Friday, June 24, 2011


"What would a man... who's looking down on us all... from 200 miles up in the sky... think of us? Us here tonight... this nation... these countries without borders... all our conflicts muted..."

Oh shut up, Bono.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Waiting Room

I don't fall sick that often, I just seem to write about it whenever I do. I'm pretty sure I wrote about something a few weeks ago that left me, then came back, then left again.

Then I drank it back into myself, or tempted it back up with one of those great weekends of wellness and love and the best blinkin' rib eye of my life, because yesterday I felt like death.

The ear, you see.

Herself hates an earache above all other things and says that nothing feels more invasive. I could relate so, this being a week where I need my brain for the actual pursuit of professional recovery, I rang the doctor's office on Suffolk Street and begged for a review, cheaper than a consultation.

I ouched my way up to town and walked up the stairs to the surgery. My usual waiting seat by the window was taken so I sat beside a hock snotting rugby dick of the highest order, all lime jumper, pink shirt and guttural abomination.

I wish I didn't hate strangers so easily, so quickly, but jaysus I took against this lad before my arse met the chair. He was sitting there, hocking and sniffing at three second intervals, and not so much turning the pages of his Metro Herald as doing war with it.

It was his obliviousness that got to me, the noises coming out of him without even the slightest idea of other people in the room. I wondered if punching him in the nose might soften his cough, or if I should simply just take the box of tissues from the window sill and jam it down his craw.

I did neither, of course, because I'm happier holding on to my anger and rolling my eyes like a disapproving grandmother.

A woman with a baby came into the room and I offered up my seat, which she took, before the musical chairs continued and I managed to snaffle the window seat.

I was facing him at this stage. The chair beside him was now free but instead of offering it to one of the three or four people who came in, looked around and walked back out again to stand in the hallway, he just used it as a resting spot for his discarded supplements, leaflets and free morning newspaper.

The receptionist came in to ask if he could remove the papers and free up the seat but he just ignored her, staring out the window, dreaming no doubt of Mother Leinster. She had to fangle her way around him and clear up his mess herself, while I silently defenestrated the prick from across the room.

I blame the parents.

Monday, June 06, 2011

The who, the what, the where and the when

I wish I was in a John Hughes film, running amok through these corridors and setting small, inconsequential fires to things. Affecting some kind of war cry and flirting with Molly Ringwald, every last gingery bit of her.

I'm not, though, and the fun of that rebellion is killed by knowing that I'm allowed to do whatever I want in this place. There's no Skinneresque presence to ratchet up the detention with brusque abandon and I'm, sadly, far too grown up to be a teenager.

I'm in work, and there's nobody else here. I swear I'd doss if the best way to pass the hours wasn't just getting on with it, filing one lovely piece of journalism after another and coupling it with the grunt work. The racing results. That pox of a thing.

This, at least, is the time where I eat that limp little Spar sandwich of turkey, stuffing and a bit too much squeezy mayonnaise and let myself write without quite so many rules.

Typing without the who, the what, the where and the when.

Bring on 5pm and the freedom to, once again, seek a better station for myself and worry when it doesn't happen immediately. Freedom to see and speak to human beings who don't curse every time a Bank Holiday rolls around without the lure of double pay.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Saturday stereotype

I sat down beside him and his Powerade bottle on the Luas and I dreaded to think of the concoction therein. Is methadone distributed in sports bottles, mixed with the fluourescent dregs to give birth to some lovely, numbing potion?

I decided I didn't care.

He looked like an IKEA lamp, a rake thin shaft leading up to something bulbous and gap toothed. Dressed in some ripped, grey tracksuit bottoms with a dirt and yellow trim, he didn't smell of anything.

As people filed on and off - Smithfield, Jervis, Sráid na Mainistreach - I started noticing other things until he shuffled beside me, touching off my shoulder once or twice before he produced his iPhone 4, replete with handset.

He ran his heroin fingers over the touchscreen with a nimble ability that freaked me right the fuck out, before fixing the earpieces in and waiting for his call to be taken.

"Hi Simon," he said. "I'm just heading down to The Point now. Yeah... Yeah... Sorry I'm late dude but you focking have to go to Bloom. Seriously man, you will NOT regret it..."

Simon says something.

"... yeah... yeah... Phoenix Park. In fairness the Neven Maguire expo was fucking wedged but totally worth it dude. I'm heading back down tomorrow, you on?"

I'd say that Simon, given the gusto displayed by my emaciated friend, was very much on but I had to get off the shiny train and go back about my day of nothing much at all.

May they wear their Factors 15 with pride.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Closed on Sunday's

'No eating or drinking on the premisis.'

Oh my gentle Jesus.

Without getting into the whys and the wherefores of my approximation to this dose of broken English - let's call it an office in some outsourced version of hell - it gave me great comfort and I texted herself immediately. If you think I'm pernickety...

"Get off that premisis, you might fall into the abiss," came the response and I chuckled among the sickly faces, the form fillers and the Casual Fridays.

The times are lean enough without students to admonish and corrections to turn red, so I figured if I became a sign fixer for twenty euro a pop I wouldn't have to ration out the Special K quite so frugally, I would not need to rewash and recycle those J-clothes to within an inch of their tattered lives.

A sign fixer, yes. A rediscoverer of absent apostrophes, a restorer of reputation to the businesses that really ought to know better, a quieter of pedantic bastards like myself who love nothing more than to frown on the stupidity of others. A good career.

"He was a fine man, he knew his plurals from his possessives and he was fondly thought of because of it."

The worst I ever saw came a couple of years ago. There I was, reciting the Greek alphabet to myself on a sunny Sunday on St. Stephen's Green when I double took like I've never double taken before.

"What the fuck?" I what the fucked to myself.

"Ah here, ah Jaysus..." and I took a picture to prove how I'm far cleverer than a billboard.

Shanahan's restaurant, that place of quality moo for a small remortgage, had a sign in its window, white on black, that would have had my grandfather spitting and blinding at The Irish Times' letters page.

"We are closed on Sunday's."

I will do it, please let me do it, please let me fix up Dublin's typographical errors for a small fee, a daily lunch allowance, the price of a red pen and a brand new stick of literary justice. I will not let anyone down.