My last evening in Venice, and the weather is humid and hot. We are at the DuChamp outdoor cafe in one of the most lively squares, the Santa Margarita. Two television screens and scores of clients have the place to themselves. The game between the US and the UK is pretty unremarkable except for the dominance of the pro-UK contigent who are pretty loud and demonstrative. We are cheering the US team, which in itself is strange for all the things we have said earlier in the week about living in America, about absence of community, and so on and so forth, all of which seems like drivel now. We want our team to win, and after several rounds of spritz, we return home through the narrow streets, our clothes wet and our moods a bit low.
On the plane from Treviso to Cologne, a most efficient Germanwings airbus, the captain announces the first two goals of the German team against Australia. Clapping breaks out twice, and the quiet plane is suddenly full of life. And later, at home with A. and H., the victory is celebrated on the streets below our apartment with honking horns and singing which goes on for a while.
The World Cup–a fixed event in my life since my childhood, especially when television came around–whose charm and wonder continues on into older age. Back in Paris this evening, perhaps I’ll catch another game or two, but the French seem to have lost the luster of earlier times. My dear mother, a lover of football and the World Cup, would have attributed it all to the exit of Zidane. And she was often right about many things, including the Game. For me, this early round of the games–a puny two, really–have more to do with things that pass, that change, that take new shapes but still retain something of the core of experiences past. And what better place to be immersed in all this than here, now, in transit again.