Monday, February 05, 2007

The Wrong Team

I am a man of serious nocturnal habits when it’s the night of the Super Bowl.

The Bears are being turned over by the Colts and I’m getting progressively drunk. I’m not a heavy drinker but for big sporting occasions I buy myself a bottle. Tonight’s deal is a shot of whisky each time Chicago lose points. My Romanian conscience has gone to bed. She hates sport and doesn’t understand drinking. Some might say it’s one of her virtues. I say it’s an inconvenience.

So that’s why I find myself sitting here by the window overlooking Bangor, which sits below me, silent but for dogs who seem to share my insomnia. Their shadows pass through the sodium yellow glare of street lamps. The whole town is dosed in the glow like petrol. I have a feeling that a spark could set this place alight. I also feel like being that spark. Or maybe a dog will set it off. Dogs must get tired of the same routines. I know I do.

I made it as far as the fourth quarter before my mind began to unwind on its thread. It’s been a high scoring game and not for sober minds. It was never meant to be Chicago’s night but now I want them to defy the odds just to save me from myself and this bottle. The clock runs down. I get more drunk. More points go the Colts’ way and I look to the windows where I see myself cast onto the night. I’ve looked better but so has the night. In the morning, it will be a thing we will both work hard to should forget.

How could I have got it all wrong?

And how could half the country get it so wrong about Tony Blair?

Like a football statistic that helps you make a bad bet, 56% of the country think that Blair should leave government now. It’s not a figure worth quoting. Would any gambler take odds so close to even money? And why do the public think their opinion matters? Don’t they understand the rules of the game? Don’t they know about the rules of all games?

Blair loses like Chicago. There’s the same amazement of that something so bright could end so dismally. But that’s just part of the game, the old game. All politicians live by a clock which begins to count down the moment they arrive in office. It’s not for the public to say when it will end or whether he get overtime. You wouldn’t poll a crowd to see if a match should end at half time. So why think it significant to politicians? The game plays out, quarter by quarter. That’s the way it’s always been.

And now the Bears have lost…

I’ve turned off the TV and I am now gazing out over the harbour. Lights are strung out along the coast. Another day lies somewhere at their end. I would reach out and begin to reel it in but I know that’s not how this game is played.

Because there’s always a game and there's always another clock counting down somewhere.

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