Finally, the singles final. The moment we’ve all been waiting for, but first I had to get my extra ticket to Chris, who was meeting me outside the ticket office at noon. We got going late and got to the arena at 12:45. I was trying to text but there’s no service in da chube, so I was kinda freakin’ out when I got there and he was nowhere in sight. AFterall I was 45 minutes late and he probably gave up. I waited there, and mistakenly had let my dad take the phone inside the venue with him. There’s a strict, “No one can re-enter the venue policy, so it kind of turned into a game at that point; If I go in Chris can’t see the matches, but if I stay out I don’t see them either. The match starts in 10 minutes and Chris could be either inside or outside. I figured I’d wait ‘til 12:15 and then go in if he wasn’t there; I just wouldn’t be able to give him the ticket. While I waited I thought about the weather because I opened and closed my umbrella 4 times in that span of time. I thought about the crazy lady this morning with a cockney accent and pajamas, yelling at the bobbies who were holding an assorted bag of medicine up to another sketchy character, “Idiots! oll—idiots! I foind it ‘ilarious!” I thought about how I got a raging sore throat overnight, and a runny nose, and wondered how I’m supposed to blow my nose when there’s no garbage cans anywhere. Why did people have to bomb the tube? I thought about how yesterday during the great sports exodus once on the tube a girl and her boyfriend got on after me, and there wan’t much room, so I had to grab the rail behind the guy’s head so we were face to face with his girlfriend uncomfortably squished between us. Probably the most awkward situation I’ve been in, especially because they were both facing me. It was either that or fall down when the train started moving. I thought about how I wanted some water and burger kind was the closest thing last night, and some guy asked me for the time. I didn’t have a phone, watch, anything. “what do you mean you don’t have the time?” “I don’t have it.” “You must have the fucking time.” “Well you don’t have it either, so… take it easy.” I think he thought I thought he was sketchy, so I wasn’t going to ‘give’ him anything, so he got all pissy. “I can’t believe you don’t have the—there. (he looks at the clock) ten ‘til twelve; geez.” I thought about how this city is one of the oldest in the world, ie: most experienced, but it still has its drawbacks. I thought about how I learned that the moats around castles were a big toilet, and that’s why they were so effective. The whole town would just drop trou and shit in the moat, and no one wants to swim through poop water no matter how badly they want your town. I thought of how I was ready to go home even though I’ve had a lot of fun. I thought of a lot of things to distract me from the fact that I was missing this singles match. I asked a man with a watch, “Do you have the time?” “quarter past.” I could see it was 12:18. I waited 2 minutes and went it. The score was 17-12 lee Chong Wei was up. There were a lot of Malaysian flags waving, and they weren’t just waving for Lee Chong Wei, they were waving for the world. Mike Evans, the man we met at USA House, said we should start cheering ABC! ABC! “Anyone But China!” It was a valid point. It’s always China against the world, and China’s winning 3-0 right now, but they’ll win the doubles easy, so this match is our only chance—“ours” as in “the word’s.” If you haven’t watched this match, a rematch of the Beijing finals, you need to watch it from start to finish. It’s probably one of the best men’s singles matches ever played. They were throwing their entire existence into every point, and when Lin Dan won the final point he ran off the court in pure excitement and joy toward where we were sitting, and fell down in tears of joy with his coaches close behind. You always see those guys win and stay so composed, like it’s just their job, but this was the happiest I’ve ever seen anyone after a sports match of any sort, and it was awesome; but as happy as Lin Dan was, was how devastated Lee Chong Wei was. All he could do was sit on the floor and do his best to hold himself together. He just sat there and breathed, staring blankly out at the last four years, at second place, at nothing. His coaches stood over him, not picking him up, not consoling him—what could they say? That was the image of defeat, and it was sad. Just before this my phone was ringing during match point. Chris was almost here. There was no one working at the ticket office to make leaving the ticket possible for pick-up, so I went towards the exit and found a lady who said she could hand him the ticket if he came ‘round the back, but if I stepped past the threshold of the door I couldn’t be let in, because somehow stepping foot outside makes me a dangerous man. She wasn’t kidding either. A man in front of me made that mistake and took a step outside, turned around, and wasn’t let back in. It’s a bit over the top, but whatever. I was able to make the transfer and we got back to out seats right as the medal ceremony started. Lee Chong Wei was crying as the Chinese flag was raised and the anthem played. Watching badminton, you get to know the Chinese anthem pretty well. There were tow American guys, older, about 60 or so, sitting to the right of us. The one guy apparently runs Koch Industries, which manufactures parts and equipment and instruments for chemical engineering stuff or something. Apparently this guy’s like a rock star in the chem E world, so dad just had to turn to me and whisper “This guy runs Coke Industries.” Unfortunately “Koch” sounds just like “Coke,” so I thought he ran CocaCola and wanted to make some crack about Pepse stepping on their coat tails. Thankfully I didn’t. Apparently if you donate $300,000 or more to the USOC they’ll give you a pass to all the events. He flew his own jet to London. The doubles wasn’t much. Cai and Fu dominated like they have been for the last 4 years. The crowd wasn’t even rooting for the Danes that hard. We left right after the last point. China got 5 gold medals in badminton. Ugh. It was expected, but still disappointing.
We saw the Churchill War Memorial after. Churchill was an interesting guy. All the helpers that were still alive describe in this one video that working for him was similar to working for Dr. House. Well, they didn’t make that comparison—I did—but that’s what they were describing. Churchill had his own gimmicks for sloughing off incompetency, and there was a whole museum devoted to showing how witty and smart and awesome he was. He ran the whole war from underground. There was a 6 foot thick reinforced steel/concrete slab above the whole thing, but they knew one bomb could take out the whole thing. It was more for peace of mind than anything. It’s remarkable, though. After the war there was no need for the bunker, so they just left, and then rooms were just left as they are. Churchill always had a cigar, but actually inhaled it infrequently. If someone brought up a bad idea Churchill would pretend to be deaf so the guy would have to repeat his dumb idea so the whole room could hear and his confidence could vanish. He was running a war, but he and the rest of the Brits still had time for style. Suit, hat, cigar, and entitlement; he wore all these things proudly. Even the pigeons here are entitled. I woulda stepped on one earlier had I not stopped quickly. It was walking directly across my path, and usually these silly animals see you and turn tail, but something was fowl with this one, and it just kept on bobbing its little birdbrain head with its chin held high and kept on going. I wanted to punt the little pecker across the footway. I was happy when one tried to walk in front of me one day and then slipped and fell on its little pigeon ass. Heh heh… anyways—They watch House in the UK, so it doesn’t seem like a coincidence that they love Chruchill, or do I have it backwards? Either way, he’s a cool guy, and I’m just discovering this now because I don’t read books. Even amidst the daily bombings Churchill understood the importance of recreation. He always ended the night with a card game or a movie. I believe the queen at the time said “Keep calm and carry on,” which has become an internet meme now. It seems after the war Churchill spent a lot of his time coming up with good quotes. When you first walk into the museum it says on a wall, “We are all worms, but I believe I am a glow worm.”
We were tired of walking so me and Chris walked to a pub to watch the fastest man in the world. They’re really fast. Bolt won again, but the world got faster.