Absent

September 8, 2011

I’m standing outside the door of my daughter’s school half an hour after classes have commenced for the day. The school secretary’s face falls as she approaches and she sees who it is, but she forces a smile as she opens the door. I know what she’s thinking; ‘Not you again’. I regularly interrupt this unfortunate woman’s work, turning up with whatever item my child has forgotten that day, be it lunch, homework or a vital book.

When I get home, I spot my son’s recorder on his desk. He was supposed to bring that in with him today for his music class. I’m not chasing after him, his school is too far away and in any case he’s older and needs to learn that forgetfulness has consequences. Yesterday I received a note from a teacher in his new school asking me to buy a hardback notebook for him. What she doesn’t know is that the notebook was purchased two weeks ago but has been languishing in his locker ever since. He forgets to bring it to class.

Between them my kids have lost two fairly new jackets and a water bottle in recent weeks. I get annoyed with them about this, but really I don’t have a leg to stand on. It’s all in the genes; they get their absent mindedness from me.

This week I totally forgot to watch or record the second part of a drama I had really enjoyed last week on TV, despite the fact that it featured David Morrissey (I have blogged before about my embarrassing crush on him). I greeted a man with whom I had arranged a meeting with a blank stare when he arrived at my workplace at the appointed time. I got distracted when processing an online payment from my bank and by the time I remembered again the cut-off time for payments had passed.

One wallet found its way home thanks to these guys

I could blame early senility, but my life has always been like this. I have left keys in hall doors and on shop counters, a wallet on a park bench and another wallet on the London Underground. I once went on holiday with no knickers because they weren’t on my list. I’ve had to call out the fire brigade because the grill went up in flames while I was upstairs reading poetry, toast long forgotten. I don’t even like poetry.

To my shame, I can be relied upon to forget birthdays and anniversaries of close friends and family. A friend once phoned me to know why I hadn’t turned up for a lunch date at her house. I rushed over, but she never really forgave me and I didn’t blame her. Why don’t I write things down in a diary or put them in my phone? Well I do, but then I forget to look at it.

What’s to be done? Are my kids to doomed to lead lives of mild chaos, constantly accompanied by that uneasy feeling that something has been forgotten?

Photo by Ian Mansfield, Flickr Creative Commons.

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Good Weekend?

September 8, 2011

What did I do last weekend? Let’s see…… 

  • Had a back and shoulder massage
  • Watched a comedy acrobat show
  • Met up with some old friends in a wine bar for a couple of drinks
  • Saw two Booker prize winning writers read from their new books
  • Tasted some wild mushrooms, and some amazing Bacon Jam made by butcher Ed Hick
  • Heard from two hopefuls in the forthcoming Presidential election

    Bob in a tent

  • Saw an interview with the charming, witty, erudite, ferociously intelligent and still snake-hipped Bob Geldof. The best President Ireland will never have.  He would miss his girls too much, he sweetly said. And he wouldn’t be allowed to swear
  • Picked up a secondhand Georgette Heyer book, a writer I’ve been meaning to read for ages
  • Was given two other books – brand new Penguin classics this time – completely free
  • Chatted with eternal boy, journalist, publisher, actor and man behind Broadsheet.ie, John Ryan
  • Saw director and writer Nick Kelly present a screening of his short films, including ‘Shoe’, which was shortlisted for Oscar nomination last year
  • Ate some delicious dinners – crab linguine from Rathmullen House, a ‘Shamrock’ pie from Pieminister and a gorgeous Thai red chicken curry from Wok ‘n’Roll.

Oh, and heard loads of great live music as well. I loved Jimmy Cliff, I Am Kloot, DJ Shadow, M Ward and the Lost Brothers. But OMD were my personal highlight, taking me straight back to the early eighties and even being the cause of some unseemly, creaky, middle-aged dancing. Electric Picnic is a music festival after all.

My message is; if you are middle aged or older, do not fear the Electric Picnic. I’ve been attending with my beloved for a few years now. Given our advanced ages, (we are both in the 45-55 age bracket, that’s all I’ll say) we don’t do the nasty camping business. It’s a cosy off-site B&B for us, with a proper bed, a proper sleep, a proper bathroom and limitless supplies of tea and toast with the full Irish in the morning.

With sturdy walking boots donned, wet wipes, toilet roll and folding seats packed, we’re good to go. On site, the atmosphere is super-chilled and a little bit magical. Even the nocturnal drunks just stagger around benignly, apologising for bumping into you and attempting clumsy high fives. Everyone chats, and I’ve never seen any aggro apart from occasional moments of discord between over-refreshed couples.

Each year when we tell people we’re going to the Picnic it provokes a mixture of pity and bewilderment amongst many of our contemporaries. They just don’t know what they’re missing. I defy anyone not to enjoy it. If you like music, art, literature, food and culture, just go.