DIARY OF A DEMENTED HOME WORKER: Week 22 and the sunshine was a welcome distraction but how things are going to play out over the next few weeks is anyone’s guess at this stage really
• YOU know you’ve reached peak middle-age when you bring a deck chair to the beach – those folding ones with the little cup holder. Except you don’t usually allow yourself a cuppa as it means there’ll be an inevitable loo ‘situation’ so you put your car keys in there instead for safekeeping. Anyway, as I sat on my own deck chair on one of those gift days of the past week (and lamented not bringing the flask of tea to make the moment truly Kodak), a few things struck me as I gazed out to sea…
• Firstly, in the words of everyone I’d met that day, I agreed, why would you want to be anywhere else in the world? Thanks for all those emails letting me know my options Ryanair, but we were the luckiest people in all of Ireland. And that’s probably why we were surrounded by people from all over Ireland, if the jerseys being sported on the packed strand were anything to go by. There were club names and colour combinations from far-flung destinations including Naas, Kerry and Tipperary. And as young and old pucked sliotars over and back, it was hard not to feel anything but solidarity, that we’d rise above Covid-19, and that in the meantime we were all in it together. I may have had a touch of sunstroke, but right in that moment it felt great.
• Of course if you were from poor old land-locked Offaly, Kildare or Laois it would have been hard to be as upbeat. The only wave hitting them was the dreaded second one which had cometh. You’d have to feel for them all in the three counties as it’s really a case of there but for the grace of God go any of us. If any of them had the stomach to even venture out for a picnic, they’d be totally forgiven for passing on the ham sangers.
• Oh, and to be completely honest, my beach day wasn’t entirely without its challenges, either. A group of twenty somethings sat so close to us that they might as well have been on my lap and one of them had the most obnoxious BO which even a dip in the ocean couldn’t completely sort. They did provide some light entertainment, though, when they started meditating, (swear to God), but my daughter ruined the moment when she pointed at the lady on our other side and said loudly: ‘That woman there just said “Jesus.”’ If I hadn’t felt like taking a dip, I did then.
• Things picked up again shortly after when a ripple of excitement (note, not a ripple of Covid cases) went through the beach. The Real Taoiseach had arrived, Micheal Martin was among us. It actually wasn’t that huge a deal as he holidays locally, and judging by the posing and preening among a certain age group, there was far more interest in the possibility of his son being with him. Not me obviously, I was still fixated on not bringing the flask.
• Anyway, back to my daughter who has now decided that she loves ‘the virus’ because it means I now apparently work from home. She’s obviously heard me talking about the return to … nearly said work there (hah!), I mean the office and isn’t too impressed at the thoughts of losing her on-call slave. But she’s not alone. Lots of people have a bit of anxiety brewing on that front. It’s strange because six months ago the same people probably would have crawled on their hands and knees to get back to their desks. It’s crazy how fast we build new habits. I think lots of us have forgotten a time when we didn’t have to play Barbie while working, and days when a lunch break actually involved eating lunch. That’s what working life looked like six months ago, remember?
• But of course if it was as simple as that, we’d be laughing. It would be as if none of this really happened, and it was just a little ‘time out’ for us all. There are now serious obstacles in our way including childcare, health concerns and the fluctuating number of Covid cases. It’s like those early days all over again when we awaited the daily dispatch with a knot in our stomachs, except this time we don’t even have Dr Tony. I think I’ll go back to the beach and ask to join in on the meditation.