I woke up startled. Someone had just tapped me between the eyebrows.
I was taking one of those lazy naps that one is entitled to take while reading the Review section of the Journal - after a heavy Sunday breakfast. I looked around confused and angry. It was the angel. I had ordered an angel a few days ago. But what did it want now. I sat up and looked at it suspiciously, my eyebrows hemmed together in a deep frown.
“Tickets for the US Open Gentlemen’s Final are selling below par”, declared the angel.
Its called the Men’s Final here. The Brits call it Gentlemen’s Final at the Wimbledon, I retorted. But that was not the point. How did it know that resale tickets for the Tennis finals were selling at prices lower than what people had bought them for.
I shook my head in disbelief.
“Check with the Master”, the angel said.
You mean Ticketmaster? I asked while I fumbled for my glasses in the drawer. I finally found them and paused to clean the lenses with a soft piece of cloth. When I wore my glasses and looked up, the angel had disappeared.
Oh well. These AI bots have a life of their own.
It was raining heavily on a late Sunday morning. I checked the weather app – more thunderstorms in the afternoon. Weather this fall was quite unpredictable.
US Open Men’s Final. On the bucket list. Hmmm. Djoker and Del Potro. Hmmm. Was I crazy enough to drive 3 hours each way in this weather. What a rhetorical question.
I fired up the Ticketmaster app. Ticket prices had actually gone up since yesterday. The angel must be picking up fake information. Time for a coil change. You need to refresh – I murmured to the angel as if it were listening.
Suddenly I remembered the Ticketmaster app was programmed to trick returning viewers by making them feel prices were going up. I had to use a different IP address or a different computer and start again.
I found my old laptop in the basement and brought it back to life. And to my pleasant surprise – prices were indeed lower than expected. My immediate reaction was to take instant action.
Click. Click. Click.
In a few minutes I was all set. I was now the proud owner of a scannable mobile ticket to go watch the US Open Men’s Finals.
“You need to leave in 20 minutes if you want to avoid getting stuck in traffic” the angel had appeared again from nowhere.
One can get more done in 20 minutes than in 2 hours if one is going for the US Open Finals. I mean I got ready in a jiffy, packed a sandwich and gathered my umbrella. I even folded my raincoat just in case I needed to sit and watch in the rain. Umbrellas can be a nuisance as they can block the view of other spectators.
“You don’t need the raincoat. The Arthur Ashe stadium has a roof”, mocked the angel, winking at me as I glared at it.
It was pouring when I finally gave it a start. The Lexus sailed steadily on the turnpike for more than an hour before I started to see traffic jams. People tend to stay off the roads when it rains this hard.
“Do not take the Holland Tunnel, take the exit 13 for the Verrazano bridge”, warned the angel in a sharp tone. I was grateful that it was around and reminding me just in time. One wrong turn could mean a big delay.
The potholes are getting bigger. The tolls to get into the city keep getting higher. I wonder why all this tax money doesn’t get used to improve the roads. I had to come to a complete stop several times due to the burgeoning traffic. Meanwhile the wipers were doing a fast paced musical sequence on the windscreen.
Slow down. Stop. Release brakes. Drive slowly now. Stop again. Repeat endlessly. It was a painful ride for about an hour before I reached the stadium.
“Gate 2 is backed up completely. Take the Citifield exit and go to Gate 5” said the angel in a nonchalant way. It had the same supercilious tone as me. After all it had been configured to mimic my speech and my habits.
Gate 5 was indeed quite empty as I took the turn and got in line behind the other cars to pay the parking fee. Two attendants were waving the cars into the parking lot. There was a nice lady at the booth collecting the money.
“You have such pretty nails. Thank you so much and have a nice day!” the angel was mimicking my voice and talking to the parking lady.
Omg. I drove quickly into the parking lot without stopping to look at her pleased expression.
The stadium was half empty when I got in but it started filling up quickly. The ladies doubles match was on. Time to eat that sandwich.
After the starting celebrations when Djoker and Del Potro finally arrived - the fans cheered wildly. The stadium was now packed. Outside it was raining cats and dogs. But the giant roof on top of the stadium made the rain irrelevant to the game. The angel was right - raincoats or umbrellas were not required inside the stadium.
As Djoker placed his shots, thousands of his fans stood up and clapped in unison. When Del Potro aced at speeds as high as 136 mph, all his fans went wild and started singing his name.
For the next four hours I felt I was in a different world. I pinched myself. This was a long cherished dream come true.
I was grateful to have an angel. After all it was the angel that pulled me out of my Sunday slumber. It was because of the angel that I got to the stadium on time - despite all my lack of preparation.
It was a long and tiring day. But very fun filled – and very satisfying.
When I reached home I got a message that read: Your angel shall be delivered next Tuesday.
I was very confused. I thought my angel had already been delivered to me.
It had been with me the entire day. After all it was the angel that woke me up in the morning, reminded me to check the ticket prices, guided me with directions, even mimicked my voice to speak to the parking lady…
I looked around for the angel, but it was nowhere to be found.