There have been no new Vatican scandals to report this week, and so the crusade against my mother, who likes to watch Would You Believe instead of Fade Street needs not be fought. I am walking home from Harcourt Street, where I have been instructing a group of fourteen foreign aupairs on the Third, (and hopefully ultimate) Conditional of the English language. Having survived another session, it is always a treat for me on the way home at this time to direct my thoughts from lesson planning to game theory as I analyse Louise’s next career move, due to be revealed at the later time tonight of 22.50.
Tuesday: 6.10 pm Yoga in Rathmines Town Hall
There are bits of mashed potato on my handtowel and so I lay it out near the back of this expansive yet unassuming space, just beneath the Rathmines clock tower. Around me the shapes of sleepless breathers are stretched in voiceless vertical lines. Their soft mats outlie with intuitive grace the length of their bodies. I curse my loose interpretation of BYOM (Bring Your Own Mat) and hope that my LSB enjoyed his surprise meal of potato mash during my lunchtime visit to Dundrum, from where I have come. In spite of the five layers of tinfoil which I wrapped around the bowl, some sneaky particles have managed to slither their way up toward my towel where they rest, content to be squashed but not devoured. As I inhale into my yoga cat pose, I resolve that by week two, she will have a Davina McCall mat, just like her feline contemporaries. I meeow mentally and exhale.
Tuesday: 8.05 pm Start Your Own Business in Rathmines Town Hall
“Does anybody need the terms ‘Sole Trader’ and ‘Limited Company’ explained?” the teacher; a banker with fourteen years of managerial experience across the road in Bank of Ireland asks.
A tired arm at the back creeps up; my left.
Thursday: 9.15 am “Chat about my CV” at a language school
I call in at reception and am greeted by an amiable country man in his sixties. “Just a minute”, he smiles after I have told him who I am.
Several minutes pass and finally I am escorted upstairs to a little office.
Inside a lady is sitting on a gym ball. There are scrunched up balls of paper scattered all over the floor.
“Do take a seat”, she says, “sorry about the mess, I was just tidying actually”
“So…” she rummages on her desk. “I have just printed out your CV”
It is fresh off the presses, indeed.
She skims it and pauses.
“This is an informal chat”, she says. I sigh in relief, having interpreted the scrunched up bits of paper and the gym ball as cognitive obstacles designed to weed out the weaker candidates. We have a lovely chat and she vows to keep my details on file should a vacancy arise. I thank her and leave, relieved that I considered only for a few seconds the night before whether I should wear slacks and a jacket for the occasion.
Thursday 9.45 am: St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre
The Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre is empty, except for a few old men, who have arrived early to rest on its benches with the morning Metro. Shop shutters are beginning to lift open as bleary eyed staffmembers clock in. I rush in the direction of Argos, which beams at me with the catalogued promise of fulfilment. I leaf through its yoga mats and alight on the second cheapest one. The cheapest, at €7.00 did not advertise its potential to be rolled up and carried and as I learnt earlier this week, I am in no position to make assumptions on these matters. I am flooded with dopamine after my purchase and decide to browse the clothes section of Dunnes Stores. My beahviour becomes increasingly impulsive: I purchase a piece of rowing apparatus and a pair of grey tights.
Friday 7.15 pm Faire le babysitting
I am waiting outside the door of the house where I babysit and so is the economics editor of The Irish Times. I am vaguely tempted to tell him who he is, but restrain myself and beam instead, announcing that I am the babysitter and so we are probably both in the right place. The door opens and we are greeted by a mad labrador and an adorable red haired and precoscious little girl. The dog makes a run for me and I grab reflexively her front paws and we dance, wildly. “Don’t mind her”, the little girl tells me, “she is pubescent”.
Saturday 10.45 pm: Fade Street
“Fuck your Honda Civic, I’ve a Horse Outside” is blaring through the bar of the Mercantile hotel. I am imagining tourists leafing wildly through their pocket dictionaries, wondering whether things really are so bad and whether this is what the commentators mean when they talk of “Irish resilience”. We end up in the Market Bar of Fade Street and as I nurse my Paulaner, I think of the pleasure that awaits me, 48 hours from now.