So I called up my friend Kiljoong to ask him if he wanted to go see Volver
, because it's Almodóvar and I like Penelope Cruz when she's acting in Spanish. (For some reason her voice grates on me something awful when she's speaking English. I realize that I am insane.) He doesn't pick up so I leave him a voice mail saying, "Blah blah blah Century Centre Thursday or Friday would work but if that's no good for you Sunday would be fine too." (As I'm typing this I'm realizing that tonight wouldn't
have worked, actually, but it turns out not to be relevant.)
A couple of hours later he calls me up to tell me he's sick as a dog.
"Do you have finals?"
He laughs. In all the time I've known him, the only time Kiljoong ever gets sick is during finals week. Like clockwork. He put so much pressure on himself and works so hard that he invariably develops a debilitating cold. Since he's been in school for most of the time I've known him--he's working on his PhD now--it's become a regular cycle.
No, he tells me, he doesn't have finals. Furthermore, Thursday and Friday are no good for him, and am I SERIOUS ABOUT SUNDAY?!?!?
". . . oh." The Super Bowl.
"What the hell is wrong with you?"
I start laughing, which is perhaps unwise. "I don't pay attention to football, you know that."
"Dave. It's the Bears. You live in Chicago."
Both good points. And of course I see the Bears stuff every day on the TV and the newspapers and the streets and OK everywhere. But it's part of a reality adjacent to my own.
Kiljoong tries to talk me into going to some Super Bowl party with him.
"I wasn't planning on watching it."
"Don't you watch the commercials?"
"Sometimes? I guess? If they put them online."
He sighs, and asks me if there's a showing before the game. I ask him what time the game starts. This sets off a whole new round of apoplexy. I can hear him shaking his head at my apathy.
"If there's a 12:00 show or something, I'll go. But you'll have to understand if I'm tense."
"Think of me as a calming influence, since I'm not worried about it."
"You're indifferent. It's not the same thing."
Suddenly it clicks. "Oh my god! That's why you've got a cold! You're so stressed about the game that you've made yourself sick!"
"You're pathetic. God, what if it was the Cubs?!?"
"If it was the Cubs," he says patiently, "I wouldn't even be speaking to you."