How the World Cup ruined me

How the World Cup ruined me

The last month ruined me.

Everywhere I went I saw colours: green, yellow, black, red, blue and white. I saw the flags flying from every other car, dwindling one by one. I heard the honking. The cheering. The boasting and smack-talking, mostly from behind a computer screen.

But worst of all was the dreaming. The hope that seems to grow from the tiniest seed, watered by equal parts skill and luck, gaining momentum as it rises up, taller than the rest.

For the last month, I rose and fell with a nation.

I watched every game. I raised the flag on my car. I dug the jersey up from it’s hiding spot.

Where the brazuca moved, my eyes followed. When the goalie leaped, my heart stopped. And when a player made that unmistakable run for the net, I got up out of my seat. To cheer, or to sit back down.

I cheered with a country. I cried with a country. We suffered together. We celebrated together. And through out this World Cup, if there is one thing I’ve finally encountered, it was my cultural identity as an Argentinian.

All of my life I grew up hearing stories of glory days come and gone, wanting nothing more than to see it with my own eyes. To catch a glimpse of the magic for myself. But something swelled within my heart that I never quite expected: pride.

Not the kind that is loud and rude. Not the kind that overcompensates or lives vicariously through someone else. The kind that stems from passion. And it made me proud. Not just my family. Me. Every time I wore the jersey, I bled blue and white.

After years of searching, it’s going to be very hard for that to disappear.

They told me soccer was a religion. And at the end of four weeks, I can’t help but believe.

Glory and failure

Glory and failure

I make it a priority not to run for buses. Or trains in this case.

Maybe it’s because I have a crippling fear of failure. Running leaves me exposed.  If I run and don’t make it on time, it would’ve all been for nothing.

All that hope and energy wasted.

Maybe it’s because running reveals what horrible shape I am in. Is there a worse image than a person keeled over, huffing and puffing as the bus glides away? The look of despair in their eyes. Disappointment in their gasping breath.
They tried and failed.

But today, I ran and won. I wont even bother to be ambiguous about what propelled me.

Soccer. If I caught this train, I could make it home in time to watch most of the game.

Maybe that’s the difference between an athlete running for the net and a person trying to catch a bus. An athlete upon seeing the goal line is fueled with every inch to persevere. The train-chaser too I suppose. What awaits the athlete on the other side of the pitch? Glory …and failure. But they never hesitate to run.

Drenched and gasping for breath, I never thought I could find glory on the inside of a train. But catching this train felt like a victory to me.

And I should also probably work out more.

Texting on the run

Texting on the run

“Check texts on the run.” —said a Samsung smart watch ad.

“Wait — what?” I did a double take. The young, fit jogger on the poster smiled at me. I realized that this was more than just a clever pun. Samsung was actually trying to sell me a smart watch by telling me it would make it easier for me to check my texts while running. Pfft, as if I even exercise on a regular basis. And when I do choose to exercise, running is definitely not in my routine.

But to all the spirited runners out there, do you really wish you could check your texts during your morning jog? Is this actually a desire that’s been burning inside of you?

I’m going to take a guess here and say no.

“So Samsung, why do you think this would work?” The woman on the poster keeps smiling. I’m not sure what she would say to me if she could talk.

“It’s convenient.”

“Now, you can be connected even when it’s incredibly inconvenient.”

“Haven’t you always wanted something to stare at while waiting for the light to change?”

I laugh. Nice one, Samsung. Technology is supposed to make things easier right? Even when it doesn’t always make sense.

 

Attached to the Screen

Attached to the Screen

It is ironic that the first thing I do when I get home after staring at a screen all day is:

1) Turn on the computer

2) Check my phone (which I’ve already been doing on the commute)

3) Check my email and Facebook

By the end of my work day, my head is literally pounding from the screen glare. My eyes can barely stay open. But by some freak of nature, the second I walk out of there, I crave technology.

I don’t know if that means I’m sick or enslaved.

I’d like to think that technology at work and technology at home are two totally different things. At least, psychologically. I feel better sitting on my couch, typing away on my laptop. But then again, I guess you wouldn’t feel that great after gawking at a screen for five hours straight no matter where you are.

At home, I get to do what I want online, with no pressure. At work, well, besides trying to absorb every tweet and post in every feed and, hatching new creative ideas, my brain is overloaded. It’s a wonder it hasn’t crashed sooner.

Still, could I re-wire it to last longer? Or is this more destructive than restorative?

What’s the first thing you do when you get home?

The Injustice of Waiting

The Injustice of Waiting

20 minutes.

I’ve run out of things to look at on my phone. I’ve exhausted every feed of every social media I am a part of. Even the ones I never look at. My phone battery is at 10 per cent.

25 minutes.

No one is texting me back. My boyfriend should be home from work by now, but he’s not texting me. Is everybody really just that busy? Apparently, I am the only loser sitting in a parking lot waiting for my mom.

30 minutes.

My eyes have officially glazed over. My body is entering a nap-like state. The theta waves are in full gear. I recline the car seat and give in.

33 minutes.

I wake up to the first ping. Finally, someone to keep me company. The more I text about my situation, the more it bothers me. There were so many things I was planning on doing tonight. Why did I agree to drive my parents here? I should’ve just stayed home.

45 minutes.

I can’t believe this. I’ve wasted 45 minutes here in the parking lot, just sitting in the car. This is disgusting. I had so many plans for tonight. I wanted to write. I wanted to read. I wanted to play my ukulele. I shouldn’t have to sit here after a long day at work. I deserved to stay in and do what I wanted. When she gets back in the car, I’m going to give her a piece of my mind.

55 minutes.

Still waiting. I’m just so tired of waiting. I don’t even care anymore.

59 minutes.

She raps on the window. I unlock the door and start the car. She starts to tell me all about the clinic. About the rooms and patients and all the wires. I can barely take in the words. She’s not even sorry for making me wait. As if she had any control over the situation in the first place.

In my lethargy, I doubt if I have a right to be upset. As much as I want to punish someone, there’s no one to blame.

What does it matter that I had to wait? I had no control. I had no choice. There are greater tragedies out there than waiting in a parking lot for an hour.

But it stills feels unjust.

 

The Ring that Left Me

The Ring that Left Me

The ring
The ring

You never know what you have until you’ve lost it. Or so the saying goes.

Today I lost the jewel of my ring. It sounds petty I know but, I was left with just the shell. A thin band with an empty heart where a muddy white stone used to sit.

I’ve worn this ring every day of the last four years of my life. It wasn’t worth much. But it had so become a part of me, that I considered it an extension of my ring finger. Without it, I feel naked.

Replacing it would be betrayal. Fixing it would be an insult. The ring was one of kind.

The girl who first chose to wear it was so different than the girl who lost it.

She wore it out of humility. She thought it would help her to remember. Whenever anyone asked her about it, she was forced to tell them the story. And she liked that. Sometimes.

I wore it because it was familiar. I would turn it around so the heart-shaped stone would face my palm. I liked the feel of my thumb against it. A nervous tick, maybe. No one had asked me about it for months. But I remembered the story, even though it felt so faraway.

Today I ran my thumb against it and the ring scratched me. The difference in texture shocked me. Where there had once been a smooth stone, there were three prongs grasping at nothing. Instantly, I knew there was nothing I could do. The stone had left me.

All day, I’ve been filling my head with memories of my ring. I remembered waking up once, in the middle of the night, thinking I had lost it. It was just a dream. But I felt so low.

Now that it’s gone, I think the ring meant more to me then I intended it to.

Have you ever lost something that became a part of you?