Saturday 1 October 2016

A case of the subterranean homesick blues

Published 31/08/2015 | 02:30

I wake up in the morning feeling tired and brain dead. I sleepwalk to the shower, which wakes me up a little bit but still, after wrapping my head in a towel I can't help but feel something is different today, like I'm weirder than normal.

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Like a sad robot in a dressing gown I plod downstairs and automatically flick on the kettle even though I'm not thirsty. I look at the fridge, then back at the toaster, but I'm not hungry either.

Standing on the Tube to work, with my face wedged closer to a man's suited armpit than is my natural preference, I begin to feel a strange stinging sensation in my cheeks. Holy crap, I think I'm going to cry. In public.

I remember my mother's advice for controlling unwanted tears - which is to focus the mind on the image of a bowl of cold, lumpy porridge, but that makes me think of Oliver Twist, and then the plight of orphans and global childhood poverty and I feel my tear ducts twinge again.

Instead of porridge, I fix my concentration on the woman in front of me. She is engrossed in geometric neon game on her phone. I watch her, trance like, for a while but then I feel deeply sad that this lady will probably die with an excellent Candy Crush Saga score but having never read Pride and Prejudice. I'm pondering if I could make millions by adapting the works of Jane Austen into a series of mobile games when two pebble size globules spring from my eyes and roll down my face. Maybe there is something wrong with my sinuses? As I walk towards the office, I pass a forklift driver drinking tea from a polystyrene cup and smoking a fag. He meets my eye and says 'Morning love', at which point I bury my face in my sleeves and run past him, trying to hold in my now gushing tears. 'Silly hormones', I think as I dry my eyes in the loo. At my desk, trying to figure out what the hell is going on in my usually pragmatic mind, I find myself searching for cheap Ryanair flights to Cork. Oh god, maybe I'm homesick?

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