June 9th, 2006

me: ooh!

It begins.

It's 1:15 PM on opening day of the 18th World Cup of football. It's hot and sunny and the air crackles. Acres of tender white skin exposed in the local park have begun to redden. Instead of the usual desolate assortment of terminal drunks and tourists, the pubs are filling with people of every socioeconomic class, skiving off work to get sauced in preparation for the evening's festivities. Everywhere I turn I see England flags flying from balconies, cars and awnings. A man has wrapped a cast on his arm with orthogonal red strips of velcro. Another has painted the rearview mirrors on his red moped with St. George's cross. A sign in a business window reads "Cum [sic] on you plucky English heroes!!!"

More than one and a half billion people are expected to watch the opening game. Some of the rest seem to take pride in deriding the spectacle, in being jaded and weary or in being just plain uninterested. I don't have any great passion for football but I think I prefer to take unironic part in the excitement and the festive atmosphere.