WOMAN ON THE VERGE: September sniffles spark Covid memories

September 27th, 2022 3:30 PM

By Emma Connolly

Can anyone remember how we managed without WhatsApp? Me either! One of life’s most useful inventions surely, along with antigen tests, which I had to dig out again this week, like an unwelcome blast from the past.

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• THESE crisp September mornings are lovely aren’t they? There’s that subtle nip in the air, a bit of green finally returning to the grass and the odd crunch of a leaf underfoot (that could still be because of the summer drought, but who cares). Of course the weather is so nuts that by lunchtime it’s usually absolutely roasting again (the dratted flies are back out) and you’re seriously regretting your choice of outfit, but it will shorten the winter all the same. Speaking of which, and don’t kill me now, but I am very much ready for the winter, the woollies, the coats and boots, mainly because I have never mastered the art of transitional dressing. Be honest, has anyone really? It’s a bit like that ‘desk to drinks’ concept that we read about in magazines. Remove your blazer and add a pair of earrings and you’re supposedly good to go. Yeah right like! ‘Drinks to desk’ is something I’m getting a much clearer visual on though. What? Just joking (no need to contact HR on me, jeepers).

• Anyway, the other day my daughter randomly asked how we managed to meet up with people, like at the cinema, before we had mobile phones. She asked this as we were waiting to meet cousins at the cinema, by which point we had exchanged roughly 33 WhatsApp messages with them about our location, their location, their estimated time of arrival, their preferred choice of snacks, salted or buttered popcorn, how they had slept the night before, their latest thoughts on the Queen’s passing, would we go out for tea afterwards, and best place to park. It got me thinking: how did we actually manage to meet up with anyone before mobiles? From what I remember we just made a plan and stuck with it which meant there was no option to say you were running late, or dare I say it, to cancel at the last minute. God, life was tough back then and we didn’t even realise it.

• That question got me thinking about other things that are as ubiquitous now as WhatsApp, but that we didn’t have not too long ago. Two things that came to mind immediately were bottled water and take-out coffee. I’m certain I never drank a drop of water in my twenties. It never even occurred to me, and now it’s the norm to have a bottle (non-single use plastic of course) to hand at all times. We all (myself included) panic if we forget our water bottle (not as much as your phone, but there’s still an increase in the heart rate) as if we’re going to instantly dehydrate on the spot, shrivel up and die. It’s the same for coffee. If I’m going on a journey longer than five miles I have to bring a keep-cup of caffeine with me just to survive. Gas. How did we even stay alive or awake in the 90s? Pats on the back all round – we’re clearly tougher than we think.

• I was on last week about bricks and mortar shopping and I gave it a go, and it was absolutely fabulous. The other day I had 30 minutes to find a ‘rig-out’ and I literally gave myself over to two boutique owning sisters who had me decked out in 23.7 minutes flat, with enough time left over for a friendly chat. There was serious joy sparked. To be honest, I had a less than brilliant experience in another shop where the owner who was at least a decade older than me, said when I was trying something on that ‘at our age it’s natural there’ll be a few lumps and bumps here and there.’ Less joy sparked there (and no money exchanged hands). Also after losing sleep trying to find a pair of earrings online, I went to an local jewellers to get an old pair repaired. It was such a pleasant, speedy and affordable experience that I’m now searching drawers hoping to find some other broken pieces, just so I can go back. I think we all agree it’s going to be a lean winter but let’s all do our best to keep local retailers open.

• Typically, just a few weeks into the school term and the six year old got herself a stinking head cold. I’m only mentioning it as I was really surprised by her reaction to it. She asked for an antigen test, and insisted I tell her teacher it was negative, even if it made me sound like a bit of a loon in the process. There’s obviously some Covid legacy stuff lingering on for our smallies, the poor mites. Speaking of which, I’d nearly be more put out if she got headlice.

• Finally, the mood in the parish is ebullient. We’re in a West Cork final and the excitement is epic. I’ll admit to being the  fairest of all the fair weather supporters and until five minutes ago I thought we were in a county final, and I wasn’t certain if it was hurling or football (it’s the latter). But while my knowledge is sketchy, there’s no doubt about my enthusiasm. We’ve the flags outside the house and on the car mirrors (of course!), and come Sunday we’ll be making the sandwiches (the game is only over the road but what about it) and setting the bonfires. I never togged off in my life but I’m so grateful to the whole squad for the lift it’s giving to young and old and people like me who don’t get usually hugely excited about anything! C’mon Rangers!

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