Words, sounds and meeting inside the house: the revolution during the quarantine, between alcoholic visions and chores
I finally get up from the sofa, mustering courage. A gargantuan effort that forces me to stand on my feet, wear my Inter slippers and carry myself to the kitchen. I open the fridge and get a 66cl bottle of Bavaria perfectly chilled. I throw a couple of peanuts in a bowl, head to the living room and drop it all on the coffee table.
It is 6.30 pm and there is still a tiny bit of sunlight out. Just before managing to get up from the sofa I thought: “It is aperitivo hour”.
After a day at “work”, which can be summed up by a couple of emails I sent, a Skype meeting, a videochat with a user of the service for which I work as an educator, enjoying this lovely side of the day I thought was the least I could do. It is Friday after all.
I sit unceremoniously on the sofa, I turn the tv and YouTube on through the small decoder connected to the machine. A random selection of songs including hits from the “Madchester” era (Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, Primal Scream, Oasis), Oi! Anthems (Booze & Glory, Evil Conduct, Nabat, The Business), a couple of vintage rap songs (Cypress Hill, Sangue Misto, Run DMC) and the unmissable up-beat rhythms (Symarip, Toots & the Maytals, The Specials, Bad Manners).
A home-made aperitivo that is worthy of its name would have required a thorough selection of the vinyl records laying between a speck of dust and the other. Regardless, today is one of those minimum effort, maximum result kind of days.
The beer pleasantly goes down the canal that goes from the uvula to the stomach, giving me that feeling of freshness and light-on-my-feet that each sip gives as it goes down the depths of hell of my emotive digestive tract.
I enjoy my home-made pint by making small-chat with a couple of friends on a video call. We even come up with a sort of far-apart cheer that I am not sure if it makes us smile or sad, this is one of those days. “How is it going?”, “How about you?” and the a famous “I went to do some shopping today, amazing!” carry this on for about 30 minutes during which I managed to chug another 66cl beer. “I’m feeling supersonic give me gin and tonic” is blasting from the tv speakers. I go back to the kitchen for a second just the time to make myself a Campari with a dash of Roero Arneis.
I think “it is only the beginning of the quarantine”. A sort of call on for myself that I extend to the rest of those friends and family I am sharing this time with. “We need to be patient, live each day as it is, without thinking about when this will all be over”. If it will ever be over.
Following the news of dubious nature from the media, both the official and the unofficial ones, social networks and fake news helps up to a point. This creates a hypertrophy of info that is hard to select and section. One day national unity is invoked with things like: “We are all going to defeat this invisible enemy together”.
On other days it is shakier. Some chastise the runner-of-the-day and others berate the old man that stopped to talk to the next-door neighbour. Alleged 21st Century plague-spreaders. Top-level newspaper articles close the cage that we have all found ourselves in lately.
I can’t bear to think about these things, today. It is Friday after all, for fuck’s sakes.
I turn up the Tv a bit. The nasal voice of the Portly Buster from Bad Manners sings “I am a cider drinker it soothes all me troubles away”. I only have mirto and beer for now. It will do just fine. I attempt a couple of skanking steps in my jogging-suit, sweater and trusted black-and-blue slippers. Sara looks at me from the doorstep and shakes her head as Whiskey runs after me yelping.
A rush of energy shakes me from the inside out like an unstoppable vortex. I put the shoes and the jacket on and run out of my home shouting ramblings from the top of my lungs. I get out on the road and look around like William Wallace in Braveheart, looking for nods from my inexistent fellow soldiers.
“Wake up all of you! Come down to the streets”, I shout without getting any response back.
I walk fast without anywhere to go. I sometimes stop and try to eavesdrop on imaginary noises that my head is sure are going on around me.
At once, much like a solitary traveller in the desert, I spot a mirage at the end of the road. At first 3, then 5, 10 to the point of reaching 20 people all running towards me. I start screaming, shake my arms and get myself noticed. One of them has a football and kicks it in the air. The ball slams on the ground and gets to me after a couple of bounces. Another takes two torches and lights them up tearing the sleepy atmosphere that has surrounded mine and many more heads these past days. A couple of half-hearted faces from within the homes around the streets parts the curtains and watches half-shocked and half-intrigued.
In a heartbeat the street is full of people and we are playing a football match with an indistinct number of players. Some support one team and some the other with powerful chants and a couple of firecrackers here and there. A couple of kids even work a generator and an amplifier with a mixer and play songs from Public Enemy and Run DMC. The only thing that is missing at this point is Spike.
The match starts to get heated. The teams are analyzing each other looking for an opening.
I take the ball in mid-field; after a dribbling action I get rid of my opponent and I am face to face with the goalkeeper. Both goals are marked by two uprooted traffic signs. I look at the last defender that is now approaching and I put him in his place with a body feint and I am on my way on an infinite trip to the goal like Mark Lenders in a Captain Tsubasa episode.
The audience cheers for me and I feel its energy. I am now in control of the field, one step away from glory. “Death or glory” is blasting from the amplifier sitting at the edge of the field. Even Joe Strummer is on my side.
It is a fraction of a second that puts me in front of both a philosophical and technical dilemma at the same time. Do I enter the goal with the ball at my feet or do I just gently nudge it in?
It is a monumental fight between simplicity and hubris. High-brow and low-brow. Masters and common folk.
While I am thinking about it, the hit that comes shaking me from the dilemma is tremendous. That which I feel is an abstract evil. Not for the disheveled Vinnie Jones tackle that took me down without unceremoniously. It is for the ball that I see slowly moving away from my field of operation, with my eyes looking at the empty goal. I see it dissolve together people around me that have begun running away crazed without a clear destination in a cascade of indefinite pixels.
While I am still on the ground, I hear the sound of a siren blaring. I try to get up but I cannot. Something is holding me tight to the asphalt but I do not know what. I feel a strange humidity on my face coupled with a warm breath that wakes me up.
“What the fuck are you doing?” asks Sara as I open my eyes confused, laying on the ground with Whiskey’s tongue lapping at my face from top to bottom.
From the Tv I can hear the fading sirens from “Police on my back” by Clash that take me back to the reality of me having drunk 5 Bavaria bottles and a half-drunk mirto bottle on the coffee table. I get up awkwardly while Serious Drinking start singing “Revolution starts at closing time”.
I have to take out the trash.
I will print the autocertificazione tomorrow, who the hell is on the street at this hour anyway?