DIARY OF A DEMENTED HOME WORKER: Listen here! Beware of busybody phones

November 28th, 2021 6:25 PM

By Emma Connolly

My busybody phone has been listening in on my conversations this week. Cheeky! So too are the Derry Girls which I love, almost as much as I’d love a whizz down a piste or two.

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DIARY OF A DEMENTED HOME WORKER It’s week 90 and I’ve gone mad for antigen tests, Lotto tickets and Derry Girls, and just a bit mad in general

• I’M not sure how or when exactly, but I’ve developed a bit of a dependency on antigen tests. It’s like if in doubt, stick the little yoke up your nose (take it higher!), swirl it all around and wait for what will hopefully be your green light. I am vaccinated but I think with numbers the way they are right now, combined with an unnerving amount of seasonal coughs and colds, I’m looking for that bit of extra reassurance. To be honest, this past week I’ve felt that my head is a bit melted from the whole thing, like I’m living on my very last nerve  – and I’m nowhere near the all-important frontline. In fact I’m mainly hiding behind the couch with a cushion over my head. Send help. Or a few more antigen tests, at the very least.

• And just like that, of course, we’re all working from home again. The worst bit of that is that I’m reminded once more, thanks to Zoom, of how large my nose is, and how wonky my teeth are. It’s wildly distracting at meetings, not just for me, but for everyone else too, I’d imagine. I’m convinced middle aged spread has impacted, not just my waist, but also my nose. Maybe I just never ‘Zoomed’ in on it enough? Or maybe it’s from all those antigen tests I’ve been doing?

• Seriousl,y though, I had been really enjoying my hybrid working week, and loving the sense of solidarity that came from being back in the office. I wouldn’t call the atmosphere warm, as we had all the windows open, but we had a great team spirit going on. Granted we couldn’t make each other a cuppa, and there was no loitering at the water cooler, but there were those nice exchanges along the lines of ‘did you hear that on the radio this morning …,’ or ‘were you watching that on TV last night ...’ The kind of thing that gets lost in translation when you have to email over and back. I also find that a bad day in the office is never as bad as a bad day in the home office where the tendency (mine at least) to catastrophise the smallest thing is huge. I also find my home IT dept (me) is not up to the job (‘control, alt, delete’ is not the solution for everything, it seems), so let’s hope this is a shortlived step back. Although, given the time of year, it could be ever so handy to be home for a little while to sign for all those deliveries.

• Speaking of which, my husband was asking me the other day what I’d like for Christmas. He suggested perfume. Now, normally I’d go straight to a level 10 freak out at such a lack of originality but as I’m all out, I gave it the green light. He suggested getting me my wedding perfume which I think I loved more than anyone or anything on the big day. It was worn by Princess Grace on her own wedding day (c’mon! You get special dispensation for being a right old sickener when you’re getting married!) and I adored it. Anyway, I’m going some place with this (as opposed to an indulgent trip down memory lane), a few hours later what pops up on my social media feed other than several ads for said perfume. I know this happens all the time, but it always leaves me totally flabbergasted. I can’t shake the image of people sitting in a room some place with a glass up to the wall, eavesdropping on me. ‘Oooh! Did you hear what she just said to her friend about her husband, that’s not very fair now, is it? By the way did you write down what perfume she wants’ sort of thing. Obviously I realise there aren’t people earwigging on me (there aren’t, right?), it’s just some algorithm joining the dots, but it’s still pretty freaky. I’m going to take the really juicy chats out the back to be on the safe side from now on I think.

• Sticking with all things festive, I’m very late to the hit series Derry Girls (finger on the pulse, that’s me), but am really enjoying it and loved a reference in one episode I saw recently about ‘the Christmas press.’ The girls had raided it and not surprisingly there was hell to pay. It took me right back. Growing up in the 80s, it was the soft drinks that were stockpiled in the weeks leading up to Christmas in our  house. The collection would grow every week and by the time the 25th came around there was enough fizz to blow your mind (and the roof off the place). Club Orange (more subtle than Fanta), Ginger Ale, Red Lemonade and Lilt were the big hits. And when they were gone, they were gone, for another whole year. It’s just good housekeeping really to get ahead, but a bit like the Derry Girls I not sure I’d have the self control to keep out of it.

• What I have gone mad buying though is Lotto tickets, since the top prize hasn’t been won since June. I’ve really taken to heart the ‘if you’re not in, you can’t win’ approach, so much so that if someone (preferably me) doesn’t win the lot soon I’m in danger of bankrupting myself. That was another great thing about being in the office, resurrecting the work Lotto. We had a €10 win last week (between the lot of us); not enough to log off just yet, or share some more honest feedback with the boss, but there’s always another shot.

• Finally, Cork Airport has reopened with its refurbished runway. Meanwhile, French mountain resorts are also reopening for the first time since Covid hit last season. Can you see where I’m going with this? Forget the perfume, maybe I should start talking up the delights of a ski holiday in earshot of my husband’s phone? Or would that just be taking the ‘piste’ the way things are looking right now?

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