Recklessly defensive

Martin Mack's
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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS I like to live like I like to love: with my back to the wall, my skirt hiked up, and my hair a mess. Come to think of it, I like to play ping-pong and soccer that way too, but rarely wear skirts to games.

In case they never see me again, my soccerish pals Alice Shaw the Person and Elbie wanted to buy me brunch after our 3-3 tie last Sunday. It was the first game of the new season, but I'm going to miss the second and third, as well as the fourth through tenth, and quite possibly all of next season, come to think of it, and the next after that. And ... hey, you never know.

When I went to Berlin last summer, there were isolated pockets of concern that I wouldn't come back. This time it's an all-out rumor. Everyone in the world, myself included, seems to think my return ticket might maybe be just for show. My friends who have actually met my Romeo, Romea, are convinced of it.

We make a damn good couple.

And I haven't been helping matters by quitting my nanny gigs, subletting my shack, and giving away half my things. I'm even selling my car, Alice Shaw the Car, to Alice Shaw the Person's little sister, which seems to make a certain sense, but certainly not financial sense. Funny, everything I have ever done that was by-the-books sound, advisable, or fiscally responsible has blown up in my face.

On the other hand, my soccer team won two championships in a row, and yes I am still thank you in love. But it's a tricky proposition, living insanely without going insane. It's like playing like I play: recklessly defensive. Sometimes you overcommit and slip and then your back-to-the-wall is skidding across the grass while the other team scores.

I wish I could take my soccer team to Germany with me, because they tend to pick me up, so to speak. But they're all Brazilian and would struggle with the language. And the weather. And the style of play.

Anyway, I'm unaccustomed to winning, and a little disappointed because all we get for it is a T-shirt and a team photo. Otherwise, it's almost the same as losing: you shake the other team's hands and say the exact same thing they say, "Good game, good game," and then you go get beers or pancakes or something, or both. I don't know, maybe there are other differences.

The real problem is that our league plays on Sundays, in the morning, so where are you going to get fed and watered afterward without having to wait in line?

Sports bars! It took me many years to figure this out, and then ... I didn't figure it out. Someone else did. I think it was Elbie's guy who suggested the Fiddler's Green after last game, and after this one I was hurrying down Haight Street to get in line at the Pork Store when I noticed Martin Mack's, other side of the street, a block or so away. And it was empty, even though there was football and soccer and more football on TV. It was a sea of empty tables in there, and, yes, they serve brunch.

So I called Alice Shaw the Person's cell phone and said, "Forget it. Forget the Pork Store."

And that was how I came to discover boiled bacon and cabbage. It was on the specials board, along with Guinness and beef stew, and I forget what else. Me and Elbie ordered those two things, and Alice got the Irish breakfast, and it was all a lot of too-much food for all of us, even though we'd just run around like we did.

Ten bucks apiece.

My dish came with unannounced but not unwelcome potatoes, mashed. The bacon scared me at first, not because it was Irish bacon, or boiled, but because it was smothered in this parsley-specked creamy white sauce that screamed mayonnaise. The waitressperson told me two or three times, no mayo, before I would taste it. And then I tasted it and it was awesome. If there was mayonnaise in it, I now love mayonnaise.

Stranger things have happened.

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