEVER attempt delicate emotional/intellectual maneuvers while watching a game...especially one involving her team.

family+the holidays+dead babies...
just curse alot and be done with that one.

now, just throw on your running shoes and do a relaxing once-around the block for it's own sake...

Carole said...

I always try to tell myself not to expect much...but somehow it still ends up happening.

That play well as asshat fam members. I have a few myself. :(

meg said...

I have very, very low expectations about everything. But I have still been many times. Really, I can't get them any damn lower!

On your family...yes, people can't deal with dead babies...and most don't want to. I KNOW the deep disappointment, really I do. But you just gotta hold on to those who want to be there. Or it will drive you crazy. I know this, from watching D, hoping and waiting for something that is never going to come (though I sincerely hope they will smarten up in your case). I hope that they come around.

Lisa b said...

It makes me so irate when professional teams make mistakes I think my highschool teams wouldn't make.

All I can say about ultrasonographers is that I was apparently dealing with 'the best, he is never wrong' and he was pretty far off.

Aurelia said...

I never expected this, my current state, and yeah, I'm pleasantly surprised.

Sometimes that saying turns out sucky, and sometimes it turns out well. Hold on Tash, it just might turn out well for you someday.

Julia said...

You know, I get sucked into sporting events, in this exact way. And most days end up disappointed. You'd think I would have learned the lesson by now. But every once in a while your heart is not thrown into the mud to be stumped on, and then you forget all those other lessons. Silly, really.

And other things? Accepting limitations of medical technology is something I have been working on for a while. I might actually be kinda ok there. Asshat friends and family, though? Don't seem to learn that lesson either, somehow.