Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2005 - 8:00 p.m.
The lazy diarist's way out: a slightly altered email to my parents
[Dear Honourable Mother and Father.]
[How are you. I am fine.]
[I went to a funeral this weekend for a local soundman who, though I never once saw him outside the confines of his establishment, I dearly loved. It was sad and strange.]
And then I went to the football game. Yes, THE football game. The football game/cultural event I've managed to avoid for the entire four years I've lived here. The Gamecocks v. the Crimson Tide. L and I parked at our band practice shed, about a mile and a half from the stadium and just outside the area of roads blocked to through traffic. It was evilly hot, so by the time we got to where some friends were tailgating, we both felt pretty awful. I drank a few Miller Lites (not High Lifes, mind you -- High Life is much too flavorful and indie rock for a football event) and ate some hot wings and a pimiento cheese sandwich.
There were thousands of people around us. Really -- the games are always sold out at 84,000, but almost that many people don't even go to the game -- they just hang out at the fairgrounds behind their cars with their portable grills and generator-powered TVs, playing the USC fight song over and over again. Everyone was wearing USC apparel of some sort...for some of the sorority girls, that meant a formal strapless dress in burgundy.
After a few hours of this, we went into the stadium. God, it was so hot, and though we had good seats, it was really steep and crammed -- like, your hip was pressing up against that of the stranger next to you. At first I was a little freaked out, but fortunately my companions let me in on another USC football tradition: smuggling minibottles of bourbon into the stadium (alcohol is banned) and dumping them into a large ($6.50) Diet Coke. M's pockets were full. This made the crowd seem much less alarming.
The game was awful, but I enjoyed myself. We left in the third quarter, as did many others -- atypical for South Carolinians, I'm told, but I think the heat took everyone by surprise.
I am attaching some pictures. One is of a guy sitting near us who saw me taking pictures and...well, you can see for yourself. Another is of a strange batch of flags someone had run up above their pickup encampment -- you'll notice one championing the Confederacy, and another, pirates.
I'm super-busy this week...I'll try to call this weekend.