Thursday 19 April 2018

Leaving for Chile

By Viv McDade

No, I can't talk louder, Mam. Because I'm on the train. Yes, one o'clock, but it'll be later. Because we left late, that's why. Everyone's standing on platform one and they go,

The train to Sligo will now be leaving from platform three. Typical. They can't get anything right in this place. Yes, they rang and told me I'm shortlisted and would it be okay to check my references, so I said grand. Nearly a week ago now so I'm not counting on anything. Because I didn't want you getting your hopes up, Mam, that's why. If I get it, I get it. If I don't, I'm on that plane to Chile. Well, like I keep telling you, why not Chile? For a start they've brilliant beaches there and loads of cultural stuff going on. Ruins and archaeology and all that. Christmas? Christmas is nothing as far as I'm concerned, Mam. Yeah, I know but I'm not here to make up numbers. Look, I gotta go.

Fran, it's Sinead. I don't know, I honestly don't. I messed up on the interview big time. It's weird. I didn't sleep very well, woke up not feeling grounded. But they rang me anyway and I'm on the shortlist so we'll see how it goes. I usually do really, really well at interviews, so it's weird. It's like I've lost a bit of confidence or something. They said they'd definitely let me know one way or the other this week. Yeah, but let's face it, there isn't much of Friday left. That's Ireland for you, as far as I'm concerned. No, the only ones I've heard from are Ciaran and Maura. They've pissed off. Yeah, London. Who the fuck needs it. I'll tell you though, anywhere's better than this dump. Chile's still number one for me. You should think about it yourself, Fran. Why wreck your head here? Seriously, I've heard only good things. Hey, there's a call coming in. Might be the job.

Hey, Anne, how are you? On the train to Sligo. Just for the weekend, calm the parents down. No, they're fine really, just my mother phones me every five minutes. The nervous type, always has been. Drives me mad. God, I hope I don't inherit that when I get old. Yes, I know. I know she is, but you try living with her. It's €10 to Sligo out of hours. No, it's not bad, convenient while I'm living out of hours anyway. No, €10 each way. You're dead right, it does add up. Surprisingly full really. No, most of them don't look unemployed or old or anything weird like that. They look more or less like normal people. Yeah, I think it went okay. They've asked for my references so that's a good sign. Look, Anne, thanks a million. Of course you'll be the first to know. Have to go in case they try to get me about the job.

Hey, Der. This is some surprise! No, no, great timing. I'm on the train to Sligo. Yeah, home for the weekend. You know the way. Has to be done. Oh, cool, really cool. Yeah, I'm certain there'll be a room. I'm not a hundred per cent sure which one at this stage because we're going to have a bit of a room shuffle. One of the girls is into art and she wants better light. €275. Yes really, that's it. But what's happening in Cork? Jesus, same with me can you believe it? Six of us. The HR director. National, in fact global, issues, he goes. All that shite, you know. Then asks if there's any questions. One of the guys goes, Yeah, I've got a question. All this 'we' and 'our' stuff. So you're also losing your job and the fat bonus? The HR guy goes, I sense that you are feeling very angry and I can understand that, and we all start laughing. Anyway, no worries. Look, I'm sure you'll have a much better chance up here. There's quite a lot going if you're willing to look. Like in my case, I'm at reference stage for a job out in Blanchardstown. If I get the job I'm going to buy some paint for the house, it looks a bit manky to be honest, but it'll be cosier with a bit of paint. No, that's not a problem, there's a bit of storage near the toilet, and you'll get a bike easy. There's that bike auction place. They pick up all the bikes that have been nicked or thrown in the canal or whatever, and sell them off real cheap. I've had a few bikes that way. If I get this job I'll be getting a bike too. Yeah, of course. I'll text Aoife right now. Oh my God, I can't believe we're going to be roomies. Good times, Mr D, good times.

Mam? What don't you want Da to hear? Is he okay? You mean you're expecting me to cancel Chile because of his blood pressure? No, Mam, I'm not moving back home. I'm happy where I am. My friends are there, I'm settled. No, I wouldn't accept money off him even if he could afford it, the last thing I'll do is sponge off you guys. What do you mean? It's wrong to say I haven't tried long enough. This place is totally a mess, Mam, the dogs in the street know that. Of course I don't know anyone in Chile. I haven't even arrived there yet. Who knows what'll happen after that? One thing leads to another, things turn up. Yeah, it is far away. Anywhere worth going is far away. Look I'll see you in a bit, Mam.

Hi, Aoife. So you got the text, what do you think? Der's brilliant, really he is. You couldn't find a nicer guy. No, I didn't say it was certain. I said there'd probably be some moving around in the house and that might free up a room. I've also been thinking about the way Paul literally spends all his time in his room. Some sort of mid-life crisis do you think? Last night I came out of my room and he goes, I'm just going to wash my clothes, and I'm like, Oh my God do you wait till everyone's gone? Yeah, that's fair enough, Aoife, but Rory doesn't really have a clue. He goes there and tries to interact with him and Paul doesn't even look up. Look, okay, it's fine by me, I might not even be here. I'll probably be in Chile. All I'm thinking is he's taking up a perfectly good room. What's the story going to be when Mary moves because I know Ella wants to move rooms? I mean I'm just wondering. I'd prefer Mary's room but it's fine if I have to stay in my room. Look, Rory hasn't said anything to you about the rooms either? Oh, he did? No, he said it to me once about Niamh's room and she was looking at Ella's room and I was looking at hers. Other thought I've had is the room in the roof. Yeah, it's a fabulous room. I'd like to get a ladder and make it my room. All I need is my mattress. Look, let's think about how we could work all this? Come 'ere, can I ring again? My battery's going down and I'm worried that job might try to get me.

Hello. Yes, Sinead speaking. Oh, I see. Yes. Well, to be honest with you I am disappointed. Yes, I understand. Well, thank you for that anyway, it's good to know I was a strong applicant. Yes, I would, of course I would, if anything else came up. Well, I have one or two irons in the fire. One of them should be back to me today and a couple of others next week. Thank you very much. I hope so too. Bye, bye, bye.

I told you you'd be the first to know. No, hold on, Anne, hold on! I didn't get it. The woman really did sound sorry. She goes, We've had a huge number of applicants and in the end it was a really difficult decision between you and the person we chose. Look, I haven't had enough time to think about it yet. I was expecting it but at the same time I'm gutted, you know that kind of a way. No, I'm okay, really I am. I'm not going to tell the parents, not yet anyway. I'll ring when I get back after the weekend. Fuck, I wish I'd never even mentioned the job to them. They'll try to stop me, but I'm going. In a way it's a relief. In my heart of hearts I'd rather be in Chile. It's given me the push I need. One thing I can tell you though, Pat will have to start changing his tune about the rent. This could be the start of some kind of exodus, if you know what I mean. Ah, well. Chile here I come. About three weeks I think. I found some specials on the internet. Look, I gotta go. The trolley's in the aisle and I need something to drink. I wish, but we're talking Iarnród Éireann remember. Have to make do with a cardboard cup and a teabag. I'd go mental if I didn't have Chile to look forward to.

Look, Mam, you and Da are totally overreacting. You think Chile's some kind of dangerous place where you'll end up having to fly over and bring me home in a body bag or something dramatic. It's not like that. You watch too much telly, that's your problem. Would you listen, Mam? What I'm saying is you'll never have to afford a trip to Chile because nothing's going to happen to me. Chile's just an ordinary place with great beaches and loads of people enjoying themselves, like anywhere else outside of Ireland. Just calm down and forget about Da's blood pressure. Of course I'm not asking you to be heartless. I'm asking you to get into the real world. Look, there's a call coming through. No, it won't be the job, Mam. Put the fecking job out of your mind. I wish I hadn't even mentioned it to you. All you do is pile pressure on me and I'm telling you right now it won't work.

Hello. It's Sinead Maguire here. I just picked up a voice message from Jane O'Connor. Sure, I can hold. Hello Jane. No problem, I just picked up your message now. Really? Oh my God, that's just fantastic. I can't believe it. But I thought you'd already offered it to someone else? Oh my God, that's awful. That's really terrible. So he was Irish, he didn't actually live there? Yes, it must have been. I can't, I can't even begin to imagine. I understand, yes. Yes, of course, I understand you had to. No, that's fine. I promise I won't take anything else. All right, we'll speak again next week so.

Hey, Anne, there's no way you're going to believe this. They've offered me the job after all! Yes, exactly. They left a message and I rang straight back. Your woman was totally freaked. They'd just heard the guy who got the job died in a road accident. Wait for it, in Santiago can you bloody well believe it? It's the fucking capital of Chile, Anne. Right after she first spoke to me. Really terrible. His father's going out there to bring the body back. It was terrible. I could hear she was in shock herself. It felt weird to be pleased about the job at the same time, if you know what I mean. She didn't want me to take something else in the meantime. I'd said I had other irons in the fire. You know the stupid things you say when you feel let down. I said I was waiting to hear from another job today. No, of course it wasn't true, for God's sake. Weird. I really wish I hadn't done that now. Of course, I know all that. It's not a case of the universe doing anything, Anne. Shit happens, that's all. Come 'ere, can I ask you a favour? Please don't ever say anything to my parents about this. Of course I'm not talking about the job, you eejit! I'm talking about the guy getting killed in Chile. Because I'll never hear the end of it, that's why. To be honest I'm really shaken, but doesn't mean I'll never go to Chile. Who knows what's round the corner, for any of us for that matter? Okay, see you then.

We've just left Boyle, so about half an hour or so. Look, Mam, why don't you both come down? Yeah, I know, but he can record it. Tell him I'd really like him to. Just this once. It's not a big deal but I'd really like it if you both came down to meet me, that's all.

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