Like any civilised Englishman last Sunday, I was slumped on the sofa watching the Super Bowl. I was vainly attempting to convince myself that American football can be interesting – at times, the gaps between moments of action make lawn bowls seem a rapid-action activity.
My ennui was suddenly shattered by a loud thud against the window. Startled I leapt to my feet like a scalded dog. The bottle of watery American beer I was pretending to enjoy slopped to the floor.
Imogen had arrived.
No, not some rabid young lady I forgot to call but a rattling storm. Wind boomed and rain came down like cows and horses. The window panes shook with every gust and the malevolent rattle of hail stones began.
No, that wasn’t the screech of the non-lady Lady Gaga butchering the American national anthem in her vile red sequined suit. The unrelenting stones had conjured up a frightening duet with the troubadour.
Once the initial shock had abated, the show of Mother Nature’s strength proved an excellent distraction from the football. A hail storm is gloriously biblical – I always think of those poor Egyptians and their falling out with Moses when I hear the icy stones rage or dear old Noah having his retirement upended by opening up a foster home for errant animals.
Imogen continued to rage and the Super Bowl plodded along; a defensive game which needed the amped up commentary to remain more interesting than the howling winds.
There is a cold comfort at being inside during such an extravagant show of God’s true force. I remember being beguiled by storms as a child. I enjoyed them, where others endured them – and did so to the extent that all I wanted to do was buy a plaid shirt and join the lads on a fishing trawler in Wisconsin.
A week on the high seas playing cards and drinking rum from rusty cups, would be a wonderful beginning to a piece of gonzo journalism – surfing impossibly enormous swirls and entering the eye of hurricanes, all in the search of a school of mackerel. While many would like to fish a peaceful lagoon, I would love the swells of a wild angry ocean.
A kindred spirit, with a similar lust for a piqued Poseidon was the impressionist JMW Turner. In order to understand the eye of the storm further, the brushman tied himself to the mast of a boat in the midst of a billowing seaside storm. Once he returned to land, he called upon the marvelous memories and painted ‘Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth’, a picture that would go on to beguile and blast the eyes of future generations.
Sadly I stopped dreaming of trawler men and Turner. I awoke to find an awkward Chris Martin dancing next to a gyrating Beyonce, dressed as a black panther (politically not anatomically). The wind howled like a heartbroken wolf and I observed two beads of water race down the window.
I sat by the window and watched the show unfurl, the silver trees glinting in the dark swayed ever so slightly and modern plastic bins slid across the road like ungainly drunks at a wedding. The chintzy American football continued to scream hyperbole but I was more interested in a bold fox attempting to scavenge in Fulham. The wind and rain buffered his malnourished torso, yet somewhat triumphantly he sniffed out a victual in the rubbish. The scruffy vulpine scuttled and sailed back to his den to share his morsels with his skulk.
Brutal Imogen continued until Monday evening, upsetting umbrellas and soaking jackets. I however, like a gnarled sailor of London, strolled through the puddles in a blissful joy.