"Jaysus, the costa' Costa Coffee coffee... And no, the joke isn't old yet."
At €3.30 for a Flat White I feel I'm allowed to labour the point, drag the arse out of a quip I first made six, seven, eight weeks ago. She'll be tutting in company for years to come but these are the breaks. The drawbacks. The prices you pay for picking someone who still laughs at funnies from 1986.
I curse the absence of a window seat as it was the only reason I chose this gaudy, faux homely café in the first place. I like to look at Dame Street, to quietly judge the suits, the dealmakers, the people who can't look anywhere but straight ahead for fear of wasting time.
Pearl Jam plays in my ears, then Sinatra, followed by something that makes me tap the fast forward button six or seven times. I settle on Ludovico Einaudi so I can marvel at my own eclecticism but then the drowning comes.
I later discover it to be Rihanna and a ballad about king size beds. The volume is way up and my coffee at about €2.70 of its full value. I turn off the iPod, resign myself to the emoting overhead and try to lip-read the conversation at the next table.
He looks like Diarmaid Ferriter and she's heading to Chicago on the day of the election, so whatever business they have must be concluded "pow wow" or else going forward the world will collapse, or have fewer shoes, or whatever. I lose interest.
I make a note in my phone about HR people and what they go home to, how they live their lives when they're not going forward, whether they manage to shake off their awfulness before crossing the threshold. I file it away.
The window seat empties and I take its space, taking care not to spill the contents of my coffee cup on something that should be wood but probably isn't. I stay where I am because I'm afraid of my couch, my telly, of Ivan Answer and his call centre capos, of the fact that I'll find nothing to do on this day off but find things to shout at, and eat sweets.
I think of the move. Of my stuff in the wardrobe. Of my duvet and iron and other pieces of my life to be discarded and thought about and, yes, discarded anyway. I think of my teeth and the three fillings needed. I think of my eyes and the new glasses needed. I think of my head and the MRI needed. I think of my stuff and the new life that's needed.
I think that I'll write something again, third person it, make it not me and that I'll do that as soon as this coffee is done. This pricey bastard of a coffee and its reminder of so much to make happen.