Thursday: I am becoming a complete stranger to myself.
I honestly never thought this would happen to me. I'm like some kind of finicky middle-aged Yank. During the week, I often wake at half five. And I get up. In the mornings I also take my five types of vitamins all in one pack including something called brain food, then I take the Chia seeds, the miracle food of the ancient Aztecs, and at the moment I take a spoonful of Manuka honey as well because I'm fending off a cold or something. I am also planning on throwing some green tea capsules into the mix -- apparently they dissolve fat cells. In the evenings, I tend to retire after I have watched as much of the nine o'clock news as I can take, with a cup of Pukka bedtime tea. After about noon, I drink decaf tea. The thing is, you would swear all this would make me healthy or slim or something, but it doesn't. Then again, you could possibly put that down to the weekend when it all falls apart and I rebel against the middle-aged Yank in me. I hear him tut tutting in the background but he is easily drowned out.
One of my problems is that I seem to often find myself in the supermarket at around seven pm. And I don't know if you've noticed this but that is when they reduce all that bakery stuff. So say in Marks, you can get five buns/tarts/pastries for a euro or so. I don't even really like pastries and that, but I love a bargain, so I convince myself I have nothing to lose by trying a few tarts I wouldn't normally try. As I write this I am eating a pecan and maple pastry I got last night and my daughter is in creche with a cheesey plait (unless sense prevailed and my wife threw it in the bin and gave her a wrap or a piece of brown bread). It's crazy stuff. I'm like a pusher. After I buy them, I get remorseful and disgusted with myself so I try and pawn them off on other people. I made my wife eat a peaches and cream mini tart before dinner last night and I just pushed a maple and pecan thing on a colleague here. People are going to start avoiding me. But if they don't take it off me, I'll eat it all.
The usual dialogue between me and my visiting Australian emigrant buddy is that he pretends life is great out there and I pretend life is great back here and that he should come home. This time, I kind of give up. It's hard to make an argument for coming home from there when it's freezing and really wet here. "The weather has been better," I tell him. "Everyone keeps telling me that," he says. "But it has. Really. It's been quite nice." "I'm freezing." Even bringing him to Eden for dinner, which normally makes him miss the old country a bit and shuts him up for five minutes about the fabulous restaurants Down Under (you don't get Eden smokies in your Pacific Rim joints) isn't enough on this occasion. I can see that the lamb is making him happy, but the rain is pounding against the window. It's kind of sad, actually, to hang out with him for a day or two. My sadness is nothing next to my daughter's. She spent two days readying his bedroom including a chocolate on the pillow. When he arrived, she showed him to his room, and then insisted on helping him get dressed, which was all a bit alarming. And then he left and she still hasn't stopped crying.
People over 25 should possibly not be given iPhones. A lady of a certain age has just got one in the office and she has gone for an interesting smorgasbord of sounds to alert her to everything. So if she gets a text you would imagine the RTE concert orchestra was tuning up in the office. Someone thought we were listening to the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra in here the other day. I have certainly moved with the times. So much so that I was on the laptop the other night and I heard this creepy little electronic bleeping. I was on my own in the house and it totally freaked me out. First I thought maybe someone was hacking into the computer or something, even though I don't know what that means, or that I was maybe being Skyped, however that happens. But on investigation I discovered the noise wasn't coming from the computer. Getting increasingly spooked, I eventually tracked the insistent little burring to a yoke that looked like an old-fashioned clunky mobile phone. And then I realised. It was the home phone. We have one. And someone knows the number of it. Not sure where they got it -- I sure as hell don't know the number of it, nor have I ever heard it ring, ever made a phone call on it, or ever conducted a conversation on it. I actually really didn't know it existed. I didn't answer it. Who the hell would be ringing that phone except some weirdo?
So we keep a vigilant eye on Peter Andre's reality show these days, seeing as I'm going to be on it. For some reason, being on a reality show on ITV2 feels like really being on TV. The big worry, of course, is that they won't use me. Imagine that. If I keep watching week in week out and finally it catches up with his recent visit to the Saturday Night Show and they don't use any of that interview I gave where I went on about what a great guy he is. Michelle Mulherin TD will also be featuring, apparently. Peter was quite taken by her. Peter was in the wings waiting to go on while deputy Mulherin discussed fornication. Apart from wondering if he was on the right show, apparently he was very impressed with her and he did a little piece on camera with her afterwards.
I'm thinking of introducing a new way of ordering in restaurants. I will simply call it, "Bring us all the starters". Because, let's face it, the dirty secret of the restaurant game is that starters are where it's at. Packed full of flavour, slightly experimental, slightly risky but it's OK because it's not your whole meal, the starter is where the chef pours all his talent, where he and the customer agree to take a chance on something new. And then you get the main course, which is generally some meat (or fish if you are eccentric) with not as many vegetables as you would eat at home. In fact, many restaurants seem to directly reverse the proportions of meat to veg that you would eat at home. Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking why doesn't he just go to a tapas bar. But let's face it. Tapas are overdone here at this stage. And if I wanted some wedges with spicy tomato sauce, I'll get them for half the price at a deli counter, present them to myself, and say, "here are your patatas bravas".
The Saturday Night Show, Saturdays after The Nine O'Clock News
Sunday Indo Living