A typical evening for us will begin with my wife repeating over and over the time by which I need to be ready to leave the house. When that time comes I invariably find myself sitting on the sofa, shaved, showered, and dressed and shouting time checks at three-minute intervals while she scurries about madly wearing two unmatched shoes.
Then disaster strikes.
She always asks me which shoe I like better. This is unfair. While I am familiar with Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik, that doesn't mean I can tell them apart. Half the time, I'm not even certain they aren't a matching pair.
Then it gets worse.
After I choose which of the identical shoes I prefer, she asks why.
Now, I don't have a compelling reason for almost anything I do. I spend my life wandering about in a state of total indifference, so I certainly don't have a convincing reason why I prefer one black strappy sandal over another. This inability on my part invariably makes us even later.
Of course, I hope it is clear that I say all of this with love. If she didn't recognize the importance of these shoes, who would? I'm glad someone does, and I'm glad that someone is married to me. And now, as I watch her sleep, with an industrial-sized office supply embedded in her scalp, I am reminded of just how sincerely I mean that. As crazy as it seems, I love her more every time we have that fight.
I had a funny experience last night.
Actually, maybe it wasn't really funny as much as it was sad.
You be the judge. It was around ten o'clock and I was bushed. I mean, really tired. The kind of tired where Charlize Theron could be beside you in bed with a jug of wine and a tray of grapes and all you would say to her would be "If you're going to read, please be mindful of how loudly you turn the pages."
I fell into bed and let out an audible sigh--more of a moan, actually--then rolled over, picked up the phone, and dialed zero.
"I need a wake-up call at four o'clock, please," I said.
There was a pause. "Excuse me?"
"I know it's early, but that's when I get up."
"Sir, I don't know what you're talking about."
Then it hit me. I wasn't in a hotel. This was my home. I was talking to a regular operator. I hung up and set my alarm clock, then started to laugh. I've definitely been traveling too much.
This was not the first time something like that has happened. In fact, back when I was on the road all the time--covering teams--I used to play a game when I woke up: I would see if I could remember what city I was in before I opened my eyes.
All of us who work too much have had those sorts of experiences, like dialing nine for an outside line from our home phone. For me, though, it has always been worth it. I have lived my dream and loved every minute of it. I wouldn't part with any of the experiences I've had, not for anything.
Like the time I sat with Muhammad Ali in a hospitality room in Atlanta and listened to him talk about watching Mike Tyson fight.
Or that morning in New Orleans when Paul Prudhomme, the legendary chef, cooked me breakfast. He made omelets with sweet potatoes and spicy sausage and let me eat right out of his frying pan, and wash it down with fresh coffee with chicory. Nothing has ever tasted better, not in my whole life.
Or the time Mark McGwire handed me his bat at the All-Star Game in San Diego so he could use my cell phone to do a guest appearance on a radio show.