I suppose it was a timely communication. Or 'what have you', as they say...
I mean there was a huge field nearby the meeting place where I and some others and a recent acquaintance had gathered together for some sort of, well, gathering. I told him I'd brought it but yes, of course, I'd just left it in the oven for now; and surely it was implied that eventually I'd retrieve it from the over, presumably to throw about on the big, lineless field. I know nothing much about American football, but I'm sure the field was absurdly large at any standard.
Later, I'm walking at a brisk pace toward a strip of eateries and shops on the far side of the field. It's somewhere about this time that I actually consider the fact that the football is in an oven; that an oven is generally a place where the heat gets hotter and hotter. Essentially, what gets me running rather than walking, is the consideration that surely the football will soon melt and be destroyed, and my friend, previously referred to as acquaintance, who is of huge stature, will not be all that pleased with this fact.
I can feel the pace picking up with immense lucidity - even now. I was picturing the damn thing in that oven, somewhere in this weird place at the back of one of these restaurants where I'd mysteriously tucked it away for later playing. I know they call them "pigskins", that they're quite thick skinned; but surely that long in an oven and the thing wouldn't stand a chance. And why? Why put it in the oven?
I wind up on the other side of the block - the opposite side to the field - where the scene is much more like inner-city, trendy main street kind of vibe. There are independent music stores, quirky bookshops and a train station nearby that has that preserved, purposefully not-upgraded feel to it. A long concrete incline leading up to it, though I'm sure there would be wheelchair access in this day and age. Whatever day and age this is exactly...
There were some other scenes in this sequence, but of quite an explicit nature and as such cannot be included in this mature-age but not-quite-X-rated recollection.
What does it all mean!?
Yes, what does it all mean (rhetorical). But what doesn't it mean? Not like, let's make a list of negational elements related to it and thus infer what the meaning is; but rather, whereabouts in it are there not things of meaning? The craftiwork of the imagination is a football-field, so to say, of meaning. Somewhere in there was the sensation - and I hesitate slightly to call it a sensation, but no other way of referring to it comes to mind - of melting cheese. Melting cheese. I imagine that an rubber football would melt slowly, like grilled cheese, in an oven. Oh, and it was a wood fired oven, like those big ceramic pizza ovens you see more and more often now. I think the football was sitting on a grate of some kind above a fire, enclosed and lit only by the flames licking at it from below. What a scene, no? For what would be considered an automated series of images, coloured with meaning and feeling and whatever else, that's fairly impressive.
But what's more, that was an experience of some kind. I was damn worried about melting this man's football - I mean when I started running, I could feel my momentum gathering. Not so much fear, but who wants to melt someone else's football? And damn, I wasn't sure why I had put it in the oven; perhaps in this strange world that was a normal thing to do, but it didn't feel that way. I felt like maybe I'd have to arrive back, holding a melted football, and have to explain to my friend what had happened, with the very real risk of being questioned about my motivations around putting it an oven in a nearby restaurant. Logic is not at play here. The question, "Why couldn't you have just kept it on the ground near the field?" was not relevant. I put it in the oven. Period.
And then a shift of gears, over the other side of the block. No more field, no more chic restaurants. Things changed to being kind of new-age alternative, with the inner city of my home city as a new colouring, a new environment. No longer was the football in the oven relevant to me. Thank God. Peeking through shop windows and looking out over the street, everything felt different. Some sort of theme - the new and the old, perhaps. Or the now and the then. Who knows? I suppose I do. Where isn't the meaning? It's like short film. Sometimes it's like feature length.
And when you wake up, it tends to just keep, sort of, going...