The Playoffs

A invited me over to his place to watch the game. He was excited to watch American football with “someone who gives a damn,” and I was excited to do such a homey thing as talk shit about the Steelers and wear my purple cardigan with my black dress. We stopped by a Migros after I got off work and picked up beer and frozen pizza, and while the pizzas cooked we chopped onions and garlic for A’s entree- little sausages that taste like kosher hotdogs cooked with tons of onions and then simmered in beer. Over bread. Yum.

Turkish cable gets a few American channels, or at least Turkish versions of American channels, like Fox, and CNN, and the Cartoon Network. We settled on the couch and flipped through the cable guide.
“Huh,” A said.
“Yeah, that doesn’t look good,” I said. According to the schedule the NFL game wasn’t playing until three in the morning.
“I’m sure it’s a mistake,” he said.
“Or is there a delay? What time is it playing in America?”
“4:30? 5?”
“They might delay it, not play it live.”
“I’m sure it’s a mistake,” he averred.
“Let’s hope so,” I said. “It would SUCK if we had to go to work tomorrow on absolutely no sleep.” We both had to wake up early the next day to go to work, and had already agreed that getting four hours of beer-addled sleep before a nine hour day at work was totally a price worth paying to see the Ravens and Steelers in the playoffs.
We settled in to watch Sin City while we waited. A’s friend called to say he wouldn’t make it.
“Man,” I said. “But he’s got the whiskey!”
At 11:30 A went to get us plates of sausage and onions in beer goo over bread, (now accepting entries in a contest to name that dinner) and I turned the channel to Fox.
“Bud,” I said when he returned, “this doesn’t look good.”
“What is it?” he asked.
“It’s some show about… golf stories?”
He went into his bedroom to see if he could find a way to stream the game. I watched the golf show with mounting indignation. A man with a severe overbite was remembering his father, the manager of a golf course, who’d been struck by a ball and died some years before. They panned to a shot of the man returning to the very green where it had happened. He broke down crying and his mother ran onscreen to hug him and tell him it would be all right. The scene switched to interview mode.
“I know a lot of people would feel guilty,” Overbite was saying, “and wonder, why not me? But because of my faith, I know that my dad is up there playing golf with Jesus. I know he’s partying with God, man, and I can just hardly wait to see him.”
This? Instead of the EFFING STEELERS RAVENS GAME?!?!?!!!!!
“So the Steelers are ahead by seven points, and I can’t find a way to stream the game,” A said.
“That’s okay,” I said. “Steelers just made the Ravens mad. They’ll pull ahead. Let’s eat and figure something out. By the way, what is wrong with Turkish Fox?”
We sat at the table and thoughtfully chewed. Then we went back to the tv to scour it for any sign of a CBS channel. Nada. I pulled down the information menu and discovered that the 3 am game was Atlanta vs. Greenbay.
“Shit. I didn’t even think about that,” A said. “I can’t keep track of licensing agreements.”
We went back to the computer, but after an hour, (Ravens ahead!) we were back where we started: the Yahoo page with the scores.

So we got comfy in front of the computer and watched the scores change.
“Uh oh, they lost five yards.”
“What do you think they’re doing now?”
“I bet it’s a commercial break.”
“So let’s see- Geico commercial, right?”
“Or beer.”
“Yeah. Beer commercial. Miller light. Or Heineken or something.”
“A car.”
“You should really get a Volkswagon. Oh, and if you use Axe body wash for men-”
“The ladies’ll come flocking?”
“Yeah! Totally. Oh wait, the line moved-”
“That’s not good.”
“What do you think happened?”
“It says- incomplete pass to the right.”
“Goddamn it, Flacco! Again?! So I guess now they’re showing the coaches pacing on the sidelines and saying things into their headsets. Oh, and maybe a shot of a player pacing around and, like, spitting.”
“Sounds about right.”
“I wonder what’s happening now? Oh look! They’re panning the crowd! Wave!”
“That’s right. All we need is imagination.”
“We’re practically there.”

“I wish there was a portal to Hampden somewhere here,” I said.
“What would we do there?”
“Well, we’d either invite ourselves over to George and Christine’s to watch it on their big screen teevee while drinking our weight in Keystone Light, or we’d meet folks out at, like Fraziers. I bet Phil would be there. He would be an alarming shade of pink by now,” the Steelers were at this point at the fourth yard line, “and I would have annoyed the shit out of him about fourteen times by asking dumb questions, or, like, bringing up Lady Gaga while he’s trying to concentrate or something, and he wouldn’t be talking to me.”
“Hmmm. Sounds good.”
“So, theoretically, if there were a portal to Hampden here, where would it be?”
“Not under that rug, so you can put it down. Maybe upstairs?”
“We should have thought of this earlier.”

Later, after we had remembered all the American commercials we possibly could, the Ravens lost to the Steelers. We’re still not sure how. Something funny happened at the end that we can’t quite explain, and I haven’t been able to stream any clips at work today. I fell asleep on the couch at around 3:30, full and happy, listening to the Atlanta Greenbay game, missing home.


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