Fall Saturdays used to be the highlight of every week, the highlight of the year, something to await with unrestrained joy. Most Saturdays now bring new misery in game quality or bar location or Flop forcing incapacitated people to down shots and finish the night acidic and gutted. Turbulence and dread, inconvenience and irritation, fear and hatred -- hatred toward the Big Ten Network, hatred toward other Michigan alumni, hatred of missed field goals and sloppy coverage, running quarterbacks and the spread offense and an existence that led to this way of life when instead I could be sitting in the mountains somewhere, reading pretty poems and watching birds fly.
Saturdays this year are like being trapped in an airport, waiting for hours before we can board, with Fox News blaring in the background and you want to punch the fuck out of Bill O'Reilly, and then after three hours you get on the plane, where you taxi for two more hours, and then the flight takes off and 30 minutes in there's the smell of burning plastic and the plane circles back to JFK where it lands safely, but in the terminal you're subjected to more Bill O'Reilly, and then they show Sean Hannity's ass, and then finally you get on the plane and you're feeling punch-drunk and angry and sad and exhausted. It was supposed to be so easy.
Your fellow passengers have the same dilemma. Lacking perspective, they endure mainly through yelling at gate agents, beating their children and cursing their God. You begin to hate them more than you hate the airline. Shit happens with planes -- it's part of the system -- but people can learn reason. The pilot's not getting fired, wizard, and your petulant tantrums and personal displeasure mean nothing.
Eventually the plane takes off. You reach the destination like you knew you would, but by then you don't even care anymore. All you have is indignity, frustration and a broken spirit.
Much of the irritation is due to the Big Ten Network and the pure logistical challenges of viewing the goddamn games in the first place: somehow, the mess would be easier from a perch on a couch in somebody's apartment, instead of a seat in a local douche factory with a dish. The Big Ten Network is ruining my Saturdays, and therefore my life, and not just because its production quality is egregious.
Because of Michigan's suckage and the unforgiving nature of markets, the Michigan-Purdue game will now be on the Big Ten Network. I'll be in L.A. that weekend, and arranged my travel plans around watching that game. Michigan will probably lose it anyway. Instead of meeting Flop and Evil Girl in a hotel room, where we could have ordered room service (on me) and cherished sophistication over football, poached eggs and Bud Lite, I'll be up at 7 a.m. in order to get to a bar I don't know in a city I don't know so that I can suffer in public with strangers who I almost certainly will not like.