Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Chapter 42 : The Blue Mountains (Saturday)


I walk in the bush. I decide if breakfast is creative or shows imagination then the Bulldogs will win. If there is any asparagus, eggplant, spinach, corn fritters, kippers or anything slightly different the Bulldogs will win. It will be a good omen.

Finish walk in the bush. We enter the dining room and I examine the bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, sausages and scrambled eggs. I turn to Mrs C and say, “The dogs will lose. Sydney to win. I see a bad omen.”

Everybody else loves the predicable breakfast. No imagination. No creativity. It is reliable and dependable. Everybody is food focused. “I’ll have more of that. I’m going to have this.”  Greed dominates. There seem to be more children. It’s their time of day. It’s their meal.

After breakfast we tour the Blue Mountains. Three sisters look at The Three Sisters.

They all look solid, predictable, hard and reliable.

We go to a hotel room to watch the match. The room is spacious containing couches, chairs and a bed. Food is dry biscuits, dips, square cheese, pieces of meat and Twisties and other things to nibble on. Drinks are beer, wine and apple cider. I go for a cup of tea. The room is full of people. How many?  If I count the legs and then divide by two I will find out. Everytime I try this I get a nonsensical answer. Something is wrong with my counting.  

I don’t want to watch the match because:

The Western Suburbs of Melbourne were an incredible important part of my parents’ lives. Thy lived there for about 160 years. That was their life. Being a person from the Western Suburbs. And I am reminded that they are no longer there. They no longer live in and support the Western Suburbs. They are gone.  That’s sad.

When I worked my patients incessantly talked about football. They all knew I supported the dogs. They used to ring up and leave messages for me about the dogs. Comment if they had done well or badly. I would follow the matches so that I could talk in a reasonable informed way. So that I could give the impression I knew what had happened.

And now that connection is gone. I don’t have to be able to talk football. I don’t have to follow a team. I’m now out of it. I’m now retired. I no longer have to comment on football. That makes me feel sad. I am not in society. I am out of it. Drifting aimlessly.  The match is a reminder of what I am not in. I have been sick. I don’ work.

And I don’t live in the Western Suburbs. I used to. I am no longer a part of it. I don’t have the ethos or attitude of the Western Suburbs.  I can’t celebrate or commiserate surrounded by similar peoples. It was a part of my life but my life has changed. I have to support a team but I am not emotionally involved. I’m not committed the way I was when I lived there.

I do watch the match and I do want the Dogs to win.

At ¼ time the match is close. I feel the Dogs are playing well. They are in it. So are the Swans. To me the match is partially visible through mist. In the last ¼ the haze starts to lift. It becomes more and more apparent the dogs will win. We are on top. The closer and closer it gets to the final siren the more and more obvious it is that we will win.  And the final siren blows and players and staff at the ground celebrate by hugging and jumping on each other and slapping each other. In our room there is a small amount of hugging, dancing and singing but I’m just not inclined. I don’t know what to do? Surreal is the word. My mind goes back to a wet Saturday afternoon in 1969 watching Footscray play at the Western Oval. I didn’t watch them trudge off and think, “One day, when I turn 60, I will sit in a hotel room in the Blue Mountains and watch the Bulldogs win their next premiership.”  I never had such thoughts.

I don’t know what to do except comment on the bulldogs’ ethos. The attitude used to be, “It will never last.”  The creed used to be that we had good players, if not the best players but we would never win the flag. The creed was always that we needed a certain player to rescue us; to deliver us. Now the Bulldogs have genuine confidence. They have a good coach and captain. A coach that doesn’t yell at the players when they make a mistake. A coach who helps his players play well.  The club seems more inclusive, more family friendly, more female friendly. A female vice-president. One of the best female AFL teams. They seem more sensitive and caring than the old days. 

And I hope they continue their new normal and don’t overdo their celebrations. I hope they celebrate and then get on with things. Don’t show off or lairize. Don’t criticize opponents. Enjoy themselves and then get on with life.

Matt says, “That’s a good birthday present for you.”

It is but there are more important things and I say, “Not the best present. The best was my resurrection.”

From the floor something moves and mumbles, “I just heard the last bit where you said erection.”

I repeat myself, “I’m talking about resurrection not erection. I’m saying my resurrection was the best present ever. “

I am standing tall, straight and full of pride but resurrection is the word I’m thinking of.

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