My friend Javier almost never acts his age. Last night he played his music too loudly and started to dance around the apartment.
“I can’t help it,” he explained. “Chico O’Farrill always gets my feet moving.”
Some of the neighbors yelled and the guy downstairs pounded the ceiling with a broom handle. But the music blared until the old lady from across the hall banged on the door with a big ladle from her pot of minestrone.
“Are you deaf?” she yelled. “I’ve been knocking for 10 minutes.”
“I didn’t hear you,” Javier said. “I guess the music was too loud.”
The old lady shook her head.
“Kids,” she said.
Javier flashed the same smile he used on his mother back in Puerto Rico so many years ago.
“I can’t stay mad at you,” the old lady said. “You’re a good kid, Javier.”
Everyone in the neighborhood puts Javier’s age somewhere past 50, but the kid tag still fits. He eats too many chocolate donuts and swears a doctor once told him that onion rings are a vegetable. He shags fly balls before games in Franz Sigel Park and looks forward to Opening Day just like when he was, well, a kid.
“Baseball has always been music to my ears,” Javier said. “I guess it’s kinda like Chico O’Farrill.”
Javier broke out another smile.
“Bring on the horns and the big bats,” he said. “Then let’s dance.”