NEW YORK, NY – This past Saturday I had no choice but to tend to some urgent intestinal matters in a restroom at JFK Airport. It’s bad enough to have to fly out of JFK, but to have to use its lavatories is a truly depressing endeavor. On the bright side, I was in the Jet Blue Terminal, so I thought there was at least an outside chance that there might be TVs in the stalls and maybe even an attendant handing out Blue Terra Chips and chocolate chip cookies after I washed up. I was outta luck on both of those fronts, but I WAS treated to a delightful drama in the stall adjacent to mine. It went something like this…
Dad (Outside the stall door, to young son): “Carlos, I’m right here. You tell me when you’re finished OK?”
Carlos (Distracted): “K.”
Dad: “Carlos are you okay in there?”
Carlos: (no reply)
Dad (with more urgency): “Carlos, are you okay? What’s going on?”
Carlos (dealing with some issues): “Um… uh… oh boy.”
Dad (somewhat frantic): “Carlos, what’s going on? Let me in.”
Carlos (sheepishly): “Oh. I think I’m going to need new pants.”
Dad (full-on frantic): “Carlos, open the door right now. Let me in.”
Dad (again): “Open the door NOW, Carlos!”
[Dad finally gets in]
Dad: “Don’t move! No, Carlos, don’t move! Don’t touch anything. I said don’t touch anything! Oh my God.”
At this point I finished my part of things up in a timely fashion before my Nikes became collateral damage as a result of whatever atrocities were taking place in the stall next door. I left chuckling to myself. The whole experience kinda reminded me of the Mets.
For starters, JFK is located in Queens, where the Mets play… Flushing (just sayin’), to be exact. Secondly, people you see at JFK Airport are not unlike Mets fans. They don’t know how they got there, they’re generally resigned to the fact that they’re going to have a lousy go of it, and they just want it to be over, one way or another, as soon as possible.
The restroom itself is chock full of Mets symbolism. People voiding their bladders and vacating their bowels in advance of leaving home for other parts is not unlike the way fans of the Metropolitans dread their team pissing away winnable games on another sh!tshow roadtrip. The rolls of toilet paper serve as cruel reminders that there hasn’t been a streamer-filled parade through the Canyon of Heroes since 1986. And, just like in JFK’s lavatory, while many fans would just as soon wash their hands of this team, there’s a much larger contingent that just never will.
And, what of young Carlos and his nervous Dad? The Mets are off to a scorching start this year and, just like this Dad, fans don’t want anything bad to happen. “Don’t move!” and “Don’t touch anything!” might as well be, “Please, for the love of God, don’t get injured!” But lest we forget, the last time a guy named Carlos didn’t move or touch anything in Queens, it was Beltran in Game 7 vs. Wainright in 2006.
So, what have we learned here today, besides the fact that I can write a disgusting account of something I witnessed in an airport restroom and pass it off as a sports piece? There is a bigger lesson here. The Mets need to cut loose like this “New Carlos” and not worry about the consequences. Block out the distractions and get locked in. Listen to your coaches, yes, but also take some chances. And don’t be afraid to get dirty. There’s always tomorrow, and there’s always another pair of pants.
Come back tomorrow for Buddy Diaz, whose Yankees are currently in the crapper.