I spent all day Saturday building Ikea wardrobes but succumbed to only two really prolonged sessions of swearing.
Impressive, yes, but I am pretty adept at building Ikea furniture these days. I know its sneaky ways. I know, for example, that before starting you should lay every bit of wood out on the floor exactly as shown in the minimalist instructions, paying very careful attention to the arrangement of the bastard little holes. Failure to do so is fatal. In my early years of Ikea, things were very different: essentially one long stream of expletives interspersed with occasional hammer-whacks. The futon, which had about three hundred plastic nodules each of which had to be hammered in with maximum physical force, was a particularly memorable afternoon.
I also know that there is never enough storage space in the world, and just because you have built stuff to hold stuff, and thrown stuff away in the process of moving stuff into the stuff you have built, there will always, always be more stuff. This just has to be accepted.
Anyway, one of the two foul-mouthed effusions came when I was attempting the apparently simple but actually immensely difficult task, when performed solo, of screwing a clothes rail into the completed wardrobe. The camel’s back broke when, contorted unnaturally inside the wardrobe with the rail balanced on my head, I dropped the screw I was attempting to affix. For the eighth time.
The second cascade of cussing came when the wireless told me that Manchester United had won the Premier League and thus equalled Liverpool’s record of 18 titles. As a Liverpool supporter, this hurts, but less than it would have done a few years ago, because I have wilfully detached myself from caring too much about football. Alistair McGowan was talking about a similar thing on the radio; he has gradually weaned himself off his Leeds United addiction.
The key thing is perspective. Sure, Manchester United have equalled Liverpool’s record and next year they may overtake it. But so what? That isn’t the end. Liverpool can catch up again, if not in the next few years then in the next decade, or the decade after that, or the next thousand years. Even Sir Alex Ferguson will eventually retire or die, but football will continue. It is a race without a finishing line. There is no end to football, it just goes on and on and on. Like the infinite inadequacy of storage space, this just has to be accepted and enlightenment is possible.