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The other day was the finals in the Copa Sudamerica, I believe. There’s a system of points which has nothing to do with goals, but has to do whether the team won, lost or tied, and whether they were home and away. Chile had three points against Ecuador which meant that Ecuador had to win (not lose or tie) in order for Chile to win.

I started seeing posts and tweets about the match late in the afternoon, and had a bit of an uh-oh moment. I had a going away party for one friend, and a birthday party for another, and due to timing constraints, I had to go to the downtown, close to my house party first, and the mid-Providencia one later.

This turned out to be a bit of a logistical error. The company was great, the diet sprite a fine vintage, and the eggplant sandwich always a delight. But when Chile won, everyone and their brother headed down to Plaza Italia, honking all the way, waving flags, and generally causing a commotion.

Had I leapt out of Liguria (of birthday party fame) and into a taxi, I might have made it home. The problem, you see, is Plaza Italia. Plaza Italia is the main confluence of several important streets, part of the main thoroughfare to get almost anywhere, and also where people go to celebrate (or protest) when the time is right. Providencia is east of Plaza Italia. And I live west of Plaza Italia.

Luckily, Abby, who has a lovely futon and a fairly friendly cat, was at the birthday, too, and let me crash in her living room while we waited for the mayhem to die down. It was a few hours of honking and screaming, and I’m sure everyone is very happy about Chile’s bid for soccer domination. I love seeing Chileans happy, though I have to say that sometime after midnight I could do without hearing them be happy.

Something interesting about the city disruption last night is that I was recently asked to vote in a citizen-convened vote about whether or not I thought people should be able to protest in my neighborhood. It’s a strange question, since I figure people can pretty much protest wherever they want, and at a few blocks from the Moneda, it makes sense to me that people will protest in my front yard (if I had a yard, but you know). I don’t know what they’ll do with the results, and in any case, I voted that yes, I consent to protests near where I live. And I signed a piece of paper and put my vote in a paper-wrapped cardboard box that I felt like I should pull a secret Santa name out of.

What I’d really like to see is a vote to ask whether I think hinchas (soccer fans) should take over the streets after a soccer game and make it impossible to move around the city safely. Here the answer is no. But nobody asked me. And I had a lovely overnight on Abby’s futon with only the occasional wakeup from her cat Charlie, and I ran into an acquaintance on my way out of the building in the morning. Because that is my life in Chile

Compare and contrast. The name of the game. Always.