The Trader Joe’s cashier asks if I have “big plans” for the rest of the day?
I explain how I plan to bake some eggplant because it’s one of those dishes you can set and forget so you can watch the playoffs uninterrupted.
“Man after my own heart,” he says.
“Will you be able to watch the game?”
He won’t, but his brother texts him updates.
“Which is awesome and awful,” he says. “I mean I want to know, but I feel like if I’m not watching, I’m jinxing it.”
“I know what you mean.”
Baseball is data-driven, as they say, but the game is large; it contains multitudes, including superstitions. And so I explain how I blame last year’s playoff meltdown on my wife, who came home just in time for the Dodgers to squander a five-run lead.
The cashier understands. We speak the same language.
“Is she watching this year?”
“She’ll be in and out,” I say. “I’m very nervous.”
As it turned out, the Dodgers won. Perhaps it was because Christina came home minutes before a pivotal rally in the seventh inning. Perhaps it was because the cashier’s brother transmitted the updates with the skill of a man who cannot be jinxed. Or perhaps the players had something to do with the outcome.
What I do know is that the eggplant was the right call.