Monday, February 09, 2009

Dispatches from afar

Machu Pichu, Peru - 10:36 PM February 6, 2009 

I met a Toronto guy today. Another one. This place is lousy with them. You wont be surprised when I tell you Kevin's another expat Leafs fan. He said he was from Collingwood, I think. A high school history teacher. He's taking his sabbatical, “Nothing keeping me in the city these days, you know?” He’s been knocking off landmarks all over the world. He just spent a week in Rio. Europe before that. Saw some churches. He sold his season tickets to finance everything. Heard that one before too. Those tickets were in the family for years and years, he said. Him and his brother, they split the proceeds, split town, and then split up in Berlin. Kevin lowers his voice, “he was into this weird sex thing.”

I try to change the subject, put the conversation somewhere safer. “You hear Blake is doing good these days?” Kevin’s eyes cloud over, he shows a little discomfort, but then he shakes his head and he’s smiling amicably again. “Sorry?” “Jason Blake? He leads the team in points actually, and yeah I know that’s not saying-” “Oh you’re talking about h-h-” “Hockey, yeah.” He looks like he is sweating, though it is early morning on the summit and the air is cool. He runs a hand through his thinning hair. He stammers, “I haven’t been following the uh, the uh…” “Not too many bars in Lima showing Hockey Night, right?” I laugh.

Kevin apologises, makes an excuse. He needs to find his tour guide. “But it was good seeing a friendly face.” His eye is twitching. He turns and leaves. “I’m sorry,” I want to shout. There is a reason men search out ruins built on the world’s rooftop. There is a reason men drown themselves in bizarre carnal acts. Who was I to pack his troubles into a novelty tin of peanuts? Nobody who runs that far needs those snakes in his face.


Chemmy said...

Haha. I ran into a bunch of Leafs fans while in the Bahamas before Christmas.

I got a bar to put the Leafs-Pens game on TV and slowly but surely a crowd of people in Leafs hats and tshirts gathered on a bar on the sand, drinking cheap beer and cheering as the sun set.

floridaLEAF said...

We are everywhere. I was on Zanzibar Island off the coast of Africa last summer and the couple next to our table showed up the first night for dinner dressed in matching Leafs T's. I was shocked. I can't find anyone to talk hockey with in Florida, but I travel halfway around the world...