On Tuesday, after two and a half years, an upsettingly large number of lessons, and no less than five tests, the DVLA finally granted me a driving license. For those of you who have read previous entries regarding my constant composure and dignified manner, it will come as no surprise that I did not react to the good news in a fashion similar to a typical Jane Austen heroine. I believe the conversation went along the lines of:
Examiner: “I’m pleased to say that you have passed your driving…”
Me: (High-pitched squeal like how I imagine an excited piglet would sound.) “Oh my god oh my god thank you thank you thank you I love you so much right now I failed four tests I’m so happy I love you so much I could kiss you I mean I won’t because that would be weird but I love you oh my god I’m so happy!” (Vivid recreation of Chandler’s victory dance from Friends.)
Examiner: “… test.”
Elizabeth Bennet would probably have taken a turn around the car park with the examiner and made a polite but witty remark about her success, rather than abandoning decorum as well as punctuation and proper sentence structure. Moments like this make me feel depressingly certain that if I were in the world of Pride and Prejudice I would definitely be more of a Mrs. Bennett than an Elizabeth.
Anyway – moving on from my apparent lack of social skills – my newfound freedom and ability to make a quick getaway could not have come at a better time. No, I’m not planning on robbing a bank: all I want is to escape from football.
But there is no escape. Euro 2012 is everywhere. It’s in my living room. It’s in my kitchen. It’s in the pub. It’s in Boyfriend’s brain. Even the little girl I was babysitting tonight was allowed to stay up to watch the first fifteen minutes of Spain v France. (She answered all my questions in an extremely informed and intelligent manner and did not laugh at my ignorance once.) Seemingly then I must succumb to the delights of the offside rule and debates involving goal-line technology. But as it’s not the premier league I can’t use the standard IT Crowd trick of repeating “The thing about Arsenal is they always try and walk it in”, so I have been forced to come up with my own comprehensive guide to survive interaction with ‘fans’ – or as I shall be referring to them from now on, the enemy.
Firstly, do not forget that although the enemy troops resemble your closest friends they are nothing but football zombies, so do not under any circumstances attempt to socialise. If you must speak, speak only of “the beautiful game”: do not mention anything less dull such as your hopes and fears/what you had for dinner/the daily routine of a snail unless you wish to make the enemy aware that you are a traitor to their cause and therefore fair game for providing a half-time snack. Avoid at all costs the mistake of asking who is playing if you’ve been watching for more than five minutes. Ditto asking which team is in which colour. When confused, simply gesticulate wildly and question the eyesight of the referee. Crucially, you should remember that no matter how amusing you may find penalty shoot-outs, the enemy take them pretty seriously. So when confronted with the ridiculous rise in enemy stress levels that follows ‘extra time’ (not to be confused with ‘added time’ – it’s almost like they don’t want you to understand), do try not to giggle. Oh and should the worst happen and your identity be revealed, don’t look back: run. Run hard. Run fast. Or, alternatively, walk at a casual pace. As football zombies are unable to leave their TV screens, danger is fairly minimal once you are more than a few metres away from a viewing device.
As you can tell, I just love football. However, whereas I am upset at Euro 2012 for jeopardising the possibility of decent conversation, there is a (quite worrying) chance that I would not have a driving license if it were not for football. The night before my test I was told that Mr. Rooney combats pre-match nerves by visualising himself scoring goals and that I should therefore visualise passing. I might not have visualised myself threatening to kiss the examiner but I did indeed visualise him telling me I’d passed. So as much as I do enjoy mocking football, I will never again mock the genius that is Wayne Rooney.
(Or at least I’ll significantly cut back on the mocking. I’ll be a social mocker and only mock when I’m drunk.)