Am I in Heaven?
I awoke this morning and heard the waves pummeling the shore like tiny fists rapping against a large mahogany door. Outside on my balcony, the eastern sun rose from its nightly hibernation to shower the sand and surf with a gorgeous pink and orange hue. A mimosa neatly sat on an invory table next to a plate of still steaming huevos rancheros. All of this was nice, but then I grabbed the morning paper.
HEADLINE: “Bayern Munich Plays Zenit to 1-1 Draw”
This was not the sports section either. This was the front page. Confusion gripped me and I had to take a large swallow of mimosa before I could read on.
But sure enough, it seemed every page of this newspaper had soccer news and information. The sports section was dominated by soccer. Sure, baseball, tennis, golf and assorted other games were represented, but the beautiful game was the focus.
“How strange”, I mumbled. “There’s usually not even MLS box scores in the paper, maybe the public is finally coming around and demanding soccer information.”
After shoveling down the huevos rancheros, I came in off the balcony and plopped down in a plush king size bed. I reached for the remote, and when I clicked the 52 inch LCD flat screen TV to ON, a gaping mouth and incredulous stare once again consumed my visage.
There was soccer on. It was not even 8:00 a.m. on a Friday, and soccer was on television. “Surely, this must be some sort of special event”, I muttered. Had I forgotten about an important World Cup qualifier? Perhaps the UEFA Champions League had been forced to reschedule a match due to inclement weather?
No, it was just two teams, neither of whose name I had ever heard, battling on a dark pitch in front of a sparse, but engrossed audience. I too became fascinated by the match, despite the fact I knew nothing of the teams or the players. It was a well-battled match between two teams so even you couldn’t have separated them with the jaws of life.
When the match ended, another one immediately began. And then another. And then another. Soccer was apparently on all day every day. The sun-drenched beaches and the glistening bodies that inhabit it were going to have to wait. Another pitcher of mimosas was ordered to my room.
Between matches, I flipped to ESPN, who was reporting on nothing but soccer it seemed. Sure, some highlights of Federer pummeling an opponent like the waves against the shore were slipped in. But soccer was King.
I knew I had to be dreaming. I avoided anything and everything that could wake me from this beautiful dream.
A knock rapt the door. I rose to receive my guest, a small woman with a pitcher of mimosas and fresh grapefruit. Once inside, she asked whether I was enjoying the game. When I told her yes, she said she would send someone up with a gift shortly. I thanked her but told her I could not accept any token from her except gratitude for the tip I was about to bestow on her. She smiled, poured me a glass, and left quietly. I returned to my soccer orgy.
Fifteen minutes later, I heard another knock. This one was more ominous though, like the ones in the movies that seem to echo in the listener’s soul. Bang… Bang… Bang. My gift had arrived.
When I opened the door, a large man with a cartoonish mustache presented me with an envelope. He said nothing, so naturally neither did I. I returned to my balcony and sat back down in a hammock-like swing. I opened the curious packaging and found two tickets to a soccer match tucked inside. In shock and feeling that I was surely being had, I called the front desk to ask who I owed. “No one”, a voice replied. “The tickets are complimentary, so enjoy them.”
By now, the sun was directly overhead the seemingly endless ocean. Beautiful girls lay around the pool below me browning like exotic chocolate treats. I heard a band in the distance. They were playing something I had heard before but could not place.
And then it hit me.
I wasn’t dead and I certainly wasn’t in Heaven.
I was in Mexico.
And now, I am thinking of never leaving.