Why Alabama Lost.

So Alabama lost. Did you hear?

My husband handled it awfully well – I think he nearly tuned out the last fifteen minutes of the game, clearly as a psychological coping mechanism. But it was effective, as the children didn’t get woken up by screams of agony and defeat, which is a much better fate than most of the children in our great state.

I have a theory about what happened this year. Why they lost a game in the regular season, and why they lost this playoff game that they were clearly supposed to win.

It was the fashion.

Every year I collect the latest and greatest of Alabama Fashion Trends for you, and this year was no exception – at least, in the fact that I tried.

But the fan’s hearts just weren’t in it this year. Gone were the grown ladies wearing tutus and the grown men wearing curious houndstooth rice farming hats. No more were the bedazzled and appliqued jeans or matching full-length sequined robes (with the fur.)

And if the fans weren’t plugged in, how were the players supposed to be powered?

If the fans weren’t committed, can we really expect Saban to be able to work magic?

No, fans. We cannot.

Alabama Football is fueled just like Neverland – on belief.

If you don’t show your belief and show it loudly, Saban Pan can’t fly, the Lost Boys can’t defeat Captain Hook, and all the cheering Tinkerbells in the world won’t be able to bring magic back to the island.

No. Instead, this year’s fanwear was largely made up of dead things.

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I mean. A LOT of faux animals died to be paired with a pom-pom stuck in a boot.

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And I wasn’t the only one noticing.

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That’s right, Houndstooth Legging Lady. You are SO last year.

Seriously. How many Ewoks should have to die for one girl to attend a football game?

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And the dead things weren’t limited to vests, either. If you don’t have anything else to wear, just cut the last twelve inches off of your Abominable Snowman Outfit and wear that!

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Snowman says hi.

C’mon, Alabama. We can’t fuel a team with such indifference. If you’re going to wear a dead animal, at least do it right.

Even Florida can do that.

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And then there were the tight things.

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Taking Lace where no lace has been before…

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Everything so Boa-Constrictor tight that their owner might be the next dead thing to be worn by another fan.

Gameday Fashion 11Lifts and separates – all the way up!

(But I will admit that it did give me a tiny thrill to see that someone actually did buy the Ace Bandage Hosiery from HauteLook. I’m sure it was on my recommendation.)

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And of course there were doilies as shorts.

Paired with boots,

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Paired with jerseys.

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Because doilies are the new black.

It’s just the facts – the fan base didn’t play offense or defense with their fashion choices this year.

Okay no there was a little offense.

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But between Ill-Fitting Plaids,

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Eternally confusing butt messages,

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And frightening onesies,

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The team just couldn’t pull it off this year.

In fact, almost all of the fans seemed much more interested in themselves than in what we were all supposedly there for – the players.

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But let’s give it up for the few fans who still cared – who still believed – who still did their part to help create the ever-needed football pixie dust.

It was to them that we owe our twelve wins.

Thank you, Top Hat Man, for reducing the earth’s supply of natural houndstooth with the making of your fantastic show of belief in the team. But no thank you, for standing between me and my sunset.

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Thank you, Spandex-Wearing Man, with your wig conspicuously on opposite sides than your shirt and socks, for doing your part. For showing your belief. For powering the team.

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(No thank you, sunglass-wearing-man in the background, for laughing at he who is committed to the program.)

Thank you, Cruella De Vil’s daughter, for stepping right out of 1986 to come believe in your team. In our team. In the nation’s team.

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Thank you, Awesomely Hip Baby, for stealing Saban’s hat to infuse it with some of your infant magic.

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Thank you, Grandma who put a little something extra over your work pants and under your hoodie, for reminding us of the power of the houndstooth miniskirt, regardless of its pairing.

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THANK YOU, Pom-Pom Girl, for giving Saban the pixie dust of ten Tinkerbells. No thank you, Pom-Pom Girl, for reminding me of my rather traumatic Junior High days.

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Thank you, Coordinated Couple, for bringing the Yin and Yang to Gameday.

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And thank you, Converse-Wearing-Santa, for asking Saban what he wanted for Christmas….

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Even if you didn’t deliver.

But it’s not your fault, it’s the other fan’s.

Next year, people. I expect you to trade in your dead things and doilies and put on the Spandex, Pom-Poms, and Fuzzy Hats.

THEN we can win a National Championship again.


To see my collection of Gameday Fashion posts, click here.

Hosepipe.

If I understand the differences in regional dialects correctly, some of y’all don’t call this a hosepipe.

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You call it a “garden hose” or just a “hose” or some other type of gibberish.

In Alabama, we call it summer entertainment.

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That is, unless you’re not the one holding the hosepipe. Then it’s called a source of great anxiety.

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Or, more likely, a sure thing.

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But once you get past that initial moistening and it melts the southern summer heat off of your overclothed legs, you realize it’s not such a bad fate after all.

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The hosepipe holder, however, must take occasional moments of solace to ponder the gravity of his position,

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As well as study the Geometry of the task at hand.

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Like a Royal Guard at Buckingham Palace, he must also perfect his posture and carriage of weaponry.

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But don’t worry. He’ll remember you exist.

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And he’ll take care of all of your cooling needs.

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ALL of them.

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Until you start to wish that you didn’t exist.

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At which time you can simply move along, and let him get back to his training,

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His marching of the perimeter,

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And his technique testing.

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Because it’s serious work.

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Grueling even.

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But if the hosepipe is taken away, great heartache will commence.

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Grieving will become necessary for all involved.

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Well – almost all.

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Because turnabout…is fair play.

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The Perils of Sunset Chasing.

So the sunset betrayed me last week.

Birmingham isn’t an easy city to photograph – we have hills and trees and trees and hills.

BUT.

The downtown area is in a basin. So if you can get above it in any way, it’s MAGNIFICENT. Besides the mountain ranges on the south and east sides, there are parking decks. I’ve investigated several of them, but had heard of another – at a different angle – that was supposed to be sublime.

The inventor of the fantastic group InstagramBham, Blaine, was the one who first mentioned this deck during a news interview. I tried to find it…but I couldn’t. I tried again…and failed. I finally asked him for specifics…and I found it.

Clearly built in the 70’s, it looked more than a little creepy, as parking decks go. On the side I approached first, it said “NOT OPEN TO PUBLIC” and “VETERAN’S AFFAIRS PARKING DECK.”

I look like a Veteran, no?

I drove around to the corner and it told a different story.

“BIRMINGHAM PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION”

“FREE FOR FIRST HOUR”

Okay this was good. Because I had no cash. I rarely use the stuff anyway, but I had quite inexplicably used every last dollar in my possession that day.

(But I was fairly certain that just in case, I had a bit of stray money amidst the moon dust in the bottom of my purse.)

I drove around and around and around, slowly circling upward around the infinite floors of the parking deck.

I was alone on the top, which made me partially relieved and partially nervous. What if someone else came up here? What if they weren’t a good person? Parking decks aren’t places that ladies should hang out alone…

Oh – did I mention I was alone? I was alone.

I clutched my phone and my camera and my car keys and did a 360 look around the deck every 45 seconds. I’m not usually such a wuss but I was in a different part of downtown than I was used to, and the buildings did look a bit creepy that night.

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In a good way.

I relished the sunset.

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Every angle was amazing,

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Every cloud was perfectly placed.

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I couldn’t have picked a better night to visit a new place, and I was thrilled to add this parking deck to my repertoire.

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Once the last pink cloud faded away, I hopped in the car and began my descent. The parking lot grew seven more layers from the time I entered.

…And then I realized that you had to do this weird every other corkscrew thing to get out – long, short, long short – so I might have just gone in seven extra circles.

Finally, I got to the gates.

“PUBLIC PARKING – LEFT LANE”

No problem. I had my ticket. I had been there less than an hour. It was a free sunset.

I pulled up to the meter – the one that I assumed would eat my ticket – and there was a sign.

“AFTER HOURS PARKING $2”

Gone was the long and fancy rate sheet from when I entered. Two dollars to get out, and two dollars was the only way you’re getting out.

It’s okay. Surely I can scrounge up two dollars. SURELY.

I pulled out my industrial strength mining sifter and began going through the contents of the bottom of my purse.

Old receipt…

Soft Mint from the Mexican Restaurant…

Unused Diaper…or is it?

But there was no cash.

Oh no. Oh no no no.

I pulled out my wallet. Maybe I stowed away some cash in a hidden compartment. Maybe I had enough change. Surely there was some way I could get myself out of this parking deck before the Ghosts of Veterans began floating about.

But no.

I had a few dimes, a nickel, one quarter, and three pennies.

The night turned on me and became spontaneously dark. Silent and dark. The feeling of being trapped crept up the back of my neck and I pondered how typical it was for someone to simply crash their car through the gate.

After all, the sign had lied to me…

I emptied my wallet. A couple coupons, all-too-useful credit cards, and my checkbook.

And I was in an abandoned parking deck at 8:15pm in nearly-North-Birmingham.

I heard a sound approaching from the left.

A security guard walked up. He looked just like Morgan Freeman if Morgan Freeman were more wiry.

(Which he probably is in real life. All movie stars are. Stupid cameras and their stupid pounds.)

Officer Freeman stared at me. And said nothing.

As I desperately dug, I explained my predicament without the use of commas.

“The deck said it was free for under and hour and I used my last few dollars to get my husband into the pool this afternoon and I can’t find any money except for this change and OH the machine only takes quarters so it’s useless to me anyway and I have no idea how I am going to get out of this deck.”

I didn’t mention that my crashing-through-the-gate strategy wouldn’t work any longer since he showed up.

He finally spoke, in a measured, soft tone. “It’s two dollars after the cashier goes home. And she leaves at seven.”

This would have been useful information to have included on the sign at the entrance. But whatev.

“But the rate sheet…I wasn’t prepared…it didn’t say anything about after hours charges!”

He continued to stand over me, silently. Just like Morgan Freeman would, as he wisely let me learn to solve the problems of the universe for myself.

root, dig, mine, excavate

I started scratching off the inner layer of my purse, hoping that purses eat change like dryers eat socks. I looked more and more like a cat trapped in a garbage can.

Finally, he spoke.

“How much do you have?”

“Well…let’s see. 93 cents. Oh DANG IT!”

I had dropped a dime. I opened my car door, desperately pawing around for it. But it fell into some sort of crack in the universe and was surely in Narnia by now, most likely growing into a dime tree.

Feeling even worse, I began to empty out all of my car compartments to prove to the security guard that I had nothing else.

He slowly stuck his hand in his pocket, as if he had the magic key to let me out.

I found three more pennies and added it to my handful.

He fiddled with something in his pocket, seemingly still waiting for me to ‘fess up that I actually had plenty of money.

I reached my hands into the inner folds of my car’s private places and drew them back empty.

He silently pulled out a shiny token and put it in the meter. My shackling gate lifted.

I poured my grimy, sticky, triple-coated change into his hand, thanked him profusely, and sped out of the deck – before that Evil Bar went back down.

And I promised myself – and the Skinny Mr. Freeman half a mile behind me – that I would never sunset chase without cash. Ever again.

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