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Stuck Between Sliding Doors

2010 is a pup, and a wayward one already.

I start the year with no internet access (it really is like losing both arms), a slow puncture (was there ever a more fitting metaphor for my life?) and the near certain belief that my wife hates me. For this I will blame the cold snap: we were like the bloody Waltons there at times! And that's just not natural.

I spent the break trying to rekindle the magic in our relationship by refusing to get dressed until late afternoon and rarely being seen without either a mince pie in my mouth or the remains of one on my chin. If Angelina Jolie had broken into the house -- having braved the ice flow -- and demanded I take her there and then she'd have had to wait 'til I found a side plate.

Not that that would have happened very fast. "There was one here a second ago," I'd have told her, knowing full well they are all in the dishwasher, which by St Stephen's Day had become a major issue. Two adults and two small people cannot generate that many dirty dishes. It is impossible.

Feeling I was being emasculated by that German plate- cleaning wonder, I decided to throw a bit of politics into the mix: "Padraig Pearse didn't die so that generations of Irish men could spend hours every day pointlessly stacking and unstacking plates." Even the kids were bemused but I stuck to my guns, scrawled "Tiocfaidh" on the cutlery tray, and resolved only to eat take-out -- from their own containers -- for the rest of my life.

Indian cuisine doesn't really do Christmas, thank God. There's no turkey and ham jalfrezi in the local Taj Mahal. So, buoyed by this and United's dismissal of Wigan, I decided to embrace the spirit of the festive season, put the dishwasher unpleasantness behind us and invited my wife to join me in a little bit of BBC Christmas magic on the couch.

Which raises the question: what kind of woman doesn't like a three-hour Doctor Who special? By the end of that show I was an emotional wreck. I found myself saying something I haven't said since I was 12: "That was quite possibly the best Doctor Who ever!" It was spectacular.

Not that anyone heard me say it. By the time Dr Who had taken on a new form, and we'd said goodbye to the best Doctor ever, Audrey had left the building. Redecorating the guest room -- again -- she told me. How are we married? How are we parents? What will we talk about when they leave home?

The cracker that is 2010 continued to gain speed over the weekend in the form of a new book from America that argues that optimism is often the worst possible outlook to take in life. This is bad news for me as, in the absence of intelligence, a plan, or any sense of realism, it's often about the only thing I bring to the table!

So I greeted 2010 as I greeted each year of my school days -- still harbouring a secret stash of pies and physically fighting anyone who attempted to take down a few decorations, I lay in bed 'til noon. "I am not getting up," I told anyone who'd listen, "possibly not for a very long time." It's always worked before!

Tune into Tom Dunne on Newstalk 106-108FM on weekdays from 9am to noon


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