It’s a dog eat dog world

Just weird

play with me?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that going out is no longer about having a drink, a bite and a bit of a chit chat. That’s too sophisticated now that we’ve managed to dwindle our attention span to a staggering minute or less. Thank you LCD screens for infiltrating bars, restaurants, clubs and heck even bakeries, clinics, garages and the like. Hail to the new era of 2D fix-me-ups only a glance away!

On a Sunday night, it’s hard enough to find a place at the bar and add to that the fact that we’re in the peak of football (soccer, for my Americans buds) season and you know from beforehand that your best bet is a corner somewhere behind the TV. Not that it matters, surely. Not to me, anyway. You see, I’ve started figuring out a pattern as regards football scheduling, but I’m still in the dark when it comes to specifics. I just don’t care that much. So when we went to a bar with live music last night and was told that there were big matches the whole day, I took it at face value. Proof of it was the wide expanse of green and the tiny dots of players running to and fro on the 42 incher above my head.

I planned to take sips of my drink, talk, observe and wait for the live music. My boyfriend and I pulled it off for the first 30 minutes or so; we gave nonchalant nods to the TV from time to time, if anything, to acknowledge its presence, but we stayed pretty focused. Until I glanced up to see an altogether unfamiliar setting that glued me to the screen.

The turf was in place, but no teams. The crowd was awaiting, but there weren’t any goal posts. It was broadcast on ESPN, but there wasn’t a score card. All you could see was a bouncing dog, multiple flying objects and a man or woman rolling on the ground with exuberance. What the hell? I know you are all thinking that this could be no other than the renowned sport of freestyle flying discs. What you’ve never heard of it? You don’t say…

I could not get my eyes off the screen; was this for real? A sport involving a dog, a master, white frisbees flying around and a crowd to top that combo?! Call me naive, but when did this become a sport? Let me rephrase: when did this become a sport broadcast on ESPN? And specifically broadcast in Cyprus, over cable TV. Surely it is a sport that must translate well transatlantically because I couldn’t get my eyes off this spectacle of energetic four-legged creatures jumping to all heights and lengths for that flying saucer.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, the competition changed to the extreme vertical. It’s exactly what you’re thinking, only worse. The dogs were encouraged to jump to their maximum potential to grab a toy bone suspended over a big swimming pool. The reward for getting or not getting the bone was still a cool dive into the pool. Surely some masochist designed this distorted game of fetch?

It was with some relative relief (and mild disappointment) that I welcomed the channel change back to the football game. The acronyms on the score board meant nothing to me, and the image was familiar and uninteresting. I focused on my drink and turned my attention towards the live act that was setting up, the whole time not being able to get those nerdy white socks of the trainers out of my mind.

In the next life, I hope I’m not a dog. Or worse than that, a dog jock.

In the waiting room

Commentary

The chairs are always uncomfortable and picking up a magazine feels like picking dirty underwear from a colorful mountain of laundry. The waiting room fools no one in its trite and glossy appearance — everyone can handle this four-walled foyer with the confidence of a four-year-old armed in colored crayons.

The metaphorical waiting room, is a different matter altogether.

To begin with, it’s boundless. When will they call my number? When is it my turn? In time, you realize the futility of such questions. You try to work with this; surely you can trick these forces of abstraction into the kind of lingo you’ve learned to translate well. You ask your banker when you’ll get your loan. He answers in nonsense words you understand: Soon. You ask your boss if you can take the day off next week. He meets your definite question with: We’ll see. You ask yourself if you will ever manage to save more than a two-digit number and the answer comes back as a surprise: Who knows?

My experience has taught me that ambiguity is infectious.

You see, in the waiting room you enter with a smile, head for the secretary and inform you’ve arrived. You squeak your way onto the fake leather couch and pretend to look distractedly at the wall, while listening in on gossip shows blasting on flat-screen TVs. You look around you, make up stories of those beside you, wonder who’s before you and how many more minutes of this transition ordeal you have left. And then, they call your number. And it’s over.

But for the things that matter in life you wait with Gwen Stefani, and you can’t help singing along despite your indie taste: “I’m all alone in the waiting room.” And when you suddenly mouth unsuspectingly “It’s icky, it’s sticky” you snap out of it and get on with your life.

There are a million other things to do.