Remember those bored vultures in the Jungle Book?
Hunching their shoulders, sulking under their mop tops, taking turns they’d ask each other, in mock Beatles voices: “What we gonna do?”
Now we’re a nation of them.
The Olympic orgy of sport and spectacle, human endeavour and strength and valour; it’s all over. Just the buildings remain; jutting skyward, bare, stripped of life.
Sunday night’s spectacular finale was the crescendo. The last energy-packed thrash before the stillness. It was the greatest after-show party I’ve ever witnessed. And didn’t it go on? Just as you thought it would have to end because it couldn’t possibly get any better, it did.
Eric Idle and skating nuns; Darcey Bussell stapled to the wings of a phoenix rising from the ashes; gawd, it had me hooked. I had to sprint (or should that be Bolt) to the loo so as not to miss anything. I nearly had to wear knee supports for Lap Two. By Lap Three, I was considering a Tena Lady. And then, can you believe it, the dog needed taking out at five to midnight. They don’t do Tena Hounds, though maybe someone should.
As Seb said - or Sir Bastian Coe, as he was once called in this very newspaper when an athletics correspondent phoned in a report on the young Sheffielder’s latest track triumph and the copy-taker on the end of the line got it wrong - we did it right.
Everything. All of it. The Olympic park created from an East End eyesore; the glorious tally of 65 British medals, 29 of them gold. The deafening cheers. The warmth and humour of 70,000 unpaid volunteers which made our Olympics The Friendly Games. The fantastic BBC coverage, which meant you could be an expert on the rules of everything from archery to taekwondo in less than ten minutes (not to mention a top judge: “Dearie me, the Chinese diver’s toes weren’t quite at the right angle as he entered the water. No, no - he won’t get nines for that...”)
But now, we’re in the unavoidable post-coital slump. Adrenaline spent, enjoyment over and four years to wait til the next time; now I know how husbands of post-menopausal women feel.
Yesterday I felt like I did the day after my - sorry, OUR - wedding. All those months of planning and crises and panics. Remember the Korean flag mix-up? It was a bit like putting your Auntie Edna next to your Auntie Pat when you were working out the seating plan and forgetting that the latter ran off with the former’s husband (though something tells me the Koreans wouldn’t see the analogy). Then came the glorious event and you didn’t want it to end, but it did.
The Paralympics are coming, but I’ve got 15 days to wait before I can watch wall-to-wall sport on telly again and cheer on human beings who are braver and stronger and more committed than I could ever be, through eyes stung with tears of pride.
I’m pining. Bloke can’t believe it. Neither can I. Though I’m not to mind, he says: the football season’s about to start.
He never listens to a word I say.