Sometimes things turn out right. I remember at college often listening to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones and thinking – yeah, things seem to turn out ok in the end. Now, I know that for some people things are shit. I’ve had my shit times, I guess I’m just a glass-half-full type of person most of the time. This last weekend was one of those times where over the last year things seemed to work against me some of the time but I ended up being fortunate. Let’s just make one thing clear though – I do not believe in karma or any such “the universe owes me bullshit”. All of this is the result of random happenings and any other such thoughts are pure folly. For the last weekend to happen to me, my niece had to have some rough times, but things are looking good for her now and I’m glad.
On Saturday I flew from LHR to LAX. The flight left around 1000 hours and eleven hours later landed at around 1300 hours local. The reason for this long flight was to meet the rest of the Fulham Five as we were going to have the [almost] ultimate Superbowl party. You see the story starts thirty years ago with a bunch of students watching the 1992 Superbowl in university halls. There were drunk promises to do this sometime in the future at a real Superbowl. This was the year it happened. This year also happens to be close to the half century celebrations for us all too. It seemed fitting for us to travel to be together.
I was collected from LAX by the guys in their Dodge Ram hired tanker and we headed to the LA Convention Center for the Superbowl experience. My fine for turning up to the party a day late was to wear a Britney Spears t-shirt, it could have been worse. At least I stood out among the NFL fans. Parking turns out to be reasonably tricky in the centre of LA, more so when you need half a block just to U-Turn the vehicle you are in! Beer. We wandered around the convention centre looking at the experience and taking photos. The shop was impressively big but, also at the same time, remarkably hard to find! There were lots of activities to take part in but queuing isn’t really the thing you want to do, so we chatted and wandered.
We then headed to the apartments in Marina Del Rey. Dinner was booked for 2000 and so there were deadlines to try and make through the weekend. A quick freshen up and change of clothes and we headed via Uber to Santa Monica and Del Frisco’s Grill. Dinner was nice and we discussed three times over what actually makes sport – sport. I don’t think we decided on an answer but that doesn’t matter I’m sure there’ll be other times when we can try and get a decent definition completed. The pier was then calling but the answer was very much a -NO – as it closed about ten minutes before we finished our dinner. By this time I had been up for a day and a half so I was kinda glad it was time to head back to the apartments and sleep. A slight aside is that Santa Monica Pier is the start of Route 66 so maybe someday I’ll have to drive the lot? or at least visit the other end of the road.
Sunday, SUPERBOWL SUNDAY, started with being surprised I actually slept around five hours and didn’t wake at three in the morning. There was definitely sunlight outside when I finally decided it was time to wake. Jase went for a swim in the Pacific and I paddled. We had a nice walk along to the marina breakers and watched some impressive sky writing. I knew that as long as I kept my caffeine levels high enough I should be good for most of the weekend and so I just kept drinking coffee. Turns out there’s quite a bit of helicopter action along the beach, not sure why, I tried not to answer questions that seemed a lot of effort. Breakfast was somewhere on W Washington Blvd, I’m not sure where, I just spent most of the weekend following and not making decisions – it’s nice to have a break from all that grown up stuff – thanks Mazz for being Dad.
Ades and I took the other three to the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood and then returned to Venice to find somewhere for us to watch the match. I had previously decided I would cheer for the Rams because Jase supports the Bengals but I knew that secretly I wanted the Bengals to win. I honestly didn’t mind who, it was amazing and coincidental that it was two of our teams that had made it to the World Championships. Adrian and I found the Venice Whaler and queued for a short while to get into their Superbowl party. Honestly this is where things can become a little blurry so the order of the following things might not follow an increasing time reference.
The bar was definitely very full of Rams fans and so we decided to cheer everything for the Bengals. There’s no point trying to endear ourselves to our ex-colony. When the Bengals ran on to the stadium Ades and I cheered loudly. The rest of the bar went quiet and a big guy called us out for not knowing anything about NFL. He chilled shortly later but it was funny. We ate a little food but mostly we seemed to drink. We did tequila shots with some people over from Wales, called and Aussie a cunt quite a bit and generally had an amazing time. I think we chatted to an American woman who claimed to be a scouser but I’m reasonably convinced she was slightly crazy. After the match the three who could afford tickets to the real game arrived and we chatted and had a good time.
I think Jase and I walked back to our apartment and slept, soundly. Monday started with another walk along the beach and a paddle. We saw dolphins from Venice Pier and I promised Jase that I wouldn’t propose to him. Happy Birthday Rich. Later we were picked up by Jase’s American dad and had lunch at Tony P’s dockside grill with his US family members. I had a quite large pasta dish. There’s never really the need to worry about a food order being enough to fill you in this country. After this it was time to head to LAX and think about the administration of the journey home. Jase blagged me into the business lounge and many chocolate brownies were eaten. We both avoided alcohol as there does come a point when you need to stop and start to get the liver and kidneys cleaning you out. The flight home was only nine hours and I managed to sleep for a fair bit of it.
This trip has been thirty years in the making and was a weekend of such relaxed fun I can’t think of anything I’d rather do. The relaxation that comes with being with close friends who you’ve known for thirty years even if you haven’t seen them for a few years is impressive. It was like we were all mentally nineteen again and just having a great time. I was very obviously the oldest person in the Venice Whaler for most of Sunday though. Not that I care. I had a great time.
This is communication number 2009. I should be writing stuff below this explaining some things that happened in that year. But, I shan’t sully this communication with irrelevant details.