CHEAP EATS Everyone assumes that because I love to play soccer, I’m interested in the World Cup. Rather than contradict them, I have become interested in the World Cup. How is that for flexing one’s codependency?
At first I merely feigned interest, but then the feigning turned into affectation, then adoption, and now I find myself legitimately, actually, gut-wrenchingly interested — albeit by accident.
Unlike a lot of people, I don’t care who the hell wins. I could probably root for Brazil, since that’s who most of my soccer buds back (I play on a team of Brazilians). I could get away with rooting for Italy, the defending World Cup champions, because that’s the flavor of the blood that I have, and, on the third hand, never in my life have I felt more patriotically-inclined, God bless America, given my recent failed attempt at expatriation. Plus I love an underdog.
But my capacity for love is temporarily out of service, thanks to a certain German person who absolutely, positively, and very very stroppishly hates soccer — not the sport so much as the hoopla. Or, in other words, go Germany!!!
May the streets of that fine, fucked country be filled with whooping fans, national songs, shouts, bells, whistles, shenaniganism, hooliganism, and general mayhem. May the peace be disturbed! May it be impossible for writers to write there, and for lovers to love, and may the spirit of lowbrow, sports-related celebration annoy the living crap out of every stodgy old lady and artsy fartsy middle-aged loser couple in all of Bavaria, in particular, the old-town district of Regensburg. Mwa-ha-ha-ha.
You thought I was going to go against the Germans, didn’t you? I thought I was too. I still do feel, or at least hope, that passion will win out over discipline on at least some playing fields, such as soccer ones. That’s why, while German national teams tend to do well, Brazil and Italy win more World Cups.
Nevertheless: Go Germany!
I tried to watch their first game at the closest Irish pub to my house, the Phoenix, but it was way too crowded so I walked to Mission Street. All my many friends who had asked me about my interest in the World Cup, inciting my interest … I called all of them but nobody could join me, and this was on a weekend.
So my only friend was my appetite.
Perfect! I wound up at La Oaxaqueña, the little corner hole-in-the-wall at Mission and Clarion, near 17th Street. I’d eaten there once before. It’s good. But more to the point, they had a fuzzy little TV going up in the corner, and in sharp contrast to the Phoenix, there was nobody in the place.
Nobody at all, eating.
So I stayed and ate and tried to put up with the TV. The picture kept locking up and making temporarily cubist photography out of live sports, and the audio sounded like bees. I have since come to realize that all World Cup soccer matches sound like bees, but at the time I didn’t know this.
Anyway, I didn’t let it ruin my meal, which was fish cooked in coconut milk with ginger. Points for them for taking forever to cook it, even though I was, as I said, the only one there. They must have sensed I was in it for the television, and kindly made it easy for me to nurse my way through as much of the second half as it was possible to watch.
The fish was great, the rice and the beans were fine, and the Australians played like chickens with their heads cut off. It started to look like Germany had one extra player out there. Which they did, one of the headless chickens having gone and gotten hisself red-carded.
Come to think of it, I don’t remember Germany ever even committing a foul, which reminds me of how nobody ever even jaywalks there. Not even in the middle of the night.
Christ, it’s going to be hard to root for a team like that.
LA OAXAQUEÑA BAKERY AND RESTAURANT
Daily: 6 a.m.–2 a.m.
2128 Mission, SF
Beer and wine