Hey. It seems very important to me to record this interaction. Allow me to set the scene.
It was a cold Thursday night. I went out with a new friend to see a small-time musical act, drank some beers and so on. I’d go more into detail but the meat of the story is not this part.
so I ride my bike across DC at about 2AM to get home after an extremely satisfying evening of good food, good music and good company. But as I journey homeward, my belly begins to cry for the 711 Ridiculous Notfood. I cannot resist. I fight it, but at the last moment, I guide my trusty late 1970’s peugeot bicycle to the left, at the crucial turn. Mere seconds later I arrive at the 711 and lock up my bike.
As I am locking I notice a latino dude, with an all white soccer ball beginning to bounce and kick and dribble and so on.. the soccer ball. Honestly, perhaps he was a magician. Other wise, perhaps I am inextricably drawn to this particular thing. Because I could not help but immediately become engaged in his soccer volley. I could not even take off my bike helmet before I had engaged myself in a volley of the soccer ball. we kicked back and forth in the freezing night of mount pleasant street, not even knowing the cut of one another’s jibs.
Momentarily, a small group of annoying people very much like myself, who just happened to not be supernaturally transposed into the reality that I and the mystical soccer hero existed in, appeared. They were somewhat in the way. They did not respond well to my cries for ‘lil’ help’. One dude sort of did, but it was clear that he was simultaneously scoffing at his own glee. It was truly disheartening. At one point I nailed the ball with my foot, and it glided with ease (and great amounts of luck) right between the bloated heads of 2 of the un soccerificed gringos. I let them know immediately that “that was not skill, it was luck, and I am totally sorry.” but what I really cared about was this kick-ass stranger who had haplessly engaged me in one of my favorite activities: the shameless use of one’s feet and other not-hand body-parts, to alter the area-code of a soccer ball.
After some 4 minutes, I conceded. I could run and kick no longer, and closing on the stranger I saw that it was fit to make use of my very sparse spanish to communicate. Salvador and I chatted very briefly before he asked me if I’d buy him a drink. I said, ‘Yeah c’mon. Whatever you want, I’ve got it.” We paraded into the 711, all 2 of us.
I bought him a 2 liter of mountain dew or something like it, and a small bag of chips. A small, small, price to pay for an international soccer volley. Tonight, communication won. Humanity won. Soccer won. 711 won. I have had lots of people ask me for money in DC, or even for food. Never, ever, have I been more stoked to hook a brother up, because this guy became my buddy in just a few minutes, by choosing a little soccer play as an initial means of communication. If I see that dude again, I will totally be like, “Que pasa Salvador. Gracias mas por el futbol. Mi gusta, gracias.”