I bumped into me from 10 years ago yesterday. He was as surprised to see me as I was to see him.
“You’ve put on a bit of weight,” he said.
“That was the pandemic,” I said.
“The what?” says Past Me.
“Oh, there was a pandemic, a virus. We all had to stay at home for ages.”
“Everyone had to stay at home? Crikey! Still, it must have been nice to be at home in a quiet house with the kids out at school.”
“Actually... not quite.”
“And were ye able to go out at all?”
“Well, we used to go for a walk with people, with cups of coffee.”
“People walked around with cups of coffee? They must have spilt a lot in the saucer. Jaysus. Is it over now?”
“Well, Joe Biden says it is, but some people disagree.”
“Joe Biden is still alive? The vice-president? A nice old geezer, harmless, but ready for retirement.”
“He’s the president now.”
“Ah, go way out of that. And I suppose Putin is still president of Russia.”
“Funny you should say. He is. He’s just threatened nuclear war.”
“Really? Wow! Is everyone freaking out?”
“No. We’re so used to apocalyptic stuff now that we just took it in our stride. We’re kind of laughing at him. And no one believes him, like we didn’t really believe that he was going to invade Ukraine.”
“He invaded The Ukraine? No way. Still, that can’t be affecting everyone else too much. Very far away, The Ukraine.”
“Yeah, it’s just called Ukraine now. And it’s actually not as far away as you think.”
“Jesus, things are gone mad altogether. These things must be a shock when they happen. Pandemics and Russia going to war.”
“Not really. They kind of drip feed it out over Christmas initially. So you think it’s just those weird foreign stories you hear over the holidays, when there’s no Irish news, that you never hear about again. Then they dribble on into January, but you go into denial — and then in February, they really kick off. So they kind of soften you up for it. Some people stayed in denial about it for longer. Boris Johnson was still around shaking hands into March.”
“Boris Johnson? The guy from Have I Got News for You? Who became a kind of novelty mayor of London? I presume his whole political dabbling ended badly for him.”
“You have no idea... For all of us.”
“So what else? Are Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael in government? Which of them is the biggest party now?”
“(A) Both and (B) Neither.”
“Good God. Things are gone mad. Is there anything else I should know?”
“The Queen died.”
“Ah sure they must have been expecting that. She had a good innings. They hardly made a big deal out of it. Anything else?”
“Well, a man won the brown bread competition at The Ploughing.”
“Ah g‘way. You’re having me on now. The men baking bread? And being better at it than the women? That’ll never happen.”