We’ve all been there – we may even be there now? Drumming fingers on unresponsive window, treatment table, desk or notepad. Head-on-hand on minibus backrest, or worse, in that torturous elbow/palm/ear-war against the coach window, wrist cruelly cocked; half-sleeping, beyond the jokes, beyond uncomfortable. Dying to hear. Waiting.
Waiting in the service station, or services. Buying time eating self-harming superfluous crap, waiting for that call, that definitive bloo-dee call, on or off. Thinking for the zillionth time ‘it ca-a-n’t bee thatt difficult’; angry because beyond reason; unthinkingly mad in the grey of not knowing.
Hang on, chaps. On balance, one of the more mundane breeding grounds for stultifying pain, debilitating grief and visceral malcontentment, though, yes? Agreed?
Nope. Nothing worse – never has been. Not in the wars or the famines or the queue for the khazi at Glasto. This is The Absolute Killer. Mizzle. Damping. The actuality of or malevolent possibility for puddles in the outfield or the murderously unknowable threat, degree, volume, percentage or timing of proper rain.
‘Yeh but we’ve all played in stuff like this. We’ve all splashed a bit on our run-ups. Umpire, waddya think? I’ve gone – don’t ask me, I absconded some time ago but waddya think, really? Your call entirely.’
Just let me look at you whilst you mooch round the bowling crease one more time; gauge the level of your Health and Safety obsessivity, quietly, as though in some way disinterested, when of course, this is not possible. (We both know, in some murder mystery weekend kindofaway that the moment is haunted, is probably ill and that my ‘handing over’ is merely the most cynical of reminders that by god, I am watching).
We’ve had things rained off this week. Plus I’ve just been listening to Alison Mitchell and friends (on TMS) skilfully deferring the fact of their own infinitely more significant rained-offness. And as I write, there may be a cat in the front window but it is not, I assure you, basking. The postman, handing over a damp jiffy-bag and saying ‘Girls did well yesterday’ cheerily – Girls being England Women, who smashed Pakistan all over – the postman is wet.
Our things were Primary School Festivals. I could have wept, spat, gone through any of the rituals of losing it due to rain. I’m still battling a way forward, both really – in terms of finding a practical solution – and yaknow, spiritually. This may mean the writing qualifies as therapy.
What’s fascinating (once we wipe away the skein of trauma) is how we don’t seem growed-up enough to get philosophical about this, given its obviousness, its relative prevalence, its humdrum unavoidability. It’s just rain. I’m in West Wales. (Al’s in Derby.) It’s gonna happen.
So there must be something deepish here to do with furious disappointnent and furious weediness – futility in the face of that great inscrutable-but-then-again pret-ty predictable protagonist-in-chief The Weather.
Mad that we can’t see the charm in that weather’s wondrous meanderings. (Sometimes we can but not when there’s a CRICKET FESTIVAL!!) Laughable that we can’t laff. (But ditto.) Ridicusomething that the energy burns away so fiercely when such an ocean of theoretical calm offers itself up… so soothingly, so pitter-patteringly. Come, my friend, you have time – relax!
Me, I ‘m a lover of spontaniety, colour, of stumbling through and turning over gems. I tend to foam, to respond, to stick my mitts in the soil-of-it. I hate planning, need free amorphous headspace.
You too? So why the gnashing and gnarling and seeking after black or white on this particular thing? When the essence of the universe is anarchically-beautifully stacked against – and generally I’m fine with that?
It is a cricket thing – obviously not uniquely but still, yes. The drama around rain.
Is it a learning, is it helpful or comforting that our waiting is cruelly rich? That something so crushing is yet so alive?
What’s the forecast? (Met Office/Accuweather?) How well does this drain? How far are they travelling? Are they amenable or stroppy, or what? Is the umpire a misery or… how is (s)he? Is this wind blowing that a) towards b) away c) away quick enough? Is that real sun over there or? What did Reg say? Reg knows this ground better than anyone.
Amateurs to professionals, kids to seniors stirring for relevance but rendered pathetic. Absurdly impatient or angry, in the main. Really, how many of us deal well with a rain delay, postponement or the pitch inspection that prolongs itself because we just can’t be sure?
If you’re thinking we may be moving towards some spurious guide to What We Might Do Better here, forget it. If anything, I’m moving towards the Just Experience (or maybe Luxuriate in) the Experience camp on this; on everything.
Note the quality of rain, sun, wind, moment – infuriation. The next one will be different. Do that then if you can, re-schedule.