The underdog always has an underdog

Posted on May 22, 2007


I don’t give a shit about football, but still felt very mild satisfaction when Zamalek beat Ahly for the first time in forever last night, just because I’m dead sick of hearing how the Ahly team craps gold bricks. I wouldn’t have even noticed the entire deal, however, if I hadn’t chanced to be out at Sandmonkey’s impromptu birthday at Sequoia. The place was furnished with several large screens and many more Zamalek fans than one would have dreamed existed were in attendance. Even at my table, sentences were being constantly interrupted by my interlocutor shouting at the screen and waving his or her arms. I confined my remarks at these times to “hey, he’s not bad looking”. Hair was flapping about in waves, and orders arrived with all the speed of an oncoming snail. I contemplated leaving and going to join what Sandmonkey termed my “first tier” friends at the Borsa, where the TVs are smaller making it easier to talk to people, but subsided into my seat at the prospect of not finding a ride home from there, as my friends are almost uniformly car-less.

This proved to be a very, very wise choice. Reaching the autostrad, Rona and I found the road a ta total standstill, idling cars being interspersed with guys (and one girl) waving the nondescript Zamalek flag and, occasionally, their shirts. A cacophony of beats in different pitches could be heard from every direction, while some creative individuals were wittily demonstrating their contempt for Ahly by using Ahly flags to wipe the windshields of cars. Pudgy children were gambolling with complete abandon on the roofs of moving vehicles, while I watched with bated breath for guts to spill on the road. Rona, who is paranoid about having someone try to open her car door, instructed me to lock my door. I normally scoff but I just did it, because the testosterone hung in the air as thickly as the car fumes, and we soon attracted the attention of a roving crowd of males who shouted at Rona to beep her horn, and demanded to know whether she supported Ahly or Zamalek. When she refused to beep and asked whether it was any of his business who she supported, one shithead called her a “labwa” (a lioness – this is a serious insult in Egypt, because lionesses copulate every 15 minutes for three days and nights when in heat, with as many as five lions. You know how biological imperatives to get the best genetic material reflect badly on an animal’s character, and that of any another other species that might chance to be around. Male inadequacy also diminishes a female’s moral fibre). Thirty guys or so then gathered around Rona’s car, climbing all over it and pressing themselves to the windscreen, trying to open our doors, drumming violently on the windows when the doors wouldn’t open, and rocking the car from side to side. I feared they were going to break the windows. “What do you want!” Rona shouted, futilely of course.

“Just run them over, press on the gas!” I shouted over the din of drumming fists. She was reluctant to, as she didn’t want to kill anyone, thus taking the whole party to the police station, and anyway she couldn’t see through the five-deep men whether the road had cleared in front of us. But she did hit the gas, in response to my repeated entreaties, and the little thugs cleared away after a good bumper blow to the kneecaps, and we sped away hearing muffled profanities in our wake, car windows smudged with greasy hand prints.

I have once before experienced a celebratory street party in Calgary after a hockey win by the Calgary flames. Though dangerously inebriated, the crowd behaved peaceably in the street that had been specially cleared of cars and manned with police before the game in case Calgary won. No one accosted me or my friend, though we were standing on that street in full view and probably scantily dressed (and she has stupendous knockers). In fact, several girls flashed the crowd and, as far as I could see, met with no harm. I’m just glad I didn’t take a taxi home – taxi windows don’t usually shut and their doors spring open at a glance.

Posted in: gender