My son Chris and I spent most of yesterday traveling back and forth to Santa Barbara. I was getting a little stir crazy with the heat, and I was longing to have some tacos and other goodies at La Super Rica. Plus, the L.A. Galaxy, whom Chris and I maniacally support, were playing a "friendly" match against the Mexican club Cruz Azul at U.C. Santa Barbara. So we made a day of it. Here is my account of our day in, suitably, eleven parts:
I. Bad Start I had trouble going to sleep the night before, and didn't conk out until 2:00 am. I awake unexpectedly at 6:00 am because my wife forgot to shut off her alarm when she got up with the cat at 4:45 am. I also have a bad headache due to the eating chocolate pudding the day before.
II. It Gets Better The headache dissipates and I have a couple of good hours of study. I find an amazing insight into Isaiah 43:10. This part of Isaiah just gets better and better.
III. Better Still Lunch is at The Stand on Ventura Blvd in Encino. The Big Blue Dog is a consistent winner. However, while we eat we watch the TV as the Dodgers' day disappears faster than our hot dogs.
IV. And Even Better Chris burned a cd for the trip from an iPod playlist. I like everything on it - this may have been his intention, he's a nice boy.
V. But Then, A Turn for the Worse We arrive in Santa Barbara with a few hours to kill. We decide, hoping against to hope, to go see The Lady in the Water. I've liked Shyamalan's movies in the past. I even liked The Village, and couldn't understand why people didn't realize it was about 9/11. And of course the acting was bad. The people in the story were all playing parts, badly. That was the point of the movie! Anyway, I knew this one could be bad, but I'm telling you, this is the first time I've been in a theater where the audience literally snorted as the movie ended. I mean, I saw a blaxploitation film at a revival house when I was in college, and about 30 minutes into the film, a large African-American man with an afro stood up, shouted "What the fuck is this shit?" and threw his popcorn at the screen. That was pretty impressive. But the unified disdain shown by the audience to The Lady in the Water was something I'd never seen before. Later over dinner, Chris and I were trying to clarify a number of plot points. Several times he asked, "Why did so and so do thus and such?" and the only answer I could give was "Because the plot needed it to happen."
VI. And Even Worse We drive over a few blocks to have dinner at La Super Rica and they are closed! I mean, this was the real underlying purpose for the trip. Then Chris nicely reminds me, "But Dad, you know they're closed on Wednesday. Remember when we planning to come here last July? You made sure we didn't go on Wednesday because you knew they were closed." I'm sure he's right, and the worst part is that I have no memory of having known this. I mean, I remember going last summer and I even remember what I had, but I don't remember the knowing about the Wednesday part. This is very troubling.
VII. The Nadir: wherein I experience for a moment what it is like not to be white by being in a place where being white is not an advantage We pop into a soccer shop down the street to get tickets for the match and to maybe buy a t-shirt for me because I was unaccountably wearing Cruz Azul colors. (I'm in a blue and white striped Ashworth golf shirt) As we walk in, the two clerks seem to rather pointedly ignore us. The shop is nicely appointed, but with only European and Mexican league shirts - no American or MLS gear, with the exception of a large rack of Chivas USA stuff. When we step up to the counter, we're waiting behind a guy buying tickets and trying to decide if he should buy a Barcelona kit for his young son. But while we were waiting, another Mexican guy walks into shop and is immediately greeted by the second clerk who comes from across the store and sells him tickets for the match while we stand there. After he sells the guy the tickets, this second clerk walks quickly away from the counter and returns to the far of the shop while studiously avoiding looking at us. Finally, the man with the Barca shirt is done, and the clerk at the counter asks me what we want. I tell him we want tickets for the match and he rather begrudgingly sells them to us. Out on the sidewalk I tell Chris, "Well, we just experienced for a moment the kind of thing blacks and Latinos get all the time."
VIII. A Turn for the Better We arrive at UCSB and parking is only $2. (It's $15 at the Galaxy's stadium. That's why I usually park on the street) We take a stroll across the beautiful campus and arrive at the very nice stadium and watch the teams warm up.
IX. A Quick Reversal The game begins and Cruz Azul are all over the Galaxy. The G's should should have had a penalty, entirely against the run of play, in about the sixth minute, but other than that, the first half was all cementeros. The Galaxy back line looked especially overmatched. Right back Chris Albright was sleep walking through the match while newcomer Kyle Veris looked like a boy among men. Our goalkeeper Steve Cronin made a number of amazing saves, he was clearly the Galaxy's man of the match.
X. My Hopes are Raised, Only to Be Dashed The G's start much more brightly in the second half and equalize after a few minutes on a beautiful finish from Kyle Martino after a nice build up. Sadly Cruz Azul score twice more in quick succession. Then the G's pull one back on a nice header from Chris Albright on a corner which the refs, after some discussion and an apparent decision to ignore the laws of the game, decide to disallow. Grr. The G's give up one last goal on a corner to reach the final score.
XI. And then this morning... I awake with a stye in my eye.