The tale of the Yankees fan “but not really” Guido and his quest for the Cup.
It was a day like any other day. Except it was in Delaware. Oh. And it was a night. Last night. And I tried to take a cell phone picture. But it was too dark.
There was this bar, see. With beer. And, my fresh off-the-boat Carolina girl appeal is apparently very, VERY appealing. So I sit. I make a friend. His name is Owen. He is the hot bartender. We were going to run away together (you know, and have Delawarean babies. Start a tribe of Delawareans and buy a boat). But then tragedy ensued. He said, “you don’t like the Bruins, do you?” And he scoffed at me. There was SCOFFING.
Alas. We were not to be. My heart, however, did not stay broken for long. Oh no. Can’t keep a broken heart with the intense, intense laughter.
Not thirty seconds later, I met my very first Guido. I have heard of them, Guidos. But they are elusive creatures. And very, very rare in North Carolina. But not here. Oh no. Not here.
The hair. Check.
The accent. Check.
The (not kidding) pocket comb.
I know my world is about to change forever.
“How you doin’?”
Seriously. “How you doin’?”
“I’m from south Jersey.”
Wow, I think. Clearly, this is a defining moment in my life. I will remember this forever. I take a moment to absorb this. He is clearly in the middle of absorbing cologne. And a spray tan.
He sits sideways. It looks quite precarious. He rests his cheek (I think it was a cheek. It was shiny) against a hand, elbow on the bar. And flashes his teeth.
Awesome, I think. Then I wonder whether his hand will turn orange from the spray tan on his face. And if it will rub off on the bar.
He reads the “awesome,” but I think he misconstrues the tone of my inner-voice.
I marvel at how he is able to demonstrate his entire chest toward me (oh, it’s a demonstration) when his legs are directly facing the bar. I had a Ken doll that could do that. But I accidentally lost its head.
“I’m….. (and then he says his name. But I don’t remember it. So let’s call him Carlos. Because I like the name Carlos).”
Carlos proceeds to tell me that I look like I’ve got a lot “up here.”
It takes an awkward thirty seconds before I arrive at the correct conclusion.
Oh. He’s talking about my brain.
“That’s an accurate observation,” I say, amid spiteful background laughter from Owen (see, I remember OWEN the bartender’s name. Because I was almost Mrs. Owen, see).
“Do you like music?”
Um. I say. Um. I’m a music writer. (Damnit, why didn’t you lie? Never, NEVER tell weird people you write about music. It will only encourage them, children)
“No kiddin’?” incredulous face. I think his hair is reflecting the lights over the bar. “I do too! What a co-iss-eee-dense!” (Coincidence. It takes me a second too)
I don’t talk. I stick practically my whole face in the pint glass. It’s either this or laugh. Bubbles. Uhoh. I’m laughing. Screw you, Owen. Stop grinning.
“What music you like?”
Um. Opera. Sure. Why not? I wrote about it today.
“No kiddin’! Me too! What a co-iss-eee-dense!”
Really? Brow quirk. What’s your favorite opera?
Longest. Moment. Ever. As his eyes race around the room. Clearly he was not expecting a follow-up. He’s thinking opera… opera… any opera…
After two minutes of silence (and awkward breathing. I timed it), he says, rather loudly, “Carmen! I like Carmen.”
Tragic, I say. Nodding.
“Yeah, yeah. Tragic,” he says.
And then, the most glorious part of the evening. He (not kidding. Ask Owen the bartender) starts to sing.
I have NO idea what he is singing. But it’s loud. And I think he thinks it’s Italian. I hear the name “Figaro.” People are staring now. I think he thinks this is making me feel special. I almost fall off the bar stool because I am holding my breath so I don’t laugh… and it’s not working… I’m just not breathing…
Awkward pause. He orders me another beer. You know how I like free beer. Plus, I can’t leave now. I’m an anthropologist. And he is a monkey. Albeit with less hair.
I am pretending to watch the Heat game.
“You like sports?’
“No kiddin’! Me too!”
He has take a moment. The co-iss-eee-denses are way, way too uncanny for him to process. He manages to switch hands. One must hold his chin at all times.
“You like baseball?”
He has my full attention. Mmm-hmmm.
“No kiddin’! Me too! I’m a Yankees fan.”
Oh good, I think. Brilliant smile. I congratulate him on their 2011 World Series victory. Oh wait. You play-off bombed. I congratulate him on the stellar attitude of his players. Oh wait. Jorge Posada. I then tell him not to worry. I’m sure Jeter will have a bang up year. Last year he was distracted by gift baskets. I tell him that I hope no one has a garage door opener in Yankee stadium next year because who knows how A-Rod’s new robotic body will respond.
He looks very, very confused.
“Oh, I like the Yankees, but you know, not really,” he says.
“What do you mean not really?”
“Do you like soccer?”
There is another pause. He’s really thinking.
“But you have a brain. I see you have a brain.”
“You see that?”
“Yes. It’s really soulful.”
Owen walks by again. He wants me. I can tell. But he’s a sadist. I see that now.
Long pause. Carlos doesn’t like the silence.
“I have tickets to the World Cup. I love soccer.”
“So you said.”
“I’m from New Jersey.”
It’s like he’s a doll with a pull string and catch phrases.
He tells me he is an engineer (really???) in Wilmington on business. And that Jersey is the “bomb.” I’m intrigued by this, because I haven’t heard that anything is the “bomb” since a 2004 frat party.
“So, can I like, get your number?”
No. But thank you for asking.
“Oh. It was an absolute pleasure meeting you. An absolute pleasure.” He stares. He’s not staring at my brain, people.
Really long pause.
“Okay then,” I say, scowling at Owen across the bar. Owen who is laughing. A lot.
“So. Do you not like soccer?”
What’s not to love about this place?