Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Footy and Simon P., now with Ralph Fiennes!

Simon P. came to visit me the weekend of the World Cup final. Simon P. and I developed an interest in British football while studying at York together in 2004. Actually, my interest dates back to my senior year of high school, but in those days it focused mainly on Michael Owen's ability to look so easily beautiful. These days I am more into the actual game (as well as the staggering number of other beautiful players -- why limit one's self?)

Simon P. and I had been feverishly corresponding about the English team for the entire game, and shared the devestation of England getting kicked out in the quarterfinals, the team having been crippled in the previous game by Michael Owen injuring himself so badly he didn't even make a transparently dramatic fuss like soccer players usually do; he just crawled off the field on his hands and knees. Even were I not in love with him, it would have been heartbreaking.

Then, in the losing game, Beckham got injured and was replaced, and minutes later brainless wonder-boy Wayne Rooney "accidentally" stepped on somebody's, erm, bits, and got a red card, meaning England was a man down, had lost its best strikers, and didn't even have Beckham for corner kicks.

Even so, like the stout-hearted Englishmen they are, our boys made it to penalty kicks . . . and lost . . . to Portugal . . . just like in Euro 2004 . . . compounding the emotional scars I received watching that inconceivably tense match. I won't go into details on that one, but let's just say I can never visit Portugal until I learn how to overcome seething bitterness, and that won't happen until England beats Portugal. Thus it is a logical impossibility that I will ever go to Portugal.

Simon P. and I were quite sincerely undone by this turn of events, but we consoled ourselves by making fun of Wayne Rooney a whole lot, calling him the Freckled Grendel of Footballers, and imagining what it would be like if he ever started playing tiddleywinks. When we got tired of that, we started making fun of Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the Portuguese players, who said he didn't try to get Rooney sent off with the red card, despite all appearances to the contrary. And that turned out to be a lot more rewarding because we'll have to forgive Rooney eventually if we are ever to be happy about any future England victories, and Ronaldo we can hold a grudge against forever with no harm done to the home team.

But Simon P. and I did not only talk about football. Oh, no. We also talked about The West Wing, making a firm decision to rewrite the entire last season. Somehow we also worked Vikings in, and during a trip to Lake Ontario were inspired to call the theme song, "Don't Want No Bug in my Cup", which is a stroke of genius because it meshes so well with Vikings and modern American politics. The opening line of the politico-historical dramedy will be "Behold the shapeliness of my ear." That trip to the lake is a lesson never to mix your friend-groups because the combined weirdness comes dangerously close to unhinging the universe.

After Lake Ontario, Simon P. was taken to visit Ye Mighty Wegmans: The Deluxe Edition. You all know that of which I speak. Pittsford, the Harrods of Western New York. The Holy Grail of Wegmanses. El Wegorado. The Wegmans with Devonshire Cream, and Quark, and Jaffa Cakes, and all manner of cheeses and orange chocolate. Simon P. appeared to be properly impressed, and didn't even think we were silly for taking her to a grocery store to photograph the vegetables like Japanese tourists.

And by the way, I have personally seen Japanese tourists thrilled by a lesser Wegmans, so you know this is the genuine article, the Pittsford Wegmans.

The next day, Simon P. and I watched the final match of the World Cup, during which Zidane made the Freckled Grendel of Footballers look truly unoriginal. Maybe headbutting is more common than I think, but in my opinion probably very few people respond with the instincts of a mountain goat when insulted. After this I have to say I have really high expectations of Rooney in Euro 2008. If he doesn't body slam somebody soon, he will never reach his potential as a real pro at infamy.

Simon P. had to leave on Monday morning, but the bond between the two Simons remains strong! Yesterday Simon P. called me to tell me she was about to see Ralph Fiennes. In a play. Live. Oh, holy mother. I encouraged her to rush the stage and throw herself at him, on my behalf, but she said, "Yeah, and then I would say, 'That was just for my friend Simon.' And they'd say, 'What's your name?' And I'd have to say, '...Simon. But it's not for me, I swear!'" So, doomed by having the same name, there was no stage-rushing. She did get his autograph, however, and now I can say I know someone who's been three feet from a Fiennes, and nothing solidifies a friendship like proximity to fame.

I hope that hat is part of his costume not that anything would look silly on Ralph Fiennes because he would be serious and/or menacing even in a clown suit but still.


Katie P. said...


Simon said...

I may have to post that.

SImon said...

omg, we're a celebrity blog! (and if simon p. likes wegman's, she's ok in my book)

Simon said...

I didn't get to show her the "Parisian Desserts" case, because they'd taken it all away, but I think we all could have bonded over that.

Ivan said...

I accidentally called myself Simon. I guess I was too wrapped up in the tale of two Simons to remember my own name.

Katie P. said...

(aka Simon P.) You are obviously just a Simon wannabe. We understand.

Simon said...

Hmmmm. I didn't even notice that you had called yourself Simon. There are so many Simons it's hard to keep track. There were like four Simons in my first grade class. Who knew the early eighties would be populated entirely by babies named Simon? I thought Simon was mainly a British name. Curious!

Katie P. said...

And then there's the Symons and the Simonhs and the Sis (pronounced sighs) and the Sys (also pronounced sighs)...etc. That's the really annoying thing about being called Simon. "And how do you spell that?" "What is your preferred name?" "And you go by?"
ERGH. The emotional baggage from being called Simon. Sometimes it's just too much.

Just.Megan. said...

The fact that RF is standing near a Mary Poppins poster kind of made my day. Because, WHILE I'M SURE HE IS LOVELY AND IMPECCABLY MANNERED, SIMONS, SO DON'T GET MAD, he often looks like maybe he stole kittens from orphans and ate them for breakfast. Just maybe.

Matthew said...

Simon P. is welcome back anytime in my book! Welcome back to the area, not to my book.

Ivan, you are IVAN! If you cannot remember your own name, you won't be able to board the plane to come back to visit either!

Simon said...

Never fear, Megan dear. I had the same thought, except without the orphans. Nice touch.

Just.Megan. said...

I do what I can.

Katie P. said...

We actually discussed how Fiennes always plays bad guys.