Saturday, July 01, 2006

Argentina 0 Holland 0

June 21
10:20pm: Polish off last of Yellowtail chardonnay. Wife gone to bed. Bored and slightly drunk, in absence of nightclub, surf channels for World Cup highlights.

10:21pm: ESPN showing baseball. ESPN Classic showing military drama. (Who knew?) ESPN2 showing mini-special on World Cup goal celebrations. Since focus is on US team, special is brief.

10:23pm: Find Kilauea Military Camp channel. During WW2, the camp served as an internment camp for Japanese-Americans. Today, its mission statement is: to provide excellence in hospitality; to leave a positive lasting impression on guests; and to provide services exceeding guest expectations. Giggle at Doublespeak qualities of mission statement.

10:32pm: Still bored slightly drunk, decide to kill a minute searching for wireless network to upload blog. Computer asks if I want to sign on to Kilauea Military Camp’s free network. I pay taxes. Click okay.

10:34pm: No Internet access. Computer begins to make strange humming sound.

10:35pm: Still no Internet access. Outside, in the darkness, at the crater’s rim, strange animals howl in pleasure or pain. Then silence.

10:36pm: Computer conducts search of all its cavities while making steady humming sound. Suspect computer to be godless pervert.

10:40pm: Still no Internet access. Suspect US military now know all about my passion for Transsexual Cuban Midget Mud Wrestlers. Primal fear assails me. I cannot hide: I am a 6’ greying Englishman in a barren volcanic wilderness in Hawaii. Fear subsides when I remember they cannot find a 6’ 6" bearded Saudi man with a dialysis machine in the barren glacial wilderness of Wazhiristan. However, decide best not run for president. Go to bed.

June 21
Breakfast in Mess Hall with wife. It’s like a Village People convention: I have never seen so many men with moustaches in one place at one time. Block colors are favoured: mud, khaki and shades of grey are much in evidence. Today, I favour a delicately striped cotton shirt with dress tail, white shorts of a comfortable linen-cotton blend, and tan leather Roman sandals. This coordinates well with shaggy hairdo and two-day George Michael stubble. However, this marks me out for the kind of stares you would normally get in bars along the Castro in San Francisco. Suspect they know about the Transsexual Cuban Midget Mud Wrestlers.

8:35am: Fearing I am about to be rogered to death by US Military, advice wife that I am taking bagel back to room.

8:40am: Back in room, ESPN offers philosophical debate on drug use in baseball. Debate goes like this: cheating implies a moral choice; but if performance-enhancing drugs improve our physique and our physical ability and allow us to live longer, is that cheating? And anyway, we allow athletes to drink coffee, and that contains caffeine. So taking steroids is not cheating.
I used to like baseball.

9:00am: Argentina versus Holland kicks off. Watch game while packing bags. Packing bags therefore takes 45 minutes instead of 10.

57 minutes: Wife joins me to watch game. Dutch employ fake run-up at a free-kick. Wife accuses them of being "Tricky." Decide not to explain that this is essential part of game. Decide that wife's sense of virtue in matters of competitive sport is really rather charming.

58 minutes: For no discernible reason wife says, "I guess hating your parents is all part of growing up." Then she adds, "Guess our kids will hate us too." Commentators insist game needs a goal. I am about to insist that we don’t have any kids, and even if we did they wouldn’t necessarily have to hate their parents, but then remember childhood.

59 minutes: Wife flicks through mags and says clearly anyone can be a photographer in Hawaii.

65 minutes: Wife reads out traffic rules for Big Island. No tailgating. Yield to oncoming traffic at bridges. I ask for a definition of oncoming. No definition of oncoming. That’ll help then. (Where does she find this stuff?)

69 minutes: Wasabi-coated peanuts by Sami’s Sweets and Spices. Excellent. Crunch and tang. Peanut could be slightly nuttier: this would add texture to pungent wasabi tang.

72 minutes: Shot save papaya. Papaya very green. Back to wasabi peanuts.

75 minutes: Debate between self and wife over cutest World Cup team quickly descends into violent argument over whether Angola actually exists. Wife insists it does not. I insist that it plays football, therefore it exists. Wife and I stare at each other in silence, dredging our brains for Cold War details of 1980s entities and their US and Soviet backers. Remember nothing. Suspect wife to be right. Wife suspects me to be right. Continue to stare at each other in silence. Throw papaya away: too green. Wait for wife to change subject.

77-90 minutes: Wife asks about team colours. Explain team colours to wife. Explain shirts versus skins – taking shirts off in pick-up games to avoid colour clashes. Wife distinctly interested in idea of skins. Attempt to explain replica shirt industry and exploitation of long-suffering supporters. Wife not listening. Clearly thinking about skins. Wife studies game then says: "Orange clashes with pink skin. Orange is not a good colour for some people." Why is she looking at me? Wife asks if Dutch people more pasty or if they tan. Decide they tan like Swedes. Wife asks, "Are there many black Dutch players?" Wife asks "What colour do Germany play in, they wouldn’t look good in orange, so white is a good colour for them and England." Suspect that wife is trying to wind me up.

Game over. Commentators insist "they did not give us the game we all hoped for." Wife and I feel let down: no one told us to hope for anything.