Monday, February 7, 2011

Daily Report: Superbowl Patriotism

I picked up Ednel's knives from the flea market today. I also did some work on Epril's visa too, since the U.S. Government has now officially moved us on to Stage 2 of the great visa hunt: The "I-129" is next up to tackle. Finally, I watched a couple of hours of "Top Gear" on BBC America — my only consistent peccant passtime... my days otherwise spent in reading novels, studying anatomy, and watching the occasional documentary. Well, I suppose training and playing with Gracie could count as empty time too, depending on the measuring stick.

I was out with my cousins tonight to watch the Superbowl at a local sports bar. We had big 4-liter personal taps of beer on the table; ate Buffalo wings, nachos, and chili fries. The four of us actually won three different door prizes... not bad. I won a Coors T-shirt and Budweiser ball cap.

This lady in the bar apparently had won a refrigerator (a small one) that she didn't want and was going round to the tables near where she was sitting trying to find somebody who would buy it from her. She found no takers at our table, but she continued pursuing her conversation with us instead of moving on.

"I was angry at you guys earlier."

Oh Lord, I thought. This is not a conversation I want to be in.

"Oh?" my cousin Jonathan asked, looking concerned. "Why is that?"

"None of you stood up during the National Anthem. It was disrespectful."

I remember glancing at this lady, standing at the corner of the bar, looking rather smug and self-righteous with her hand over her heart as the Star Spangled Banner played.

I replied, "Didn't you notice that nobody in the bar stood up during the National Anthem other than yourself?"

But it was at that moment that I quickly realized that if this lady was stupid enough... or drunk enough... or rude enough to toss such a ridiculous and unwarranted criticism in our direction, she wasn't worth talking to at all, and I immediately withdrew my attention and went back to watching the game. Jonathan, however, took the lady up on her challenge to a debate on who was most patriotic, and delivered a pretty decent smackdown all in all, as I kept an ear on the conversation while I watched the game. An absolute and utter flake, this lady was. She eventually wandered off.

From my time in Asia — and before that my time in New York City — I never ran into an American like that, although I knew they existed: An American who could go all sans culottes on a total stranger in a bar like a homespun Columbia exorcising the demons of wishy-washy American fervor out of her slacking compatriots.

Yes, note to all non-Americans reading this blog: There really are holier-than-thou Americans who will lord their patriotism (and/or more commonly, their religion) over people in order to better reinforce their own sense of propriety and moral certainty. I apologize in advance should you ever encounter one of these Americans, and recommend you just run away without hesitation.

Ugh. I commented recently on this blog about talking to crazy people in bars (don't). Y'all thought it doesn't happen. First time in a bar since coming back to America? There it was. (And yes: I consider going around to tables in a bar to individually accuse people of unpatriotic behavior to be a sign of mental instability. Call me touchy.)

Anyway, other than that foolishness, it was a grand time. I had originally planned on staying only until the end of halftime but stuck until the end of the game (or, more accurately, the inevitability of the outcome of the game). After that, it was back home to work.

Oh: In an effort to avoid getting behind the wheel with alcohol in my body, I spent the last half of the game drinking O'Douls non-alcoholic beer. First time. It wasn't awful; I might try it again even.


Steve said...

Did you ever go to the cinema in Thailand, Jil?

Jungle Jil said...

Yes, Steve. I can see your point there. However, going to the cinema in Thailand is like going to a baseball game in America.

I think a better analogy would be at 6:00 p.m. in Thailand every day on the radio, they play the national anthem. Some people (especially those within sight of a Thai flag) will stop and stand still if they hear the music and see the flag, but not everyone.

Steve said...

Or a Philippine supermarket at 6 pm (not sure, is it 6 pm?), when the daily broadcast from church is played through the speakers and everyone, absolutely everyone freezes for a minute or two. But that's not nationalism of course. Still, first time I saw it, spooky.

Jungle Jil said...

Now that's an interesting thought experiment: I wonder if the 200 or 300 people in the sports bar would have quieted down if, instead of on the television was the National Anthem for the Superbowl, instead there was a prayer before the Superbowl. It would have obviously been a little weird, but like I said.

I'm not allergic to standing up for the National Anthem by any means. If I'm at a sporting event but, there seems to be something... I don't know... secondary about watching a sporting event on television and standing up for the national anthem. (Could you imagine that lady I mentioned sitting at home and standing up every time the Star Spangled Banner comes on her television or radio? Apparently that is what she does, assuming she isn't a hypocrite.)

Yes... the afternoon prayer over the loudspeaker was weird. Often I was walking Tyson at that time and everything sort of ground to a halt in the city square. In that instance, obviously, I stood quietly so as not to interrupt other people's "moment"... though I didn't pray. (Whatever it was that was broadcast was in Visayan.)