England are two wins away from winning the World Cup.
Yes, you are reading that correctly. It’s an opportunity so rare that there are no words to describe the situation, and we had to retrieve these particular ones from a dusty vault marked “do not open except in case of resurgency”. But how do you keep up morale while still at work?
England 2-0 Sweden . Goals from Harry “Slaphead” Maguire (so-called by team-mate Jamie Vardy) and Dele Alli. Those Jordan Pickford saves. It all happened.
It’s such a fundamentally silly prospect, it feels as if the great tent of reality we live under has worked loose at its moorings and could pitch up into the air at the merest puff of further excitement.
Still, #GarethSouthgateWould no doubt help you set it back up again, offering his own tent pegs and some helpful tips on guide ropes.
As Maguire soared past Windsor, Styles, Potter and (whisper it) even Kane in the power list of the nation’s favourite Harrys, London erupted, half the city dressed in red and white, the rest in rainbow for Pride.
It all happened. It’s still happening.
There is a semi-final against Croatia to look forward to on Wednesday, in Moscow. How on earth will we get any work done? Here’s your guide to a work/football balance.
Just about manage expectations
Set your out-of-office message to stun. “It’s coming home, and I’m unable to reply to my emails” should do. The boss will understand.
Alternatively, hire a replacement. Bark.com, an online services marketplace, is offering a “World Cup Worker” substitute for £15 per hour. Bargain.
Outside, the weather is threatening to remain sunny indefinitely and everything is therefore swelteringly silly.
The summer of 2018 swaggers merrily on with the preposterous grace of a Bolshoi ballerina who spent Sunday drinking in the park and is now returning home with a traffic cone on her head. Three Lions is No 1 in the charts — again — and memes of Putin playing it on a grand piano are circulating on Twitter.
Waistcoats have become cool. Buy one from Marks & Spencer, who are teasing a souvenir “it’s coming home” tailored edition on Twitter. The whole look is only £400.
Dancing Gareth Southgate impersonators have been given the keys to the city, so roam free.
Take it outside
In fact, the only place it has rained recently within the M25 is at Croydon Boxpark , Flat Iron Square, Giant Steps, or one of the countless other outdoor spots around London where the football is being screened. Plastic beer cups are still falling to earth, having being hurled jubilantly into the stratosphere on Saturday.
These gatherings have unequivocally the best atmospheres in London, which sounds obvious but is worth stressing so you remember to sneak out the office at 3pm.
It is all about the chants , from a reworking of Atomic Kitten’s Whole Again (“Southgate you’re the one, You still turn me on, Football’s coming home again”) to Don’t Take Me Home. Join the choir — simply Google the lyrics.
It is just after midsummer, it’s so hot that no one has slept properly in weeks, and a somewhat end-of-days Bacchanalia has been injected into the national bloodstream.
On England’s football team the nation is undivided. Please don’t make it about Brexit. Let us have this one, pure thing.
But, how can we stop getting too carried away? Revellers have danced atop buses in Clapham Junction and created mayhem in an Ikea in Stratford.
As a shorthand just think: what would Gareth do?