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Sometimes I feel stupid for it, a bit nerdy, but I've decided I'm going to keep the rules

Brendan O'Connor


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Brendan O’Connor will take over from Marian Finucane

Brendan O’Connor will take over from Marian Finucane

The pints got me thinking about the last time I did certain things

The pints got me thinking about the last time I did certain things

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Brendan O’Connor will take over from Marian Finucane

I had a pint last Sunday. Two pints. I won't say where. But it was all legal. Insofar as anyone knows what's legal anymore. The guards seem to have been dropping by and keeping an eye on the situation, and while they weren't exactly happy, they weren't exactly unhappy either.

We drank them at the requisite distance from where we got them, but luckily it was grassy there, and it was a sunny hour. The process by which they were prepared and given to me was responsible. I was happy I was not breaking any rules.

I haven't been breaking the rules really. Sometimes I feel stupid for it, a bit nerdy, because a lot of people seem to be relaxing their own restrictions. But I've decided I'm going to keep the rules, and the people in my micro-community are all largely keeping them. And that makes me relaxed. While on one hand I feel I will get on a plane as soon as they tell me I can, on the other hand, I don't want to take my chances with Covid-19.

It would probably be fine obviously. But you never know, do you? It's tricky. And unpredictable.

The pints, I don't need to tell you, were damn good. As much for what they represented as anything else. A little bit of normality for an hour. One of those little pleasures we took for granted before that are now exquisite in their banality.

We imagine now that we will treasure the ordinary things we used to take for granted. We imagine that if we can ever have them again, we will be deeply grateful for all the small things. But that'll wear off too. We will just snap back quickly I imagine, to being the ungrateful spoilt brats we are.

The pints got me thinking about the last time I did certain things.

I think the last time I ate a meal in a restaurant was in Host in Ranelagh. It was packed, as it has been any time I went there. It is one of those small neighbourhood places that seems driven by love rather than the deep pockets of rich businessmen, one of those places that will probably have to work harder to thrive in the new world. We sat in the window on stools and we shared the tastiest small plates you could eat, from charred cauliflower with sauces to 'nduja pasta.

Our waiter invaded our space bringing out the food as it was ready. We didn't think twice about any of it. It was lovely, and we were sure in the backs of our minds that we would do it again soon. I was sure I would be here again before long, with other people, with a diverse group of people who were all from different households, crowded around a table amid the clatter, too near to other groups of people, all of us talking too loud over each other, spraying more and more invisible droplets into each other's faces as the night went on, sharing plates of tasty, gooey food. Funnily enough, before that meal I had a drink on the fringes of what would later emerge as a superspreader event.

I think the last gig I went to might have been JoJo Siwa. Which is a horrific and depressing thought. Who knows when I will see live music again? And for now my last memory of it is a raspy teenager bellowing at a full 3 Arena, as little girls off their heads on sugar screamed droplets and ran around touching their grubby little paws off each other. JoJo alone was probably spreading droplets to the back of the auditorium, such was her gusto.

I remember the last pint I had because it was early on the evening the pubs were closing.

The Temple Bar Sweet Caroline incident had happened that weekend. So I think it was a Sunday evening. More than half the tables in the place had a reserved sign on them. There was just a handful of people there, having a last few pints. I jokingly said to one guy who was speaking too closely to me that he was a chemical weapon.

How we laughed.

There was none of that edge that would creep into interactions over the following weeks. It was a novelty then. We didn't quite fully understand what was happening, what it all meant. It felt like an ending, but it didn't feel like things would never be the same again. It just felt like a temporary thing.

I don't remember all the details of when I last saw my parents, because it was November. Work and various other things conspired since then. Christmas had to be cancelled, and then people had mysterious flus that we thought nothing of but that we didn't want to give to each other, so it was put off and off, and then, bang, we weren't going to Cork or anywhere else for a while.

I do remember that in November we had a big meal in a hotel, people from Dublin and Cork and London all breathing on top of each other and thoughtlessly passing around a baby.

I take all of this seriously, but the delusion that I harbour deep down is that things will go back to normal much faster than we imagine. Somewhere deep down, in a place beyond logic, I think that we need to see beyond the present moment, and that things are changing all the time, and that we have consistently been given worst-case scenarios, and that soon we will be able to take things for granted again.

Though I will try and remember that things are precious. And life is precious, and life is passing us by. And that life's too short. And that I need to see less of JoJo Siwa and more of my mum and dad.

Sunday Indo Living