Like many people I have spent the last few months watching in fascination at the habits and rituals of the humble delivery driver.
The “Sorry we missed you” note even though you haven’t left the house all day. The imaginative use of dates to imply a delivery was attempted twenty four hours prior to when it was even possible and the plaintive “Can you let me in?” plea when our hero stands balancing a cavalcade of boxes filled with cat food, printer cartridges and the second volume of that Fantasy trilogy about a dragon who turns out be the White Lord of the North.
Yet one of their rituals remains shrouded in mystery.
For, on most days, a delivery truck will pull into the parking area at the back of the apartment block and, without stopping, circle around and leave.
They are not using the space to simply turn around and change their direction, that makes no sense given the road configuration.
So what is going on?
The best suggestion I have heard is that a tracker in the truck monitors their progress so this quick, yet seemingly pointless maneuver, satisfies a data driven formula that the correct route has been taken.
It may be generations until we discover the true answer to that question, but I like the idea. Trucks that are both there and not there, leaving ghostly trails of their progress. Tricksters making nonsense of the plans of others, leaving nothing but chaotic rhyme and algorithm.
And while Hwang In-Beom’s story in Vancouver may not be as complex as this deep dark mystery he too was, in many ways, here and not here.
Gone before he had arrived.
He never made secret his desire to play “In Europe”, although sooner or later we are going to have to settle on a definition of what “In Europe” actually means. The Luxembourgian third tier? The Spanish Futsal Amateur Cup?
But Russia definitely counts as Europe. The travel will still be brutal and Putin’s Fiefdom doesn’t scream “fun destination”, but it could be a springboard to better things.
But then so could MLS if In-Beom had settled and delivered here. But his always endearing presence off the field was almost always matched by his almost always ethereal presence on it.
The Whitecaps needed a player who could lift them up and they got a player who changed nothing.
Maybe that’s the kind of player In-Beom is? One who plays to the level of the team he is in? Maybe he can keep a good team good, but can’t make a poor team decent?
It’s certainly possible to imagine him fitting in to a well structured system that relies on one touch passing and movement and doesn’t look to him as the creative fulcrum.
From the perspective of the Whitecaps they have lost a Designated Player who didn’t play like a Designated Player (Not a new scenario for them).
They wanted a number ten, but ended up with a player who is best suited to playing number eight playing as a number six.
His replacement needs to be somebody who wants to be here, somebody who is effective in the system and somebody who leaves behind something more than the faintest of traces on a heat map of the final third.