It’s a low-budget, dirty, out-of-the-way stable where horses sleep. Montreal tourists don’t need to know this. They pay for the chariot ride.I see the horses beside the Lachine canal. It’s their starting gate and many things at once to my senses. The bells around neck ring from 2 or 3 blocks away. I see the head bobbing determination come clickety clack of hoofs.
The moment doesn’t last long. Words clog my senses. I’m polluted by my memories. The here and now barely exists. It’s Saturday night or getting close anyway. The sun is gone and it may take a while for the city to adjust. I’ve noticed this before and usually stay inside until Saturday night has fully landed. But I’m hungry for a pizza and ignore my alarm.
The grocery store’s automatic check out machines are out-of-order. The lines with a real live cashier are four customers deep; some with stacked carts and others holding items like a baby to chest. Sciatica nerves are ready to act up. Shoulders are shrugged. Sighs are the heart beat. Eyes roll. The muzak, bright lights and yellow karts are no longer interesting.
The wool winter hats become a sauna. Patience is slipping away. I place a frozen pizza, three bulbs of garlic and green pepper in a chocolate bar display rack and walk calmly through the electric sliding doors, making sure to not look at the security guard.
Outside there’s a man speaking in mumbles; ranting at cars in foul language. There’s a woman with facial hair The sky is purple. I turn the corner. The street lights are not on yet, but a car creeps around the same corner and its lights make it very clear what is happening. Someone looking like Vincente Padilla is there and not moving. I know that face as ancient; maybe Aztec or Inca. I welcome the distraction.
The Padilla man doesn’t speak. He does something even better. He stands there like a wood statue in complete silence. He’s staring towards the second story patio apartment; the one with Christmas tree decorations still up on March 1st. Or maybe he sees the telephone wire hanging there like a musical scale and detects an animal playing trapeze. Or maybe I can’t see what he sees.
My gait slows. I sneak one last look at Padilla as I pass. It’s all there in his face. I’m relaxed and my mind thinks about Josh Collmenter’s beard for no known reason. I’m relieved. Next thing I know I’m inside at this computer looking up pictures of Collmenter.
I’m wondering if he’s shaved since entering the major leagues in 2011? Does a beard have a growth spurt until the 7th or 8th month and then slow down to a few inches every year? Or do the follicles twist and turn and get bushy making it harder to see growth in terms of length?
I’ve heard Collmenter draw a distinction between his beard and teammate Wade Miley’s. The Collmenter is woodsy, Michigan, north and grizzly. Miley’s is southern Amish, redneck, streamlined. You can count the follicles like still streamers. Collmenter doesn’t talk about the speed of beard development but…Yep, it’s official. The interim confusion between day and night is officially over.
The gloom that probably didn’t exist has disappeared with an occasional contraction, but spread out now. I should probably bow down to Padilla, but I visit baseball reference instead.
Collmenter is entering his 4th consecutive season with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He’s still considered “on the cusp of making their starting staff.” He wasn’t a top draft pick.(15th round-463rd overall pick) There’s no save face on our investment; no politics favoring Collmenter’s career. He will always have to earn it. He grew up in Homer Michigan chucking Tomahawks in the woods. That’s where he apparently cultivated a dramatic overhand motion that goofs hitters. It’s almost a hidden ball trick.
Collmenter has averaged 7.1 k’s per 9 innings, allowed 308 hits and only 38 home runs in 336 innings. He doesn’t walk too many either (2.2 in 9 IP).
I have two windows open on this desktop now; three including wordpress. Padilla was born in Nicaragua, pitched for his country in the 2008 World Baseball Classic, helped them earn a bronze medal as the team’s closer, learned how to throw a change-up from fellow Nicaraguan Dennis Martinez. None of this really matters, but I’m content. The odds seem high for a good night’s sleep.