Sunday morning – because on a Sunday, 12:30pm counts as morning – finds me on the sidewalk outside Targy’s. The girlfriend of its one-armed bartender (neither was ever formally introduced to me as anything else) is telling me dirty jokes, and for once I want to be watching the game.
I know very little about football outside of how much fun it was to play and how pissed I was when a knee injury (and, you know, femininity) ruined my shot in high school. But it’s never too late to learn, and when I finally escape the joke-teller’s drunken clutches, it’s to burst into a cheering room. In those brief moments I’ve been outside, the Seahawks have begun to close Texas’ lead. At this point I don’t know what the ensuing 4-and-oh record will mean for our team, but I do know that it’s a lot of fun to yell, and probably allowable in this place to drink before five.
Interviews in this place are hopeless, what with the screaming and the throwing and the screaming (my reporter’s notebook sports a scrawled line: “need a story angle, what with the yelling and the total lack of comprehension”). Tearing his eyes away from the Fantasy scores, Boyfriend finally deigns to throw me some quotes.
“Lynch needs Skittles! Sherman deserves everything good the world can throw at him! Texans are a good effing team, and we still eked out a win!” He’s glowing.
“I don’t think this counts as ‘good journalism;’ you know that if you don’t talk to me I’ll hit you with a pool cue and that’s not how interviews are supposed to work.” But he’s already resubmerged in the digital Fantasy realm, and I devote the rest of the afternoon to learning how to brace a pool cue properly. My thrill at the Seahawks’ win is overshadowed by my anticipation of my next bar-pool victory.
Late Tuesday night I receive a text message that I can’t parse: “New plan for the [Fantasy] league. Trade for players on the Bengals, Lions, Jaguars, or Panthers. Have an all-cat team.”
“Will it help you win?”
“Probably not. But I could become the CATLORD.
“In and of itself that is a brutal and glorious victory.”
So I understand even less. Even in its most invasive and participatory form, the game remains, well, a game, while those shouting voices at the bar that Sunday had been anything but playful. Maybe this isn’t a him-thing. Maybe the rest of Washington really is that…devoted? Insane? His friend Danny’s offered to lend me a Seahawks scarf so I’ll blend in at the next outing. He insists it’s important, and I’m starting to believe him.