Anthrax Writing Week #3: Int'l Relations

I would also like to announce that thanks to my friends, who infected me with the World Cup bug, I did my part on Sunday afternoon to improve international relations.Blame the summer storm, the kind that often brew up here in the late afternoons, pinging the chimney with fat droplets and making Edmund suspect that the sky, really and truly, is falling. I'd settled in with my knitting and had intended to wait until the second half to go to the gym to watch France-Italy, but partway through the first half, the storm grew so fierce that our satellite reception went kaput.

To which I muttered, "Fine, I'll get soaked in the name of soccer!" and put on my shoes. I accepted my fate, believing that my fate intended me to get thoroughly and utterly doused between my car and the gym, guaranteeing me a thirty-minute stairmaster stomp with soggy gym socks. (Mmmm, consonance.)

However, Fate is female, and has quite the sense of humor. Yes, she intended me to pick up a good, solid drenching on the way to the gym's front double doors, but there was a reward there for my pains.

There are four televisions in the cardio area of my 'home' gym. The one on the far left is technically closest to the stairmasters, but is difficult to see unless you crane your head back. I was pleased to see when I got in that the match was already on that television, and a couple of regulars (whom, from long observation on my part, I know don't care what's on) were on various other cardio machines.

The stairmaster on the left was taken, and the man who was there was a regular, and clearly engrossed in the match. I asked the gym owner to turn another TV channel for me (because again, I am 5'1" and cannot reach the damn thing). As he did, the man on the stairmaster to my left turned to me with this blinding large smile and said …

"You like ze soccer, yes?" in this blindingly Hot And French accent.

Dammit, I thought. I finally grok the Hot And French thing. I've admired you from afar for how many months and never picked up the Hot And French thing? Kittynitwit, you're slipping… Quick, say something intelligent. Defy the Southern-redneck stereotype. Quick! Do you have ANY soccer knowledge at all? Dammit!

"I'm still trying to figure out how in the world France managed to beat Brazil. Did you see that goal?"

I kid you not, Soccer Guy lights up. It's as if I'm the first person he's met in the past decade who is from the same home planet as him. We talk about the unlikelihood of the French win over Brazil. The woman on the recumbent bike, also a long-term regular, chimes in about that morning's Wimbledon men's final and we talk about how Federer destroyed Nadal, and all the while I'm trying not to glance to my left and telegraph "Oh my God, my hotness just went up at least +4 just because you're talking to me."

It turns out he's from Montreal. To which I said, "How in the world did you end up here?"

His response was fast, full of delightfully oddly accented phrases, and mostly incomprehensible due to the fact that he was practically at a dead run on the stairmaster.

We watched the match, sweating companionably, occasionally commenting.

When stoppage time for the first half ended, he planted his feet with a great sigh and said, "There. I was waiting for that."

I turned, and smiled, and said, "Quick shower, head home, watch the second half?"

He nodded, with a wide, genuine smile. "I like hockey better … but zis will do." He wiped down the machine, gathered his things, and extended his hand. "Your name ees?"

"Amy. Yours?"

[completely incomprehensible syllables with gargled r's galore]

Right. Hot French-Canadian Guy it is.

The wet socks were worth it.