We had literally just paid for our food. It was some takeout place without any seating close to our hotel that the front desk had recommended as the only place still open. I walked outside to enjoy the crisp evening D.C. air, quite different from the still-tepid Arizona evenings we had just left. Next door to the take-out place was a lively dive full of guys deeply invested in the soon-to-end Redskins/Giants game on Monday Night Football. The neon sign in the glass glowed "open." I told my buddy we had made a serious mistake on our dinner choice. Tyler replied, "I already paid, man." "Go and get your money back," I pushed. He said I was more the type to go insult the nice woman behind the counter and cancel our order. It turns out he was right.
Inside the new place, we settled down to a few beers and ordered some finger foods to watch the rest of the football game. Nobody cared that Robert Griffin III was playing a below-average game. You could tell these guys had watched this team before without a good quarterback and now with one - a seriously good one — he would get a pass. The Redskins converted on third down. RGIII could take a knee. The room went nuts.
It was a friendly place; the locals allowed us to be fans with them. The owner came up and brought a little extra food on the house. All told, it was a great American night: Friendly football fans at their favorite neighborhood dive, where everybody knows your name, treating the new guy like your childhood pal. You could imagine the Founding Fathers smiling down upon us.
Except Tyler and I were likely the only native-born dudes in the room. Everybody was cheering on the Redskins in Amharic while we ate injera, tibs, and wat with our fingers and drank St. George Lager. A picture of Haile Selassie and JFK together in a town car framed the wall. I love tibs.