Turns out a nice long walk was just what I needed: the sun beating down, the a.m. temperature already a breeze-free 75°, packs of tourists like wild Nikon-wielding beasts skulking around the steps of the Lincoln Memorial — forerunners, all, of what'll doubtless be a long, hot, sticky summer.
And of course that reminded me of all the games yet to take place — 161, to be exact (I'm assuming the Orioles won't be playing any more than that, but prove me wrong, kids!). So while this one smarted, especially since it was opening night and the other pitching performances were so stellar and all the young dudes (Wieters, Jones, Markakis) were hitting the ball on the nose, I'd decided, by the end of my meditative five-mile jaunt, that Mr. Gonzalez deserves to be judged by his work over a full season, and that comparisons to Jorge Julio* or Armando Benitez are premature at best.
(By the way, that's a rather pleasant catch-22, eh? Gonzalez's performance, and his performance alone, undoes all the hard-fought at-bats, all the wriggling-out-of-jams of earlier in the game, is itself the sole reason I had to walk to work today — and yet, by very virtue of that walk to work, he's forgiven.)
The verdict? Despite the title (which, like the band name, is shockingly awful, especially viewed in light of Alex Turner's considerable gifts as a lyricist), the album holds up fairly well, though I think I'll go and take a piss or hit on that bartendress with the lip-ring if they decide to play "Riot Van"** or "Perhaps Vampires is a Bit Strong But ..."*** or "Still Take You Home." Happily, on the other hand, "The View from the Afternoon" and "When the Sun Goes Down" still rock like all hell, the latter of the two, in this author's humble opinion, offering a sign of things to come once Turner turned his penetrating gaze away from the public house's bathroom mirror.
That said, if they don't play "Cornerstone," I'm demanding my money back.
And finally ... I'd like to apologize to whoever was in the adjacent stall in the office bathroom when I used mine as a personal changing station****, proceeding to strip, wipe myself down with paper towels (and then, having run out of those, with wads of toilet paper) and re-dress in the work clothes I'd portaged in my backpack. I can see how it'd be weird to look beneath the divider and see bare feet — weird enough, possibly, to stop an otherwise-pleasant bowel movement midstream. Part of me hopes you'll see this just so you know I'm not a homeless.
* Speaking of Jorge Julio, I was surprised, a couple of days ago, to find myself in a conversation with a fellow bar patron in which the subject of his conceding a home run to Jack Wilson — yes, that Jack Wilson, the sure-handed shortstop who hadn't homered since 8-year-old league, probably — came up. Mostly I was surprised that any non-Orioles or -Pirates fan (and let's face it, there aren't many of either, or at least not many who'll admit to it) would remember this moment, being as it happened on June 7, 2005. But I remember, mostly because that was the death-knell of the Baltimore season, which had gotten off to a rollicking start (16-7 in April) but was bound to fall back to earth at some point. Anyway, to that guy at the bar, I just want to say: So glad you remember.
** The only good thing about "Riot Van" is how perfectly it segues into "Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secure." Which doesn't justify the Arctics' trotting either out in Baltimore tonight.
*** That track was never as winning or lovable as, say, Eminem's early stuff in its prediction of the undesirable trappings of future success — success that itself had yet to be attained, mind you — namely the press shitting all over you, which, it should be noted, never really happened to the Arctics.
**** Ordinarily, when I use a stall for this purpose, the bathroom is otherwise empty. I'd've used the back stairwell, except then I would've had to close the door to said stairwell behind me, and I happen to know that the doors in this building lock from the outside, which nugget of wisdom I gleaned when, early in our then-covert courtship, I spirited a certain lovely co-worker back there for some thrillingly dangerous making-out but then, less suavely, found that I'd gotten us both locked out and that we'd have to descend nine flights of stairs to get to the lobby and take the elevator back up. (By the way, if you're a boss or a building manager and you're reading this, I totally made the whole thing up. Poetic license.)