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Even a Mets fan can be optimistic on Opening Day

It was sunny and clear on Monday for Mets Opening Day, with no noisy planes overhead, so we could hear every bit of the conversations around us. The lulling pitter-patter of “fucks” in row 3 bemused our whole group—not just my father, who was new to Mets baseball, but the veterans of the trip to Flushing. I was there with my old roommate; we used to live in Flushing and walk to games along Roosevelt Avenue, through the carbon monoxide haze above the Whitestone Expressway and past the Iron Triangle's auto repair shops and psychotic guard dogs, restrained from tearing you to pieces by chain-link fences that also allow you to look into their eyes and see the contempt you’ve earned. Getting to the game in this way can be loud and gray and windy and sticky and dirty all at once and altogether disorienting, which is why almost nobody does it. Arriving at the park doesn’t seem like you’ve reached paradise, or that you’re free of any of this filth and misery—these are the Mets we’re talking about, after all. In terms of misery and pride, it’s hard to know where the team ends and the rest of Queens begins, except on Opening Day; then, for three hours, people are happy. On Opening Day, Flushing is a place transformed, all smiles and radiance in a generally fraught place just across the way from where your stolen car’s radials are being hawked at a chop shop.

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