Monday, August 10, 2009

The jumbled mess of summer

That's what I've been reduced to. From mid-May straight through to this day when we stand at my favorite spot, the much discussed precipice of the unknown that we're about to hurtle ourselves into, I've been reduced to a jumbled mess. Had I hair enough to tussle (short as it is), it would be tussled. Were I able to capture coherent and fluid thought, you'd have heard it - or at least read it. Every thought, pursuit or action through this torturous period stands as a gate that has crashed down in front of me before the date hits. Before, with trembling anticipation, I finally get to set the alarm.

Each task is an interruption. A mirage. A senseless motion that offers no fulfillment. Read the news. Search the rumors. Scour the exhibition reports. Debate strategy, formation, attack, defense, scheduling. Debate quality, expectations, chances, truth. Fool yourself. Breed confidence. Admit hubris. Remember that day, that goal, the pass, the cross, the save. Remember the comeback, the dropped points, the substitution, the clean sheet. Remember the result. Forget the result. Worry. Hope. Convince yourself.

Readers read. Writers write. Painters paint. Performers perform. The imaginative create, search, share, express, exhibit, desire ...

Fans of the football do all of it. At the same time. For 90 minutes at a pop.

When it's taken away? That's what others embrace as summer, isn't it? Supposedly it's something to take advantage of, summer. Especially in our corner of the world when we've nary a whiff of warmth or a reflection of sun for seven months of the year.
Summer, to this distracted mind, mutated into a series of notes. Texted to my email from a traffic jam. Voice memos recorded on my phone.
Sticky notes that cover my desk, my dinner table, my bookshelves, my dashboard. Napkins pulled out of the laundry. "Suffocated," reads one. "Ricky Hatton. There's a KO. There's a sound beating. We got both," reads another. Some unintelligible, "The shin burned and ravaged ..." others leaving a clear trail, "Evra's comments, Ronaldo's face."

Too many, far too many, growing from that ultimate annoyance. A team with a style - style beyond mere football, style as an essence of life, style you can't help but be attracted to. A team you hope never meets your girlfriend - sure as you are in your insecurity that they'll just take her, that they'll win. "Painfully sick of Barca representing everyone's dream move." "LAPORTA! Damn LaPorta!" "We won't sell him, he's an Arsenal player." "It was an interview trap!" "What is he supposed to say?" "He's from there, he'll go back ... fine!" "No way are we selling him!" "Yet..." "We only just signed him!" "Is Benzema good enough? He may not be good enough." "Is Arshavin the Premier League's best? Who else? Gerrard, Torres ... who else?"

It's what I've been reduced to. Violently trying to shake the muck out of head so I can focus and get past the obsessive search for proof that I'm right. So I can enjoy it. So I can start again. It's nature, it's life, it's art. And it's starting again.

Mmm, that's right. That old man, the wiley old obstructionist finally got off his ass, rubbed his calloused hands together and ripped that curtain back on Sunday for the Charity Shield.

He's letting us, against all of his spitful will, get on with it, isn't he? So yeah ... that look in my eyes? Purpose. That bounce in my step? Anticipation. That grin that just flashed across my face? Confidence.

Arsenal kickoff against Everton on Saturday. Get some batteries for your alarm.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

very nice... a tingler, if you will. i do ask, however... who ARE those three people standing in your bedroom??