My dad and I drove seven hours up the coast from LA to SF on Sunday, during which time: he gave me advice on making friends in a new city (maybe I should actually go out on Fridays?), we bought buckets of drive-through soda to stave off the 110° heat, and I found out that my dad can rap the first full three minutes the old-school funk classic, “Rapper’s Delight.”
We made the drive so that my dad could visit me, and so that we could cap off the summer by watching the LA Dodgers play the San Francisco Giants. It was more than a game — the victor of this match would settle, at least for a night, the grave and virulent debate of which is the superior half of California.
My dad said that the Giants were my team now. I scoffed and wore my blue-and-white like a sigil into enemy territory.
But when we arrived in AT&T Park, dark clouds were gathering over the stadium. Every photo I took looked like the cover of a Gothic novel, like if Wuthering Heights or Dracula were adapted as an inspirational sports movie. Thunder rumbled across the bay.
By the time that we rose for the National Anthem, sheets of rain streaked across the stadium lights. Dodgers and Giants fans scrambled for cover. Lightning, now, crackled through the skies. The stadium was a mess of slick plastic seats and soaked garlic fries.
My dad and I were huddled by the Ghirardelli ice cream stand, watching the TV for word from the teams’ managers. Fans around us murmured that the rain wouldn’t stop until after 10pm, maybe later.
I told my dad that I wanted to stay. Somehow, watching the Dodgers win in San Francisco held this symbolic meaning for me, beyond the regional rivalry. It would solidify that I have indeed moved to SF, that I am (to a small but meaningful extent) an LA ex-pat, who does LA ex-pat things like proving her dedication to the Dodgers when they play the Giants. The game seemed like an inauguration into adulthood.
“No, we’re leaving,” said my dad. I was confused. Didn’t he want to see the game? Didn’t we drive seven hours just to see it?
He said simply, “You’re wet, and I don’t want you to get sick.” So we wove our way out of the stadium.
I was suddenly very tired. I wanted my bed more than anything. I wanted my family and their familiar, straightforward gestures of care. Whatever symbolic import the game had for me dissipated.
The next day, my dad left for Southern California while I was at work. I came back to my apartment and saw that he had straightened up my room a bit.
The Dodgers actually lost on that stormy night, finishing the game at 2 a.m., but they won the next two games after that. (SO THERE.) I texted my parents, Gooo Dodgers! And in the morning, while getting ready for work, I played “Rapper’s Delight.” It is a 15-minute-long song, and every second of its goofy 70s boogie-ness reminds me of the long drive north from home.