Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Night on the Ghost Town

scha·den·freu·de Pronunciation[shahd-n-froi-duh] –noun
satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else's misfortune.

Forgive me for my fleeting moment of joy in the outcome of Monday night's college football championship. It is not happiness based in my team winning but satisfaction in the hometown team losing. And not just losing but getting the stuffing knocked out of them. I didn't imagine that Ohio State would lose, let alone get stomped, but that's what happened. Yes, I know I'm bad for relishing a loss that will send area residents into depression, but it's a little comeuppance for the smug attitudes and in-your-face fandom that has crossed from local pride and support into bullying. I'll be curious to find out in the morning if the riot police had their hands full in reaction to the game. Sadly, that's not a joke.

Believe it or not, but I used to be a fan. I probably still would be if I didn't live in the hothouse that is OSU football in Columbus, where fandom is more like being in a cult than having something fun to follow on fall Saturdays. I know, not all of the fans are itching for a fight if someone here dares to wear an opposing school's garments. Not all of them base interior decoration decisions on Ohio State's colors and schedule weddings around the games either. That doesn't matter. I reached my breaking point with all things Buckeyes because it seems to me that being a fan has been turned into a club to bludgeon those who aren't. Even if it's "teasing", particularly in relation to anything Michigan-related, much of it strikes me as hostile and unfriendly. Is it any wonder that a buckeye is a poisonous nut?

So that's why I'm feeling schadenfreude regarding the previously undefeated team's tumble in the only game that ended up mattering.

The mall was not a hot spot, which was precisely the reason I chose to go there. Other than those lonely workers manning their stores, there weren't many people there. I bought the latest copy of Entertainment Weekly--I really ought to renew my subscription--got orange-flavored chicken and mixed vegetables at Panda Express, had a small cafe au lait (a bad move on my part at night but oh well), and watched The Departed.

The coffee shop/lounge switched the in-house music to the game audio, but by that time I needed to get to the theater. Except for bored employees standing around, no one was in the lobby. Five people were in the auditorium for my film. I heard somebody yelling the O-H-I-O cheer in the hallway--nobody closed the doors to the auditorium--but that was the extent of my exposure to the game. The interstate was as barren as the mall, which made a short drive a tad faster.

I got home and was again perturbed that my parking spot was taken. I thought it was odd that the building seemed unusually quiet when I entered. I checked a sports site and was stunned to read that Florida was walloping Ohio State. Perhaps I could have stayed home after all, although it was sort of a relaxing night out anyway. I didn't think about work or my obnoxious neighbors but read about the upcoming season of American Idol--I got hooked last year--and saw a terrific movie.

I would have been free to knit in public without any embarrassment, but I'll have to do it some other time. I had the dishcloth in my bag, but I was content to read.

Speaking of knitting and embarrassment, a check of my site traffic log revealed that someone found this site by entering "embarrassed knitting" into Google. My first knitting lesson was the top search result. Let the record show that I am not embarrassed, although I am gunshy about sharing the secret with everyone.

Next...my Knit Picks Sierra scarf.

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