There is, I think, a little bit of hypocrisy in all of us. A few years ago in Connemara, I sat chatting with a well-known and outspoken vegetarian musician who was wearing a T-shirt with 'McS**t' emblazoned defiantly - even a little piously - across it. I neglected to tell her that on the long drive to the West, myself and the kids had stopped at the subject of her right-on ire, McDonald's, for a particularly delicious Happy Meal.
I hoped she wouldn't see the evidence of our lunch in the boxes in the back of the car and, even worse, possibly notice the traces of Ronald McDonald's ketchup across my guilty face as I talked to her about the depth of her music while trying not to look at her T-shirt, lest she out me as an imposter.
Last Wednesday, I drove with the kids to McDonald's in Nutgrove, Churchtown.
I grew up around the corner, so it was an excuse to show my children the school that daddy went to, a place where Christian Brothers would knock lumps out of you with sticks.
It was a expedition, of sorts, to show my kids the road I grew up on - Henley Park - many years ago; a road where I once played with Mary Lou McDonald, when she was a little and very jolly girl running around Henley Park with her cousins, my little sister and I.
Mary Lou's auntie, Jean Butler, was my mother's best friend. So I called it a pilgrimage to my home town last Wednesday. This, of course, was nothing short of a bare-faced lie.
There is nothing worse, they say, than the lies you tell yourself, but surely worse is the lies you tell your kids. So, just to be absolutely clear, the real reason we went to Churchtown was to have a Happy Meal after two months of going without.
Alas, it was not to end well. There was a mile-long queue outside the restaurant and I had to make an executive decision to go to a nearby Spar, buy some fruit and yogurt, drive to Rathfarnham to have a picnic in St Enda's Park, where Patrick Pearse once lived.
My old playmate Mary Lou would have approved. As would, more importantly, my wife, who wasn't best pleased about the proposed lunch in McDonald's. I have to say, I am as much an advocate of healthy eating as the next person, but sometimes I would actually prefer a Big Mac to a steak. So, there you have it. Judge me all you like.
Despite all my tonguein-cheekiness about McD's, I think that it's a disgrace that a fast food restaurant can open - but we can't open the bloody schools.
I have been going stir-crazy since the first week of March in a house with two very small kids and a wife. The latter home-schools our five-year-old daughter, while I take our two-year-old son out to the park, the beach, the car park, anywhere, once it is not in the house while the actual home-schooling is taking place. It is very difficult for everyone, especially the children, as I'm sure it is in each and every household across Ireland.
Cracking-up is the new national sport.
I woke up last Monday with a blinding headache. There is some irony in having a two-day migraine when your job - when you are not looking after your children - involves spending long amounts of time looking at a computer screen: typing and reading words. So, I was miserable last Monday and Tuesday. My wife would probably say I was miserable before that, too, going back to the start of the lockdown or, even before that again, to the day I was born. It is hard not to be a misery guts when there doesn't seem to be a holiday at the end of it all.
The only un-depressing part of it happens when I look at Independent.ie at the same time every evening to check what the deaths were for the day from Covid-19 and they appear to have fallen, thankfully, to a low number. Good news at last.
Some nights, when we are not too exhausted by the daily grind of the same, week in, week out, and the kids are in bed, my wife and I watch Netflix. We watch - and laugh sometimes at - Schitt's Creek. Last Thursday night, I hoovered and mopped the downstairs of the house. You don't get more glamorous than that. I finished at 11pm.
I opened a beer and watched the three final episodes of Peaky Blinders. I went to bed at 2am, sad that Aberama Gold, Aidan Gillen's character, seemed have met a grisly end, like Aidan did as Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish in Game of Thrones. As you can possibly tell from these late-night musings, my life is upside down.
I love my wife and kids, but I'm not sure I recognise who I am any more. I don't mean that in the strictly physical sense (even though I am overweight, unkempt and in need of a bath on occasion). I mean it in the more philosophical way.
I had to drive into town last week. I had a letter from work to show to gardai should they stop me, which they did outside RTE. It was weird being in a completely empty building on Talbot Street. There wasn't a soul about. I did what I had to do, then quickly got in the car.
And took a wrong turn.
I ended up effectively lost in my hometown, because every road I drove on to seemed to say no right turn when I wanted to go right. Looking out the window of the car, the streets of our nation's capital were a little less busy than I remembered, pre-lockdown, with poor unfortunate heroin addicts and the like with their shirts off enjoying the sun on a gorgeous summer's day in a city in lockdown because of a killer virus.
I drove in circles for a while (it was a metaphor for existence as I currently know it), ended back on Talbot Street, before finding myself driving anxiously - and illegally - on the bus lane up O'Connell Street. Gardai looked at me like I was some sort of lost fool. Which wasn't far from the truth. It all reminded me of something Oscar Wilde once said: "I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability."