Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cold and gold

On Wednesday I went to the (now fortnightly) depression meet-up on Cuba Street. After an hour or so I'd had enough (Giuseppe's incessant talking, which he says relaxes him, didn't help). I felt and looked quite agitated. A shame, because I'd been feeling reasonably good over the previous week or so.

My car is now driveable again so I was able to see Julie on Thursday. She'd spent ten days in a rest home on respite care and was on a mini-high from meeting all those (sometimes odd) people there.

Martin, the tall long-haired bloke from the depression group, emailed me asking if he could come over to my place and either play squash or heads-up poker. I said I'd probably want some time to myself at the weekend (I'd seen a lot of people by my standards) but he was welcome to come round for a couple of hours. So yesterday he came over at four and we hit the squash court. He had an interesting playing style, regularly using the ceiling as a fifth wall, and inevitably he got the ball lodged in one of the light fittings. He then threw a basketball up there and we ended up with three balls, none of which was the one we started with. After the squash we got some curries from A Taste of India and washed them down with beers - Martin seemed quite unused to spicy food. The couple of hours well and truly over, I washed up, hoping that might give Martin a cue to leave. But his couple was obviously different to mine; he stayed until well after ten as we saw Lisa Carrington win gold in her kayak.

The London Olympics are almost at an end. They've been a huge success. I've been reminiscing a little over previous Olympics; from Atlanta in '96 two things stick out for me. First, a volleyball match involving America. I don't even remember who they were playing, but it was a thrilling match that went right down to the wire. The Americans lost on a tie-break in the final set (or whatever they call it in volleyball) and the crowd reaction to the final point was one of stunned silence. No matter that you've just witnessed one of the greatest volleyball matches ever, your team didn't win so you're not happy. That summed up the American attitude to sport. My other memory was Michael Johnson's time of 19.32 seconds to win the 200 metres. It was a Bob Beamon-like obliteration of his own previous world record. Surely no-one would get close for two decades at least. Then some freak called Usain Bolt came along and broke Johnson's record. Last week Bolt ran a 19.32 to win gold, just like Johnson did, but he eased up at the end as if he couldn't be bothered any more. I found that slightly obscene. I have warmed to Usain Bolt a bit since my last blog post.

London has put on a wonderful show. The Brits have fully embraced the games in a way some thought they wouldn't. Their team of competitors has also been hugely successful. But I can't help feeling, given the state of the economy over there, that the golden glow will wear off quickly. Thirty-odd golds won't get your job back.

On Wednesday morning there was a slightly eggy odour in my flat. I couldn't figure out where it came from until I got to work and people starting talking. It was the sulphur from the Tongariro eruption.

My six-month cold is in full flight once more. The crusty snot is back.

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