IT’S a horrible, gut-wrenching feeling, isn’t it?
A day that started well (kids ate their toasty soldiers over the Barca v Osasuna highlights) has stumbled and stuttered towards its midpoint, and shows every sign of trundling down the proverbial gurgler before it’s over.
Sometimes, if the kids are good of a weekend, we’ll take them for a McDonalds and maybe even a trip to Toys-R-Us for some Lego.
Today they’d been extra good.
We got them Captain Jack Sparrow.
But then, of course, life started throwing spanners in the proverbial works. In fact, life being quite particular at times, it placed a spanner right slap bang in the middle of our motor’s electrics and instantly rendered it a two tonne paperweight.
When kick off’s 1.30pm, the Regiment has to make double time back to the barracks after the 55 Burger and Wedges.
But today, life’s interjection confined us to our foxhole while we waited for reinforcements – in our case, a man in an orange boiler suit driving a modified transit van… and while he worked his magic as best he could, I knew in my heart of hearts I was gonna miss kick off.
Oh yeah, and the car – it’s never easy feigning interest in the immediacy of life’s little trials when you know the game’s started and you’re missing it.
Sneak a peak at the phone…
“We’re all over the place”, the Twitterati are telling me. Knuckles clench a little. Masseters tighten.
“I’ll get it started” says the the boiler suit and I grimace a feigned show of gratitude and nod in reply… we’re driving it down to get it fixed. Only it won’t be fixed too quickly.
Back in the car. Radio on.
1-0 to the home side and Agger’s in some kind of thorassic distress.
“Urrrhhhh!” I exclaim.
Radio off. Wifey rules.
And so it goes on – drop the kids home, drive the heap down to more men in boiler suits who are mostly off for the day. Munch-style facial despair, walk home.
By this time, of course, we’re down to nine men and I’m wondering what kind of karmic credit I’m supposed to have used up to deserve this showering of universal monkey spunk upon my balding pate.
The family’s stressed, the week’s a bogey and we’re scrambling to get up and down in two, but at the root of it all there’s the low relentless hum that is White Hart Lane. I switch it on. I settle in. My beloved arrives with a nice cup of tea. I smile. It’s genuine this time.
But there are no more smiles.
The rest of the game’s an enormous dogshit casserole and there’s nothing about it to redeem me from my gloom. Coates maybe? We’ve held them to… oh. Pepe fumbles it.
When Pepe’s fumbling your routine potshots to the feet of your oncoming disco mercenary, you know it’s time to shrug your shoulders and write a game off. I mean, I know it’s 3-0, and I know we’ve no prospect of asserting any kind of threat of our own, but shit happens from time to time, doesn’t it?
I have this welcome little subroutine that runs in my brain at times of stress, and thankfully it kicked in at 3-0. The breathing slowed, the pulse rate calmed, and the cup of tea tasted sweeter. Yes, this is a fucking nightmare… but it’ll pass.
Is it technically schizophrenic for your brain to chastise itself for wondering why a Spearing or a Jonjo’s aren’t on the park yet? Or why we’re now short a Meireles? Is it criminal for part of you to howl at the moon with every fresh knock Agger departs with?
Skrtel at right back? Adam with much to prove.
Another sip of tea and we’re back on track. Every now and again a manager and his team fuck up right in front of our eyes. For me, it seems like that happened today. I’m gonna have to sit and watch the game in its entirety a little later to make a proper assessment of things (not that my opinion really matters, I realise that – it’s just my little OCD habit) but I’m guessing right now there won’t be much in there to take heart from.
When that happens, we have to write it off and look forward to the day when things turn in our favour. And they will – of course they will.
You just hope that whoever’s keeping score upstairs remembers we’re due a few credits in the karma department – me, my motor, and my jaunty Red juggernaut.