Bored at the bar

I only turn out for event type football games - World Cup and European Championship basically. Last night it was Holland Spain. When one watches football there is really only one suitable drink. No point in sipping a sherry in front of the telly at home. Football means beer. Beer means a bar. Bars mean atmosphere.

I reckoned half an hour beforehand would be plenty of time to bag a seat. As a lone drinker I thought I may not be that welcome - taking up valuable selling space. It's true the Cantina, with it's big screen, was pretty much all reserved. The customers had war-paint, flags and paraphernalia. Not so in the bar where I most often buy alcohol or the bar I use more for coffee. Plenty of space and no sign of football fever. I have no idea if England still dresses up with flags and banners before the big football events but Spain doesn't so much. It's not as though the World Cup isn't going on. Telly and radio are full of it and there are lots of football themed promotions too but it would be easy enough to be totally unaware of the football without living in a cave.

The telly screen in the bar was smaller than I would have hoped for. There was a lot of noise from passing traffic and my knowledge of football is rivalled by my understanding of the Euclidean Poets. Nonetheless, I was pretty sure that it was Spain who were in charge of the game for the first half of the first half at least. Then a passer by asked me how it was going and it started to go downhill. The second half was, frankly, humiliating.

It was a very quiet game in my part of Spain. There were not a lot of shots on goal to go "ooohhh!" about and only the penalty to celebrate. I noticed that the mobile phones which had been notably absent from peoples hands started to come out as the match progressed. On two tables women began to thumb through newspapers. The couple I took for Britons had disappeared from their table when I glanced over. As the family party behind me lost interest in the game they went back to everyday noise levels.

Maggie was at a Golf Club in Qatar, I was in Bar 33, El Garbanzal. "That's it for another four years" she wrote. The only thing to cling on to is that in 2010 Spain lost their first game too against the Swiss. The problem is that Chile did pretty well yesterday too. I suspect I won't be back in the bar too many times this World Cup.


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