Muted Reggie Miller, Gate B21, & Ugly Jordans



My plane was supposed to leave at 8:40 PM CST. The Southwest lady on the PA system tells me to scratch that idea. We’re leaving at 10:10 now. I cry into my McNuggets box.

I’m in Midway Airport in Chicago, America and even though they’re making me late to go back home to Oklahoma to watch my sister play ball in the state tournament (let’s go Fort Gibson Lady Tigers) I’m halfway cool with them because they’ve got the Thunder-Knicks game on one of their TV’s. That’s thoughtful. Know you audience.

The game’s muted and on closed caption which would be a blessing since Reggie Miller is doing this game but having to read misspelled, grammatically incorrect Reggie may be worse than hearing him. I can’t be sure because to give that scenario too much thought would be depressing.

There’s a lot of people milling around.

One young guy right across from me is wearing some suede oxfords and is really good at crossing his legs the way ladies or old men do. The leg he’s got crossed is touching the ground. It’s fascinating.

There’s another older man sitting off to my left in the fancy Southwest black pleather thrones that have the outlets right by them that everyone’s always battling over. He weighs about 280 pounds, give or take burger, and the waist of his too small pleated slacks are up around his chest, nestled right below his nipples. He’s wearing a Michigan hat that I swear I saw Juwan Howard wear during The Fab 5 30 for 30 and apparently he’s a G because the bill is flat as Ron Swanson’s mustache is heavenly SO IT IS THE FLATTEST THING EVER.

There’s a dad face timing with his little baby girl as his wife holds the phone. The baby is a baby so it can’t talk. She’s pawing at the phone like she’s trying to touch her dad’s face. It’s really cute.

There’s a little kid across from me pestering his mom about wanting to play with her phone but she won’t give it to him. He’s said please about eighty times but she is unwavering in her no, texting or internetting or Angry Birding whilst her baby boy annoys half of Gate B21. The kid’s wearing a shirt that says “Life of the Party” so he’s a liar. He’s also wearing Lego Crocs. This kid probably tortures small animals and will be a serial killer.

Only one other dude is watching the game. He’s wearing Jordan’s, too, but they are not as nice as my 1’s. I don’t know why I felt it necessary to say that. Probably has something to do with my awful vanity.

I’m into the game as much as I can be watching a game on mute. I’m a Thunder fan but I’m kind of sleepwalking through it, fan hood wise. Kind of like how the Thunder are playing this game. Just glassy eyed and lazying through it, really paying attention once we get down by more than five in the third then hitting the snooze again.

JR Smith is in KILL EVERYTHING OR DIE TRYING ALL CAPS EXCLAMATION POINTS AND TWEETS OF GIRLS BUTTS IN THONGS mode and right now it’s looking like he’s just going to destroy us all and ascend to Heaven as everything burns. He’s hitting most everything he’s tossing into the air and MSG, even with the volume unavailable to me, appears to be vibrating and rocking as it does when stuff’s popping off and their boys are playing well.

Amare Stoudemire turns back 12 clocks and dunks on Ibaka kind of and dude in the J’s that aren’t as nice as mine pumps his fist. This is weird. This flight’s going to Oklahoma City. I’d guessed anybody watching would be going for the Thunder since the plane is headed towards their hometown. I am ignorant and naive and think the world revolves around me.

The gate is relatively dead as the Life of the Party has finally shut up and we both notice we’re the only two noticing the game and he’s a better person than me and realizes we’re in a society where interaction and social kindness is healthy rather than staring straight ahead with your headphones on like I am so he points at the television and says something.

“Good game.”

“Yea,” I say, “Close. We’re playing awful.”

“Well, it says something that you guys can play bad but still be up.”

“Sure. But y’all don’t have Carmelo.”

“That’s true. I feel good about how we’ve played.”

“JR’s going off.”

“I love him.”

“So do I.”

And that’s it. Pretty dumb conversation, really. Southwest gets our plane on the ground earlier than they’d thought and we board around 9:50 CST. The game’s still going and I watch the GameCast on my ScoreCenter app. I did not get paid to say that.

Ugly J’s gets on the plane before me. As I’m waiting on Southwest to allow boarding group A30-A60 onto the plane, we wind up winning by one. The last thing on my GameCast reads “JR Smith misses two point shot”.  I see the Ugly J’s on the plane and on my way past him he makes eye contact and shakes his head.

“Congrats,” he says.

“We didn’t deserve that one,” I say.

I go sit at the back of the plane and a stewardess with intense blonde highlights who wears way too much perfume yells at me for typing this on my phone as we taxi away from the terminal.

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