Thursday, 28 July 2011

Talk Sport!

For the past ten days I have heard a wealth of information about sport, predominantly football. I have heard it in the garden, in the kitchen, in the bathroom. It has enveloped me in waves of enthusiasm, regret, excitement, speculation and sometimes quite raw and painful emotion.
This is because the outside paintwork of the house is being decorated - very carefully and well-decorated by one and sometimes two men.
The radio is plugged in before the paint-brushes are lifted, and because doors and windows are open I can hear too.
So, probably, can some of the neighbours.

Because they are such good workmen I do not complain about the incessant sporting babble, but when they are sitting in the van eating their lunch I switch off the paint-spattered radio. They minute they return it is switched on again.
I walk past on my way down the garden and turn down the volume a few notches. When they descend the ladders the volume is increased again.

Am I a wimp?
My mother would not have permitted such intrusion, but, thinking about it, workmen would hardly have had radios in her day.
So - I listen on.
I listen to their (shouted) conversation as well. I can't avoid it. They have to shout because of the volume of the radio. Their talk is not necessarily connected to the topic on the radio, which might be about some other sport, but is exclusively about football.
From early morning to mid afternoon they talk about football; the strategies, the merits of different teams, and what they would do if they were in charge of said teams.They discuss the failings and short-coming of players and managers. They reminisce about games in the past and voice their hopes for games in the future.

I am not unfamiliar with obsessive masculine behaviours. As the mother of sons I often felt excluded from a single-minded world. My sons, when small, worked their way through various obsessive phases - dinosaurs, robots, deep-sea life, Vikings.
I remember speculative discussions such as, 'If Tyrannosaurus Rex was alive today do you think he would be able to drive a digger?' (And if not, why not. Give three clear reasons.)
These obsessions were intense but short-lived, and they never involved sport.
Thank goodness!

Playing sports is an excellent idea for those with the inclination. (However, I spent lacrosse lessons lurking in the shrubbery, hating the competitive element of compulsory school sports.)
But listening to talk about sport, endlessly and repetitively, is becoming very, very wearing, and I cannot imagine that any woman would want, or be able to sustain this level of exclusivity. Some other interest or topic would surely crop up after ten minutes or so?

I'm also running out of tea-bags.


Jane said...

Oh dear! I'm afraid my husband would have cracked and banned the radio but like you I'd just put up with it! Our decorators were quite inobtrusive - about from the odd bout of quiet singing from Adrian (quite eclectic, 60's pop songs to Rule Britannia) which was more of a hum in the backgound, and a few conversations about the state of the world. But I don't expect Sharon was into football! Still if they're doing a good job that counts for a lot.

marigold jam said...

Oh dear - you would have loved Frederic the chap who fitted our kitchen for us when we lived in France since he didn't have a radio with him, he never accepted a drink when I was making one and offered him one too and he worked quietly and non stop from 8.30 till 6.30 with exactly an hour for lunch when he sat down and ate a proper meal and then spent a few minutes outside having his cigarette before coming back inside to start again. Amazing! Hope the decorating doesn't take too long and that you haven't gone mad (or run out of teabags) before then.

Relatively Retiring said...

Jane and Marigold: I guess I'm a wimp - but the work is first class!
Frederic sounds an absolute gem, and Adrian a talented chap - but I still find an odd sort of entertainment value in all's only another day!

Frances said...

Relatively Retiring, I recall the first time that I heard very loud radio music while students painted for us, and thinking at the time that pre transistor radios they probably would have been singing while they worked.
This now seems extremely unlikely, but it was my clear perception at the time, and I wonder whether anyone else recalls people singing while they did manual work.

gz said...

Lacrosse - girls' grammar school winter "sport"....aaargh!! memories!!

My man used to whistle. Not many do that either now

Relatively Retiring said...

Frances: Yes, there should be some sea-shanty type rhythmic songs for painters and decorators.... 'Heigh ho, blow the man down' for the top guttering?

GZ: Aaargh! You too, in the divided skirt and the Aertex shirt, with the grazed blue fingers and knees?

Zhoen said...

I suspect it's to keep from actually thinking.

Molly said...

I think you need some ear plugs as well as tea bags. In fact tea bags alone might kill two birds----you could stick one in each ear! Personally [blush, blush] I loved lacrosse!

Relatively Retiring said...

Zhoen: What a good point! It certainly seems to obliterate a few of the brain cells after the first day.

Molly: Good idea about the tea-bags.
Be proud about your love of lacrosse - all the best people at my school loved it and I was often rather alone (but determined) in the shrubbery.

Mouse said...

indeed we women would not talk so obsessively about one subject!

but then the female brain is capable of flitting from topic to topic like a beautiful butterfly

while the masculine brain is a wasp, irritatingly intent and single mindedly determined to invade the jam pot

Relatively Retiring said...

Mouse: Oh, what analogy!

harmony and rosie said...

What a wonderful post, you made me laugh, although I detect a smidgeon of pleasure at such manly behaviour. Just think of all this new knowledge you'll be able to impart at your next dinner party, not to mention the fact that another 10 days and you'll be giving Gabby Logan a run for her money.

It was only when you mentioned the tea bags running out that I felt quite horrified!!

Thank you for popping by and wishing birthday greetings my way, much appreciated.

Relatively Retiring said...

Harmony and Rosie: Thank you for your comment. You're right about the smidgeon - I am delighted by diversity. Not a chance of impressing with my new knowledge though, as it's in one ear and straight out of the other. Who is Gabby Logan?

Isabelle said...

Oh, gah. Poor you and poor your neighbours.

We didn't have lacrosse at our school but hockey. Horrors. Lots of very determined girls with big sticks. I used to run away from the ball, which was quite effective.

Jenny Woolf said...

Yep, I'm with you about sport. But I find it so boring that I just tune out. But it is a real problem when people intrude aurally - I'm one of those people who can't think when there's too much noise going on. I was even the same as a teenager, must have been the only one in the world who couldn't do my homework with the radio on!

Relatively Retiring said...

Isabelle: Actually the neighbours are so impressed by the finished job that I'm passing round trade cards - so all worth it in the end.

Why were girls' games such nasty, vicious things? (And still are, presumably).

Jenny: I'm with you on sensory overload. I have to turn off the car radio before reversing into my narrow driveway.

herhimnbryn said...

Hell's teeth. I sympathise! When we had a tin roof put on our house, I had to listen to 70's pop music, full blast for nearly a week. Hey ho, like your guys they did a good job. They didn't drink tea, I provided sports drinks as they were working in 41 deg. of heat.

Hang in there.

Relatively Retiring said...

Over 40 degrees on a tin roof....... they really, really needed their sports drinks!

Anonymous said...

This wonderful post takes me back to when we were adding space to our house. I once counted 5 paint-spattered, sheet-rocked radios playing different stations loudly (ranging from oldies rock and roll to country and western to hip-hop an rap).

The fun part was watching my old chocolate lab sneak around and steal treats from the guys. She developed quite an addiction to salted sunflower seed snacks and Mello Yellow soft drinks. She learned to grasp the soda cans between her front paws, sit and toss back the contents. Maggie gained 7 pounds during that project. . .

Relatively Retiring said...

Beth:, Oh, that's lovely! Well done Maggie. It's good to know that someone can really benefit from these situations!