Somewhere in Georgia. The hotel lobby is festooned with Christmas decor and holly, and the place smells like a cross between a cinnamon bun and a bottle of industrial ammonia.
My wife and I are checking out of our room. We are in travel mode. We need to get on the road. Need to keep moving. Need to put miles behind us.
But right now my wife apparently has other plans. Because she is standing at the front desk having an in-depth conversation with the hotel receptionist. They are laughing and carrying on while I stand around waiting like a wart.
In exactly one hour and forty-five minutes the Iron Bowl will be on television, the century’s biggest rivalry football game, and I’m going to miss it because my wife is having a heartfelt conversation with a total stranger, talking about—I am not joking—cute baby clothes.
I wander toward the lobby’s TV which is blaring with gameday sports commentary. I watch and I wait for my bride.
After thirty seconds of watching the football pundits, I realize something: The intelligence
of the sports commentators has really gone downhill in recent years.
COMMENTATOR: “...Bob, we know for certain that whoever scores the most touchdowns in today’s matchup will absolutely, without a doubt, become, ultimately, the winner of today’s game...”
I don’t want to be exposed to this.
But because I’m stuck here, I sit on the lobby sofa to watch.
Seated on the couch beside me is a little girl with curly blond hair. She is watching TV, too.
“Hi,” I say. “Is this seat taken?”
She says nothing at first. She only looks at me briefly, then back at the television. Shy.
“Hi,” she chirps.
She is done talking now.
“Did you have a happy Thanksgiving?” I ask because I have the obnoxious gift of gab.
She turns to look at me. I can see a large scar on the…