Thursday, February 12, 2009

Inter-American Relations

I overheard the conversation I'm about to recount outside a packed restroom at Crew Stadium last night. A particularly savvy beer man had set up shop right outside the restroom and was selling beer faster than he could pour it. Almost everyone in line was buying. Whether a Mexico fan or a USA fan, the same series of actions was preformed in reaction to the beer man's peddling. First, the buyer would look confused at the oddness of the context in which the beer was being offered. Then the buyer would reluctantly but agreeably shrug his shoulders and ask for a beer. Next, the buyer would take his first sip from his new beer and smile contentedly knowing he was mere feet away from creating room in his bladder for what he had just purchased.

I was in this line, sipping a newly purchased beer, when a Mexico fan, wearing a lucha libre mask, Mexican flag cape, and Mexico jersey walked up to get his picture taken with a USA fan decked out in a full red jumpsuit, USA flag cape, and red, white, and blue painted head. I say "head" because it was most certainly his whole head and not just his face. Both men were spectacularly drunk. Neither man spoke the other's language.

Pancho Villa: Oye, compa! I picture?

Captain America: Fuckin'-A man! USA! USA! USA! Cool.

Pancho Villa [just after the picture was taken turning to Captain America but only being able to look him in the chest]: Joo drun.

Captain America [laughing]: Bo-rach-o! Awooooooooo! You too, man. It's cool if you don't come do my lawn tomorrow.

Pancho Villa: Ho-kay. Ho-kay.

[Both men laughing and hugging]

Pancho Villa: Joo weening es luckee.

Captain America: What!? That goal was awesome! That's not luck! The Alamo was lucky, motherfucker!

[Both men laughing, hugging, high-fiving, laughing, sipping, hugging, and high-fiving again]

I think the two superfans took another picture together, but by that point I was past the threshold of the restroom and could no longer see them. Those of us in the line who had heard the conversation (and understood both sides), eyed each other uneasily. I mean, on the one hand, it really was a comical display. On the other, it was sort of a parody of US/Mexico relations and did more than touch on overt racism. I suppose the men could have actually known one another and that Pancho Villa actually did Captain America's lawn, but I'm guessing that was not the case.

I was mulling this over in my head and trying not to think about how horribly I needed to use the restroom when images of fans in El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico City popped into my head. Hmmm. Borderline racist drunken hugging and laughing? Or, Overtly violent battery throwing patriotic rage?

The Mexico fan in front of me turned around and we made eye contact.

Me: Viste esos borrachos?

Him [surprised look]: Si, si. Hay pendejos aqui y alli!

[both of us laughing]

Me: Vamos a ganar, sabes?

Him: No, no guerro! Vamos el tri!

Me: No creo que si! Estas borracho tambien?!

[both laughing]

Our conversation ended as we reached the front of the line and we finally got to relieve ourselves. Apparently etiquette on both sides of the border precludes conversation during urination. As an aside, I once broke this rule at a Baylor basketball game when I glanced to my right to see Drayton McLane, owner of the Houston Astros, making use of the urinal next to me. He had just traded Billy Wagner and I had to let him know I, as a long time Astros fan, did not approve. Drayton was friendly and understanding and then said he'd shake my hand but his were otherwise occupied at the time.

Relishing my sweet relief, I sighed contentedly. Yes, there are dumbasses here and there, but thank God we can all go to a soccer match and support our teams without the riot police getting involved...

...and thank God the US won!

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