Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Football Crazies

I'm not a big fan of football. I've watched a few of the world cup matches. Some have been fair. Some have been foul. There have been a few perfect moments, like the goals in the last minutes of extra time of an otherwise boring Germany vs Italy match.

I had a fairly strong hunch France would win the match against Portugal tonight. I had to stop late at work so wasn't able to watch the game. It's a fairly horrible experience working late in 'the tower' when the weather's hot because they turn the air conditioning off at 7pm and it soon becomes more sweltering inside than it is outside.

When France scored their goal, many windows burst open in the tower block 100 yards away from the one I was in, and dozens of youths leant out from various flats, yelling and waving scarves. They seemed to be communicating their joy to other youths in another towerblock some distance away. I reflected on the fact that the only other occasion they would be likely to behave like that would be if their building caught fire.

I left the office before the match was over so as not to get too caught up in the aftermath celebrations. As my RER train sped towards the suburbs, suddenly we few passengers began to hear people in the stations we passed making a racket in any way they could: either beating a fist against a metal hoarding or simply shouting.

Cars started racing along the roads next to the train, beeping their horns, youths seated on the car window ledges and clinging to the roof or waving flags as the vehicles sped along.

By the time I reached my destination, roller-skaters and cyclists were taking to the streets. Cars were everywhere, hooting loudly, their passengers yelling their jubilation at any overworked fool who happened to be making his way home. By the time I arrived Chez Nous, I was relieved to be shutting my door on them all.

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