By Hua Hsu
Ten days into the World Cup and many of us have successfully adjusted our daily rhythms to accord with the tournament's schedule. Maybe we will sacrifice a little sleep in the morning or take an extraordinarily long lunch break; maybe we hope that witnessing some visionary passing or effervescent piece of skill will inspire us through those dim, pre-dusk hours of make-up work; maybe we merely pass out on our futons, drunk from hand-wringing.
In a sense, though, the World Cup is never not "on," even if the games only embargo six hours of daylight. There is always some new piece of data to be assimilated, some trickle of news to get us through the evenings, some arresting fragment from an unfamiliar source to be fact-checked and/or Tweeted. The shape of our knowledge is constantly in flux. That Internet is quite big, innit.
This past weekend, we were reminded that our free time is, with the exception of the rare trousers-averse striker, probably about as interesting as that of the average footballer. We spend our free time watching them work; they spend theirs amidst scented candles and atop bidets, dealing with existential stuff. If you play for England, this means spelunking the dull, expansive caverns of true boredom. Whereas England prepared for the 2006 World Cup by suffering through defender Rio Ferdinand's remarkably well-orchestrated post-Punk'd pranks, their 2010 campaign has been quiet and austere, especially given the caliber of individual involved.