This is apparently the 2006 Italian football team. If this were
their uniform, I might understand watching the damn sport.
It has come to my attention that there is some kind of sporting event going on.
Oh, I exaggerate, of course. I'm not exactly a World Cup devotee, but you can't live as long in Africa and the Middle East as I have and not have some idea of what goes on in football (real football, that is, not the peculiar game played by Americans in snowy stadiums).
Still, it was all brought home to me this afternoon thanks to an accident of poor timing. We decided around 8:00 p.m. to take the dogs with us and head over to our local high street, a much-touted "urban village" agglomeration of pseudo-historical apartments, frozen yogurt and coffee emporia, and highly variable restaurants, most of them pretending desperately not to be chain-affiliated. And bars, the sheer number of which became quickly apparent this evening thanks to a truly remarkable number of soccer drunks.
Who knew the football has become so popular in these United States? When we were home four summers ago, we found it hard to find anywhere to watch the matches that Mr. Muscato deemed crucial. Of course, that we were in Provincetown (not exactly sports central, if you know what I mean, unless you consider cabaret enough of a competitive pastime to qualify) might have had something to do with that. Whatever the reason, the contrast with 2014 seems remarkable.
We finally managed a reasonably serene meal at a place that is what passes for dog-friendly stateside. We remain far more impressed by Paris restaurants, many of which welcome dogs not just on terraces or exiguous lines of curbside tables, but more or less anywhere they choose. I don't know about you, but I have no objection whatsoever to a well-behaved Weimarauner sitting up at table in even the finest establishment; if anything, they tend to be better behaved than most other patrons.
And certainly than most of the would-be patrons trolling the Urban Village this evening. Along with the rising popularity of the World Cup, another thing I've noticed since coming back last summer is the massive rate at which American men seem to be living in a kind of perpetual adolescence. I suppose expensive inner suburbs like ours are magnets for the kind of man who, still single (or single again) at 35 or more, wants nothing more than to have a range of bars within stumbling distance.
I'm told they're called bros; that's very definitely what they call each other. And in our neighborhood, they're everywhere, although infinitely more noticeable on a fine Sunday evening after a World Cup match. They wear shorts (almost year-round) not with the carefully thought-through "are these calves or are these calves?" air of gay men, but simply because they were what was closest to the bed; they lean toward flip-flops and baseball caps. These ensembles give them something of the air of middle-aged men trying out for community theater productions of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. And like Lucy Van Pelt, boy, are they loud. We enjoyed our dinner, especially as the crowds thinned, but it was more in spite of than because of the tireless man on top of a nearly building apartment building repeatedly shouting "U-S-A, biiiiiiiiiitches!" for something like an hour.
Some things we've loved about this neighborhood, but an evening out like this was a salutory reminder that Urban Villages inevitably come with village idiots.