It's Tuesday night. Or Wednesday, I don't really know. I don't really care. It's just another drab, boiling hot evening in boiling bloody hot July. The nights are so hot they are simply an extension of the infernally endless days of haze and heat. The bloody weather, it's always the bloody weather...
Having returned from working a flight as an air hostess, the missus is sitting across from me at the dinner table, tucking into the dinner we (well, she) made in quite regular clothes, while I sit, panting like a dog stuck in a car, insulated by a layer of my own sweat to further worsen my mood. I stare down at my food. It's way too hot to eat, but, as a man, I have to at least look like I've made an effort. Ray Winstone isn't the man he is now because he only had a few mouthfuls of risotto each meal and then gave up- that guy knows his way around a dinner plate. I bet his favourite garnish for steak is another steak-
'Oh, I forgot to tell you' she bursts, causing me to jump and drop the prawn and 3 grains of rice I was mustering the energy to eat from my fork. 'David Beckham was on my flight, he's really nice'.
I blink at her.
David Beckham? The David Beckham? As in, national-treasure-England-captain-charitable-hero-and-idol-for-millions David Beckham? Meeting 'Goldenballs' (I am aware nobody calls him that any more) used to be a lifetime dream of mine, since THAT goal against Wimbledon. He's the answer to every boy with a silly haircut practising free-kicks against walls nationwide. The man is one of the most recognisable faces in the world, probably just behind The Queen.
I used to dream about David Beckham an awful lot as a child. Whether it was meeting him, seeing him, playing football with him, or even being him. But then as a child, my dreams used to be as heroic and glorious as they were completely far-fetched. I could be an F1 racer one night, lift the Champions League the next, and then score a last-minute try to cap off a rather excellent week. There was, quite literally (in a fantasy kind of way), nothing I couldn't do, because, as a child, I had know idea what my limits were. I was confident I could have grown up to be anybody.
So when I did eventually wake up, I would act out my dreams as if they were really happening. My garden was my Wembley, my Silverstone, my 1999 season. But slowly, as I grew up, I realised that my garden was just a garden, and not the turf of Twickenham, or the wicket of Lords. Eventually, I grew up to be a slightly weedy, camp young man who's too scared to "like" female's facebook pictures for fear someone will write "PERVERT" on his wall, as if they only put a picture of themselves in hotpants on the internet as part of Operation Yewtree and I took the bait. Thus, I have learned most of my limitations by now (I'm sure there are more things I can't do lurking around somewhere), and as a result, my dreams have become more and more limited.
'Fucking sort yourself out, right now!'
'Look, I'm trying!'
'Not fucking trying hard enough! What the fuck are you doing? You're fucking useless! Fuck off'
Rio Ferdinand said that to me. I was centre-back alongside him at Old Trafford. But I wasn't an internationally-renowned player. I was me. With my footballing ability (there is no footballing ability). Which means that, when a player from Manchester City rushed to me with the ball, he flew straight past and scored. Rio seemed to think it was all my fault. I woke up soon after, thoroughly embarrassed, though not quite as embarrassed as I was at Silverstone and Jenson Button drove past me (but then again, he was in a state of the art McLaren, and I was in a Peugeot 106, so it was inevitable), and nowhere NEAR as embarrassed as I was when I was at work, carrying some drinks over to a childhood sweetheart who had married someone else, and suddenly tripped over, which sounds dangerously realistic, but was, in fact, another dream.
As for Miss Forgets-to-mention-David-Beckham, I guess the sky's the limit for her, which is why sleeping is quite easy for her to do. She can lie in bed and drift off, safe in the knowledge that in ten minutes, she'll be trying on a pair of diamond shoes, or swimming in an ocean of handbags (as you have probably guessed, the research department of JBHQ is at an all-time low), whereas I stare straight at the ceiling, wondering who is going to hit me with their Honda Civic next.
Last year, Scottish-grimble-turned-British-hero Andy Murray told us about how he dreamt he had won Wimbledon after in fact losing, and how it was really cruel, and he woke up feeling awful, making us all feel awful too. But when I dream about being booed off Have I Got News For You, I'm consoled with 'Well, I can see that happening, because not many people find you funny. But then again, I guess you'd never be asked to go on the show'.
The world would be so different if Martin Luther King had possessed a similar subconscious deficiency to myself- I mean, if he hadn't dared to dream about achieving such landmarks of racial equality, people like George Zimmerman would be able to shoot black people and get away with it, or someone like John Terry would be able to call somebody else a 'fucking black cunt' and still be paid £200,000 a week to play football! Now that's far-fetched!
It soon dawned upon me, after the missus said she had met David Beckham, that I will almost certainly never meet him, but that's not to say I'm worse off for it. But a part of me wishes I could still dream about meeting him. Right now, I'd settle for dreaming about meeting a neighbour on my street who isn't either the missus or the landlord. But I can't. My fantasies are grounded in the reality of my every shortcoming. Soon I'll be dreaming about being able to brush my teeth without accidentally falling into the toilet, if I'm lucky.
Or maybe I should be more positive; get out in the garden, alone, and, just one last time, step up to take the penalty that wins England the World Cup. Then perhaps I could jump into my Ford Focus. Not to go anywhere in it, but just drive it around Silverstone for a bit, and win there once more. Maybe perhaps in the afternoon, I could ride my bike along the Champs Elysee. Then come in from having the best day of my life, fall asleep, and relive it all over again in my mind.
Failing that, I could actually get off my arse and actually achieve something.
But isn't that what dreaming is for?