Hello. I am e.n.d. Once upon a time I came from Minnesota. But then I moved everywhere.
Curiosity didn't kill the cat. Complacency did.
I’m in Kentucky. Louisville, Kentucky. I’m technically here for a conference about compassionate organizations. Pretty interesting topic, right? I think it’s fascinating. It represents topics that continue to be obsessions of mine: compassion, resilience and compromise.
Like most trips, the initial reason I travel evolves into a variety of reasons after I land. The additional ones sneak up on you pretty fast and whisper in your ear.
Some of the whispers hit me this morning as I laid comfortably restless in bed for the second night in a row. That’s where I am now. It’s about 6:30am. I woke up officially about an hour ago, staring at the wall thinking and sending myself emails of the all of the things I need to do.
Then I grabbed my laptop and just started doing them.
I’m not alone now. I’m still in my bed but in the company of a phone charged at 6%, a copy of Audre Lorde’s book Sister Outsider, a copy of Vogue magazine, some notes from articles about street lights in Somalia, and a laptop charged with 2:21 remaining.
I’m pretty sleepy but I am also pretty focused.
Back to Kentucky.
I’ve never been here before.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Hasn’t Emily been everywhere? No way, man. No, no way. If you’ve been to Kentucky, or for that matter Delaware, you got me. Slam. Never been! But like most destinations, when I officially arrive, I go deep. So I feel like I’ve been here for weeks already.
The quick depth - that probably has something to do with my childhood.
Louisville only meant one thing to me when I was a kid: the Louisville Slugger. (Do they even make those bats here officially? I don’t know, I didn’t dig into the website. You check. Report back.)
These things were lined up on nearly every fence of every baseball field in every park I can remember in Minnesota. Spring time. Summer time. For years. Baseball bats galore. I always preferred the wooden ones. Even when they’d send spikes of painful shivers into my hands and arms after I’d hit the ball, I’d go back every time and choose them over their aluminum homeys. I can still feel the pain and hear the sound. And smell the field.
I played a lot of baseball and softball as a kid - baseball first. They didn’t split teams between girls and boys until I was eight or nine. And of course I initially resented it when they finally did draw the line. I preferred baseball. Softball seemed too easy after I was forced to make the change. I mean, until fastpitch in junior high, I had to watch (and bat to) pitchers pitching underhand. It was like a painful, slow itch waiting to be relieved. I’d stand with my bat, staring down the pitcher and hovering strong in front of the umpire, thinking to myself: Just. Send. The. Ball. Over. Homeplate. Already. I. Got. This.
Underhand: ugh, too easy! Fastpitch, sure more challenging but I still missed straight-up baseball.
Whatever. I got over it. I accepted that life was hard enough and maybe softball was someone’s idea of giving me a break from it all.
Yeah, I know. I’m one of those chics - often expecting and seemingly almost wanting difficulty and not knowing why most of the time. But changes can be nice even when someone draws the line for you. They just might know you as well as you know yourself in some areas. Those rulemakers who drew the line between boys and girls and baseball and softball knew one thing I didn’t back then: we were different.
I really liked those baseball bats, though. Mostly because they reminded me of carefree times. The 1980s. Whoa.
THE NINETEEN EIGHTIES.
Well, and early nineties.
Baseball, softball, track, playing tag outside (maybe even capture the flag), and even sometimes ding-dong-ditch (shhhh, I am sure some of my old neighbors are still super pissed) - these were active, outside versions of free babysitting that could afford my Mom more time to work (or, in the event of a miracle, some rest). But for me, the Louisville Slugger meant stepping up to home plate again, whatever inning, and swinging that bat like it was the first time ever. And most of the time I’d get a good hit and grab some bases. Sometimes even a homer.
The transition from baseball to softball was contextualized generally by one thing: change.
As the copywriter for the Louisville Slugger site currently asks, “How will you leave your mark?”, Kurt Vonnegut continues to say, “so it goes”.
“In the Garage” by Weezer
“And I love everyone. Waiting there for me. Yes I do, I do.”