Monday, July 10, 2006

for the last month i've been spending (wasting?) a lot of time watching the FIFA world cup. but as of today, it's over. suddenly, i'm going to have more time, but i can assure you already that i won't even know it, and it'll quickly be filled up by something new. in fact, i'm already on my way doing that -- my planner for this week is already booked up by trivial and not-so-trivial events that seem to stop me from doing anything.

but i know that i'll probably get most of those things done, and a surprising amount more. julie and i have started what she calls Life Club. it began as a way for us to set goals and actually make sure they get done, because we're holding each other accountable. i don't know how well it's working. i'm getting things done, and i suppose that the plus side of this is that i'm acknowledging what i do get done, but i'm not necessarily working on my List O' Things.

[i do, however, deserve a pat on the back for yesterday. y'see, i've intended to write and mail postcards since february. i had them tucked into my books. they were already addressed. they were even part-started. but i never finished them. until yesterday! now the challenge is finding a couple overseas stamps to send them off. with luck, the addressees still live at the same places now.]

[yay, sarah! pat pat pat. next time try to do it in a day, instead of 6 months.]

but back to the point. which isn't very clear right now, because i have so many points that need to be made, and so many stories to tell. so many! but let's try to focus. world cup. yes.

for the last month, since coming back from montreal, i've been following the cup as much as i could. in some respects, i lost a bit of what some might call a "life". in other respects, my "life" just got extended into the morning hours. i watching games ridiculously often, bonded with friends and strangers over a bad call, explained the offside rule again and again, and grinned like a fool whenever i saw a flag, a jersey, anything as i made my way down the Drive, because in that tiny little way, we shared something, those strangers and i. every day, it was as though i was in another country -- different flags, different cheers, different languages, though often the same people. it was the closest i could get to travelling, really.

but now the world cup is over. i cheered for portugal ... they lost. i cheered for germany ... they lost. i cheered for togo ... well, you couldn't expect them to do anything but lose, really. i cheered for france ... they lost. i'm sorry, guys, i'm obviously a curse. next time, i'll root for those drama queen italians, we'll see what happens then. sorry italians, though your food is lovely and your music divine, i still wanted someone else to win that little golden trophy. but kudos to you, you still made it in the end!

today i watched the game at joe's cafe, in front of the television that usually acted as my home, with most of the crew i'd watch the games with. and peter and i even shared the chair -- a fitting way to end our world cup experience, he pointed out. and while i'll miss seeing the games every morning, and having a stock excuse to spend time with certain folks, i'm sadder that i won't have that little bond with absolute strangers anymore. i don't even know if i'd recognise Miss Portugal Fan without her flag, scarf, makeup, and worried looks during the games. i won't get to hear Mr Congo's factoids and cheers next week. that dude sitting by the wall, Mr Loud who showed up at every single game and even had his own home-made bucket/drum/tambourine/thingemabob with all of "his" teams on it? i might see you walk down the street, but that's about it. i won't get to learn portuguese trivia from tony, making cracks about the british CN Tower. no more "deutschland!" when i see a little flag, no more jerseys as i bike down the drive, no more parties shutting down the road, i'm going to miss all of it.

want to know what one of the nicest moments was, though? it was the day i was standing in line to get a drink at joe's, just waiting, during one of the busy games -- could have even been a portugal match. and while i was waiting there, the fellow working at the bar glanced over and saw me, and called out "hot chocolate, right!" -- my drink of choice.* i was too surprised and thrilled to order the cappuccino that had been on my mind -- i was a regular! and even today, during the game, Drive Tourists were passed over so that i could be served first. this isn't a personal celebration of the fact that i'm special. well, maybe a little. but not because i'm more hardcore than you. just that the cup became my thing, and even though i didn't necessarily commit to a team all the way through, i still committed to the cup. and had an awesome month doing it.

so to Dude Who Sat Beside Me And Kept Trying To Show Off How Much He Deserved To Be There By Making Endless References To How He'd Seen "Most Of The Games" And Should Write A Book About It, and, in fact, to a lot of the Drive Tourists who showed up for that one game, taking away seats from the people who live around here, i'm glad you enjoyed it. i hope you had fun following it. but for chrissakes, don't act like you're so much more holier than thou because you hauled your yuppie selves all the way from the west end to live the bohemian faux-european lifestyle for one morning, proving how utterly awesome you are. you're a pain. you're rude. you're obnoxious. contrary to your perceptions, you don't have a god-given right to boss people around and have things your way. and strangely, there's more people out there than just li'l ol' you who's watched most of the games. a lot more. so please, just shut up and enjoy the game with everyone.

to the people -- tourists or not -- who showed up, didn't take up more than their fair share of physical and metaphorical space, and just had fun with the festivities, nice to have you around. who knew that such a small space could roar like a stadium?

* * * * *

i'm sure i'm sorry that this isn't better-written. trying to fit in too many ideas, don't have the patience to do a proper job of it. at least this makes some space for the next few ideas that are clamouring to be written another day.

i also just (re?)discovered that i have the rarest bloodtype. so rare that people make patches for O- bloodtypes so that we can show it off with pride and honour (and so that if we suddenly die they can harvest it, i suppose). hawt. too bad i can't share my blood!

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