My First NFL Game: A Germaphobe’s Triumph - January 2, 2013

My First NFL Game: A Germaphobe's TriumphI bought the tickets two months ago.  We would splurge, I thought.  We would forego buying each other Christmas presents and go to a 49ers game, during the holidays.


I found some decent, reserved seats in the lower section.  The section where my vertigo doesn’t kick in, due to the near-90 degree angle of the steps.  The section where I don’t need a box of Kleenex to wipe the blood off my nose.  The section where I don’t envision myself tumbling down, cartoon-style, like Jerry’s nemesis, Tom, and landing on some innocent bystander.  Landing on another football junkie who’s just trying to eat his $10 hot dog, drink his $12 Bud Light and catch a glimpse of Gore (for you non-49ers fans, I’m not referring to the An Inconvenient Truth politician, but the Running Back that looks like a teddy bear).  I’d like to avoid a death where my nose ends up buried in some guys butt crack, even though it would make for a funny obituary.


I thought of the idea to go to the game.  And, I bought the tickets.  All Hubs had to do was figure out the transportation.  Pretty simple, right?  Well, not if your middle name is “procrastinator”.  Hubs “PROCRASTINATOR”, the part of him that can only be expressed in all caps.


This time, I would not remind him to inquire about shuttles or parking.  This time, I would keep my mouth shut and see if we ended up on a Pedi cab at 4 am, hoping to make it to the game in time.  Since we moved out of the city and had Babyface, we rarely get to drink responsibly (our own living room doesn’t really count) with the luxury of hailing a cab to drop us off at our doorstep.  The only thing that we had agreed on was NOT to drive, so we could enjoy our overpriced, cheap wine and beer and not have to stop drinking after the first quarter.  This was a day we would splurge in every way and not worry about the extra $ signs.


Not driving would entail some sort of public transportation and possibly a shuttle.  For a Type A person like me, that means a clear plan with maps and train schedules printed out, at least two weeks before the event.  Well, the day before the 49ers game, I asked hubs what the plan was.  His answer (the answer I was NOT looking for): “Oh, let me look that up.  I need to look up the shuttle times.”


WTF!  STFU!  #$%^$!  The game is in less than 24 hours!  My nagging echo that escalated to the volume of a blow horn sparked Hubs to open his laptop and start looking for a path to the game.  This is the point where he doesn’t speak out of shear fear that the blow horn will break and get stuck on maximum volume.  He quietly and frantically knows he needs to figure out a plan…fast.  It’s like watching a lab mouse run into a maze after lifting the starting gate.


Option #1: Take a train that only runs every hour and walk through a not-so-good part of town.  A few years ago, I would have gone for this idea, but BOTH of Babyface’s parents would be staggering through the hood, so not such a good idea.  Let’s not put the family trust into effect, just yet.  Option #2: Take a train to another train and then take a bus to the stadium.  That would be fine on the way there, but the way back could be torture, especially with Aunt Flow possibly in tow and with my post-Babyface bladder.  Option #3: Drive 10 minutes to a charter bus pick-up and take it directly to the stadium.  Bingo!  Winner!


We dropped off Babyface at my parents, I spiked my coffee a bit for an early kick-off and we were off to the bus.  No, I don’t do this often, but this was my day to pretend I was still 21 and about to board a party bus.  This was my version of the Superbowl without a kid in tow.


The bus was big and the seats looked comfortable.  “So far, so good,” I thought.  We were the second set-of-two to find our seats.  Slowly, all of the Senior Citizens boarded the bus draped in 49ers attire from head to toe.  It was the ESPN version of Cocoon meets Cheers.  Everyone was a diehard football fan.  Everyone was collecting social security.  Everyone knew everyone’s name.  We were like two orphan, stowaways.


Back to my post-Babyface bladder.  I had to pee from the minute we exited my parent’s house.  I should have gone back in and finished my business.  I should have known it would be another hour before we reached the stadium.  I figured I’d find somewhere to go by the bus stop, but nothing was open.  So, I suffered temporary, bladder amnesia and figured I could wait until we got there.  I’m guessing at least 50% of the women who have had children know this is an impossible dream.  Our bladder control is close to being fit for a Depends commercial.


I sipped on my slightly spiked coffee, while listening to the Senior Citizen versions of Norm and Cliff discuss playoff tickets.  There was a symphony of throat clearing that made me long for elevator music, maybe even Country music, which is saying a lot.  I held my breath at frequent intervals to avoid the stale smell of the bus mixed with Metamucil farts.  I eventually smiled and dipped into a slight buzz, while listening to the small talk and idle chatter.  I progressed to hoping that one day we would be joining forces with our silver-haired brood and enjoying the easy ride up, with our seat cushions in tow.  One day, I would be one of them.  It’s kind of like being stuck in a post-apocalyptic, zombie world and giving in, I guess.


I contained my bladder, as long as I could.  We were only 5 minutes from the stadium in distance, but probably another 20 minutes in traffic.  That’s when I noticed that I had forgotten my hand sanitizer.  I had also taken the baby wipes I had in my purse out to lighten my load.  Ruh roh.  No sanitizer and Port-A-Potties in my future.  Yikes.


Hubs was nice enough to check out the bus, bathroom scene and inform me that it was relatively clean and probably better than the Port-A-Potties outside the stadium.  The catch: there was no tiny sink and the ride was bumpy on the freeway.  I thought about all of the times I complained of turbulence on the plane, when my post-baby bladder just wouldn’t hold.  The times that I ignored the seat belt sign and made a beeline to the bathroom, while the plane waved up and down several feet.  The times that I nearly fell into the toilet from a lack of balance.


This time, my post-germaphobe attitude took over and I decided that I would survive the scene, no matter how smelly or gruesome.  I had traveled to India several times, when I was younger, so how much worse could it be, I thought.  This would be clearly better than a hole in the ground with flies swarming around me.


I wobbled to the back of the bus, almost tripping over several orthopedic shoes and even a cane.  I opened the door and it smacked my butt before shutting.  Hubs was right.  It was relatively clean.  Maybe all of the other bus riders had dawned a fresh pair of Depends before the journey.


I took care of business, feeling like there was some backsplash, but hoping that it was just my imagination.  When I turned to flush the toilet, there was a big, fat pile of snot in the toilet.  Google would appreciate my traffic in about 5 minutes because I would need the hypochondriac’s-best-friend to settle any uncertainty I had about green snot and vaginas.


Of course, we reached the stadium about two minutes after I exited the bathroom.  The one time I longed for traffic, just to justify my decision to have my vagina sprayed with green snot.  Lesson learned for a first-time, football game attendee.  Practice Kegels for a few weeks before you enter the silver-haired, geriatric party bus and pee before you board the bus.  Or, fake an emergency, so the driver stops the bus and pee using the freeway, guardrail as a shield.  Or, better yet, make like the rest and invest in some high quality Depends.


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