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Clarity from an evening of smeared-out memory

Sunday, 19 August 2007, Kilkenny Ireland —

The paradox about Thursday night was that in a retarded state of awareness, I learned something important.

I'm not sure what that was; but I guess it's the nature of broad information that it's not sharp.

I was drunk — and I use the term advisedly. It was official. I had had a bottle of red wine before I started on the beer. (Many say that's bad, mixing "grape and grain." There's probably no real reason not to do so, except that the variance in alcohol content can lead one to misjudge one's intake.)

I'd met up with A__ early in the evening — I think it was just when I'd gone to get the first of the beer, and it was certainly after I'd finished the bottle of wine. He mentioned E_'s name, and I called E_ a "scumbag." E_ is a friend of A__'s, so A__ was offended. I apologized.

Later, and in the course of stopping by the apartments of a couple of friends, I got a text from G_ , telling me that he was down at Ryan's.

I blotted out a bit from the point when I left N_'s house. In fact, I lost a great deal of the memory, timewise, of the rest of the evening. Recollections are few, and rather smeared.

But I remember a few key features.

The principal over-riding memory that remained with me throughout the next morning and afternoon was of irritation with having sat through a load of talk about football, or soccer. I wrote a page about it, the main element in my immediate feelings about the evening.

Minor detail, one might think — too much banter on one subject. But the phenomenon, this incessant and persistent football talk, is profound; it's uncanny... it's amusing, for the first couple of years.... But it gets to you. Football is an overpowering feature of any night out with certain folks; and the effect for me has been accumulative — any sense of humor that I used to have about the matter is pretty well gone now. My frustration, long tempered by a "live and let live" attitude, has been turning to disgust and irritability, untempered by anything.

And Thursday night.... The whole evening seemed to be somehow summarized by the stint at Ryan's. In the looking-glass of this expanse of time, the swirled-in whirlwind of memory compacted by its lack of detail, I can see me sitting there... waiting... waiting for nothing. G- and A__ spoke for the duration, at the exclusion of my presence.... God only knows how long they stayed on topic, but history suggests that it could easily have been for an hour.


On reflection and after speaking with a witness to some of the evening — a witness to nuances that I missed — I've realized that indeed something did happen, and it was bound up in that one distinct memory, the football.... G- and A__ were disacknowledging me. They were busy, and my company was irrelevant.

The matter becomes more clear. The memories of past evenings compile... they concur... it kind of all makes more sense now....