Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Man in a Cat-Suit*

Today I'm practicing being unemployed. I even had an unsuccessful interview this morning for a job, which I think shows a certain dedication to the endeavour.

To be honest, the experimentation is a little flawed, as having €20 to spare in my wallet, I wasn't devilishly poor or anything.

Down the shops, I took my time selecting lunch (there are tomatoes, and there are tomatoes), before coming home and sitting outside in the sun (albeit windy sun) and chomping merrily away (the joy of a carefully prepared sandwich are manifold).

Aw, the plans I had, the things I was going to do, the stories I was going to write.

Unfortunately, following the sandwich, I was overcome with tiredness. It was 12.30pm. I struggled upstairs in a most slow and painful manner, stopping at the spare room (aka my little study) where the bed looked so soft and cosy, I just had to sink myself into it.


Now it is 3.30pm. I'm not quite sure what happened in between.

I have to go out soon, but all I want to do is gently rest my head on that cool, comfy pillow. Maybe this is has nothing to do with my unemployment, perhaps it is related to my TV deprevation - or maybe I'm ill.

Who cares, all I want to do is sleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

*nope, not what I'm dreaming of, rather it refers to the image on a new postcard I have on my wall, picked it up in a shop in Brick Lane when I was in London, it is for: ... seems to be an international short film festival...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Bit of a miserable bugger today

'What the hell is wrong with me?' I wonder to myself as I sit at the computer in work, strangely unable to leave my desk to go home. But inwardly I know. Since yesterday, almost two weeks on, this self-imposed ban has been getting to me.

When eventually I leave, the office is totally devoid of other humans, and I sigh a little self-pityingly to mine self.

'Everyone else has a life' I think, jabbing the button for the lift a little too angrily.

Bump into a colleague downstairs, who proceeds to have a lovely chat on her mobile to her son. 'Why don't I feel like having a kid, maybe that might help' I consider, as she chats away. From the doorway of Madigans, a dodgy pub on Abbey Street, a heavily pregnant woman stumbles, and I reconsider.

The bus takes ages, and then the driver is one of those deliriously bubbly types who knows everyone and must screech to a halt at regular junctures to shout 'What the fcck are you doing here, you Ccnt?!' in a jovial manner.

I'm getting sick of my cynacism at this stage, and endeavour to quiet my little rain-cloud of doom by reading the Village.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the Village, it's probably my favourite Irish publication at the moment (not that that is much of a compliment, as I'm currently going through a sneer-fest of sorts towards Irish publications - but don't mind me, I'm not the worlds brightest on what should be considered an erudite recontre of topical world events, especially given my geographic dyslexia and general attention span of a dying flea, but I digress).

Anyway, even the Village is making me tired and bored of Ireland. Even the sun, which is streaming in the windows of the 19 bus, even the gang of teens down the back, who (surprisingly aren't smoking smack) are quoting witty quips in normal people (as opposed to skang) Dublin accents from one of my fav films Zoolander, serve to annoy me.

As I get closer to home, my mood deteriorates.

Before my bus-stop the (sappy) bus-driver really annoys me with his attempt to bunny-hop over the ramps and his overly enthusiastic taking of corners. I revolt by not saying 'thank you' - ha, bet you felt the burn driver.

At the bus-stop the woman ahead of me is deserving of derision due to her white coat with it's sort of patterned effect. I'm not quite why, as now that I think about it, it was a nice coat, but for some reason this is just the icing on the day I've had.

Inside the house, I flail around in a manner befitting Harry Enfield's Kevin character. I sit down, stand up, ring my friend, moan, sit down, read the Village, stand up, cook pasta, and wander aimlessly between kitchen and sitting-room.

Now I'll come clean. All the time I'm suffering from withdrawal symptoms.

But nothing will help. I smoke a cigarette and read the Review from last Saturday's Guardian, doesn't work. I flail some more. Still it stares at me, even when I'm not in the room. With it's big shiny glass paned face, it says 'Come on Aoife'. It tries to lull me in, saying 'you know we're better when we're hanging out together. I'll make you forget everything'.

I run screaming (silently - and not so much a run as a sort-of-walk-stagger, don't want to be too dramatic), and fumble about, eventually writing this rambling diatribe.

But I know it's down there. In the sitting-room. Willing me to turn it on. Heaven (or the TV guide) only knows what Property or Kids Acting Out or CSI programme is lurking inside to lull me into a soma-like dream.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Long Hall

'I love this pub' she said, 'we used to come here, Shay and me.'

We've had a nice evening - saw a play, few pints in Grogan's. It's getting late, and we wind up in The Long Hall.

'Oh, no, you wouldn't know him - he was my first boyfriend, before you know who. I don't think I've even told you about him yet. We used to come here all the time, haven't really been here in ages'.

She looked into the glass.

'I've had the best times here - once, I came here, it was without Shay, just out with some mates. Well, it was one of those nights, you know, where you meet someone'.

Looking up, smiling as she caught my eyes, her face suddenly fell.

'Nothing happened - it wasn't that type of thing - I didn't do anything. He was just, you know, it was one of those times, we just got on together'.

Like I would care whether she did the dirt or not. Why this propriety? I don't even know her, her ex, either of them. It seems clear she puts boundaries on herself.

Suddenly the drink seems flat, danger and excitment of making a new friend turns into something predictable - dull and regimented, and I wonder what I've said, what thoughts I should have censored.

Yesterday or maybe the day before, over some wine, my best friend and I discussed how hard it is to meet anyone anymore. Not talking about sex, more the meeting of minds, that openness and connection that used to be easy. I blaimed myself then, but I'm not sure anymore, maybe I'm up for it but the people I meet aren't.

I look at my watch, 'isn't your night-link going at two?' I say.

>She looks down too 'Jesus you're right' she says.

We leave. I feel tired.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Sibhe rarely looked up whilst drinking her coffee, felt it caused too much confusion, for her and for the staff. Mostly her mind focussed on trivial things - the day to day - but when she sat in a café, reading a book, she was able to enter a larger world.

Years before she had sworn she wouldn't regret anything, but something niggled. It wasn't the sex she missed with Rob, although everyone gets lonely from time to time, they were fond memories. She missed his eyes, the way he looked at her. And the fling with that married boss of hers, she could barely remember his name, on purpose, it was ill-fitting and trivialised the adventure and danger, probably the most exciting of her life.

And there was that invitation she had years ago, when her friend had said, 'why not just come away with me, I'm going anyway, what have you to lose?'. The ties had seemed real though, what were they again - was it her job or the cat?

Today she was feeling honest, she wasn't sure Rob had ever looked at her that way. A combination of books, romantic films, advertisements for a wide array of products, from burgers to international travel, had probably evoked a false memory.

Each time, when she sat in a café, like now, it seemed as though the idea had been the best part. Sitting head down, peering into the book, was fretful. Always, maybe to overcome this, she tried to vary her pattern, didn't want to be known, for being a woman, sitting alone routinely, head stuck in a book. She didn't want to have to imagine what the staff would think.

Maybe she regretted it all, she often felt a sense of loss, for that young woman she had been. Was she ever that young woman though, thinking back on it - the years seemed to blur into one quick continuum, insignificant really. It was as though she had always been waiting, and here she was, at a destination she had never imagined.

She could plan a trip to visit her friend now, but it would never be the same, what with all the children and noise. There would be no space for the coffees and endless conversations. And she never wanted to really meet any of the men again, even either of the sincere ones, who apparently loved her.

It wasn't as though she didn't try to live in the present. Last summer she had visited the Amalfi Coast alone, craving the feeling of independence and fulfilment, but it had been mostly awkward, and barely a man had looked her direction.

Beforehand, as she was pre-playing the worst case scenario, she had imagined they would look at her with pity, but the reality had been far more benign and disinterested.

A genuine regret may have been that, while she had her share, there had been too little sex, and she hadn't enjoyed it as much as she might have. Some more connections would have given her more to look back on now with a fond eye. Laughably, at the time, she had imagined herself loose, on the verge of having a reputation, marking herself out of being desirable. If there was advice she could give, had she a niece, it would be to live it loudly, to follow each adventure.

Regret wasn't her thing though, and besides, there was no niece to confide in. So, as her coffee cooled she sat, head in the book, in a new café, plotting the next adventure, which might, after all provide her with dreams to savour for the rest of the year.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Funk Soul Brother

London was ace. All my fears were unfounded. My friends were in great form, the sun was casting a yellow filter over a beautiful city, strangers were chatting to us, there was a smile on faces all around.

A city of 14+ million wasn't reeling, as I'd imagined I would have been, in the confusion following the bombings. Instead, there were people reaching out to one another. Previously I'd felt like a stranger bumbling around in a messy, disinterested, hard place. Last week I was embraced into one of the most culturally diverse cities in the western hemisphere.

Coming home to Dublin was hard. Discussing my city was painful, having to acknowledge the cruel reality of a city where attainment - property, cars, careers, beauty, prestige - is the currency of many conversations. I defended her strongly, I'd like to question why, but inwardly, I've really begun to have my doubts.

For so many years, I've sat in company, saying how important it is to love where you're from, because that is part of who you are. Maybe there is no perfection, maybe it is alright to buy into that old cliche of hating Ireland. Even yesterday, as I screamed my throat raw and watched Dublin, warrior-like, eventually struggle to beat Laois, I had my doubts about whether my city is really my home anymore.

The harsh reality of growing older is that your old ideals, beliefs, are easily challenged as life gradually blurs the colours into a mute grey. Would it be such a shock to my friends, if the defender of their home-town finally sold up shop and moved to Berlin? Would they even notice, as their lives are gradually subsumed into the blandness of deciding which Tesco Finest dinner to shove in the microwave after a tough day in the office. A reality which I have lived through for the past five years, as everyone else strode bravely across continents.

Now, finally, I begin to think that my painfully shy frame could worry itself out of worrying for long enough to leave for a while. I mention it to my friend, she who travelled further and for longer than anyone else, and am advised that selling my house wouldn't be a bright move. In terms of the attainment, I was the first onto the property ladder, the first to sell my freedom. Is this preemptive middle age, that is making me think it might be time for me to give it away, to run away from these constraints? After all, was it not I who talked first of broodiness, only to decide yesterday, after less than 24 hours with a 7 year old, that having children may be much further into the future for me than anyone else of my friends?

Imagine though, the adventure I could have, living in Berlin, finally learning passable German, drinking good beer, making new friends, seeing new places. Maybe time has been called for me in Dublin - this city doesn't need me and my idealistic, naive ideas. I'm outmoded in this city of nouveau riche values and consumer durables. I don't care enough about furniture, fast moving consumer goods, spiralling debt, bad public transport, grumpy angry faces.

If I stay here too long, then maybe I'll become numb, able only to browse and watch crap TV. The conversations are great, but it seems like an hourglass counting down until it's just the occasional christening or wedding ceremony, where everyone drinks themselves angry and noone has the energy to dance. Where the talk amongst the women will be of weightwatchers and soap operas.

I want to go somewhere where I can still feel my feet groove to the sound of good music. I want to look splendid in old age, my eyes wise from all the different voices I've listened to. I don't care if my tax is high if my neighbour can enjoy a beer with me. Maybe the thing is that I don't fit in here anymore, and Dublin isn't about to change, so maybe I don't have a choice, maybe I just have to get away.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Few days in London Town

Tomorrow am, I'm heading off for a few days to meet up with friends in London. Was looking forward to it, still am I guess, but think its a pity I'm going now. Although, talking to my mate, she says its business as usual, that she was touring around on a bus with other visitors last weekend.

They seem to be making real headway with the investigation - some people from around Leeds direction apparently. Makes little or no sense to me. Not that suicide bombing ever does, but your own fellow country-menwomenchildrengranniesuncles?

Hopefully there will be lots of chats, coffees, laughs, beers, lying around in parks, soulful late night conversations. Good food, nice wine, some markets, maybe a gallery or museum. The usual few days in London, enjoying what it is best for. Sometimes wondering why when I'm in London the hectic pace of life in Dublin seems so slow. Maybe again I'll be struck by how spread out the city is, with all those little boroughs, like villages clustering upon one and other. I'll deffo miss faradaytheblob though! But its only a few days...(big xx to f.t.b - apols, but I'm a soppy git, I know)

Keep you posted - who knows, I might even blog from there (although, I'll have to have a nefarious reason to get away from the mates for a few mo's!)

Monday, July 11, 2005

Monday Morning...

Today is special already and I'm spooked. Never do I wake up voluntarily, never do I jump out of bed early.

That's not true. I'm still a sucker for birthdays and christmas, but that's not cool - shows a certain reluctance to grow up - so lets just say, it is very rare that I find:

1. the sun is streaming through the window, and it causes me to wake
2. this is not a source of annoyance to me, which is unusual
3. especially when you consider how much wine (white, red, champagne, you name it, I'm not fussy) I drank at the barbeque last night
4. and the vast variety of alcohol I injested all weekend
5. and the fact that my stomach feels like a leaden weight of barbequed grease
6. despite this, I leap (somewhat shakily - my head's fuzzy) out of said bed
7. even though there is the prospect of lazy cuddles half asleep beside me
8. and here I sit, confused, tapping on the keyboard.

A very strange day indeed. Being morbid, despite the leaping (no I'm not a leaping nun, I mean out of bed), I'm now beginning to feel uneasy, a bit look over the shoulder and shiverish.

Maybe this is why people such as I sleep in all the time. Perhaps there is a reason why people like me sleep in - maybe I've messed with the world's buzz, in some sort of chaos theory, butterfly (insert Irish elephant girl) wings flapping way.

Now I'm very freaked. Maybe I should go back to bed and sleep it out.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Suffers

Just another day. Coffee and a croissant. The phone rings, emails flash into my in-box. Buzz of the office begins, queries flood in. And then my mother, on the phone, 'you've heard...about London?'

Lights flashing, hundreds of lives change direction in seconds. Thousands - families, friends, sworn enemies, innocent bystanders, aquaintances - all affected by the work of some small sum of people.

Hatred. How can you justify hatred if you've never even met?

My friend's father, 'she just wanted you to know she's ok'. My friend, 'you're visiting there next week, aren't you?' Words, weariness, confusion, sadness.

Photographs on websites. News isn't coming in fast enough. People's accounts of where they were, endlessly spill over the radio waves. How many dead? How many injured. Comparisons with New York and Madrid. Analysis - G8, Olympics - the UK was on the up, they were the media darlings.

Why won't it just end, can't we just put it aside and stand alongside one another. I don't want this to be the story of my generation, some squalid bombing that broke a mother's heart, that made a child fatherless, that broke some precious innocence.

Can't we decide that this is the time to create a new world view, where we stand alongside one another? Finally, after all this blood has been shed, needlessly, can't we just stand together and say 'I want to be here to see my children grow old, to complain that the music isn't as funky, the dancing isn't as frenzied, the young folks aren't as sexy as in my day?'

That's my vision. This needless violence, that leaves a bad taste in the world's mouth is someone elses vision. Stop standing in my viewfinder. Let me stand tall and hold my beliefs. London is suffering tonight. Needlessly.

My heart is with you. I hold out the hope that this will end soon.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Cheap Sushi

What's with the cheap sushi in AYA after 10pm? I like AYA, and I partake of sushi (normally that '55' deal - where you get as much sushi as you want for 55 mins plus a beverage plus a miso soup if you're into it - typically this involves me and three of my lovely thin girlfriends, who all tell sad, tragic, and occasionally crackingly hilarious tales of love, whilst occasionally sipping on the miso, whilst I end up piling plates around me like some kind of manic kids delph factory and gulping down the white wine).

I had heard of this deal, and I guess I kind of nodded along, and meant to take part at some point in this 'bargain' eating, but never was bothered until yesterday when my mate and I found ourselves tottering around after five Coronas too many. Stumbling our way from Maguires on Baggot Street, we eventually mastered the automatic door at AYA, only to be told to go away and come back in ten minutes. Not quite sure why, we made our way in the general direction of nowhere, conversation depleted due to aforementioned walk, we busily caught up on our text messages, and then after five minutes turned around and went back.

'What do we do?' we asked. 'All plates €1.25, doesn't matter what colour'. Grand say we and begin the glutton fest. Which was great. Until we began to think - why is all this Sushi left over? There was oceans (pardon the pun) flooding out - sushi stacked like a card house. Where was it coming from? How long had it been there? Why was food going cheap in An Lár (Dublin City Centre)? What was our problem? Suspicions grew.

But the bill was nice and low, so I guess it's not such a bad idea. Although, I did feel a bit queasy at 3.30am... but that was probably just the wine, beer, smokes and exhausting night of excellent chats.

In other news - I'm going to London next week for a few days. Yippee!

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