Social Distancing

Day 19

Monday, or so it seems. As Square-Brackets-Head pointed out yesterday (or was it Friday?) I am getting a bit mixed up with my days, but not with the number thereof. I wonder, in a disinterested sort of way, whether the ex-Finance Director of this site has made it to the big city yet. I drove to Belfast yesterday (and passed him hitch-hiking illegally on the empty motorway) with the Irish-language teenager on a completely non-essential mission, but there was no room at the inn when we got there: the particular business enterprise we were trying to relieve of one of its commercial products had, apparently, calculated the number of customers already in the shop and decreed that no more could enter as it would take them the 30 minutes up to closing time to deal with those already in situ. There’s customer service for you. I pointed out to security guy that I had pre-paid and thus did not actually need to queue, just pick up the essentially non-essential item, but he was having none of it. I gently suggested to him that if said enterprise spent more time serving its customers and less time calculating how quickly it could get rid of them so that its staff could go home right on the stroke of six o’clock, it would be in less danger of going out of business come the revolution. He did not seem that interested in insurgency and its effects on micro-economic theory, though; too busy checking his watch three times even while he was meant to be engaged in talking to me.

I’d better explain that six o’clock closing time for the foreign students – and you’re very welcome whoever it is from the sub-continent of India who has started reading this blog; now go and make the tea! (The brand new, improved and updated marketing manager is probably due a bonus for that but – from bitter experience – I will see how she gets on the rest of the week before making a definitive decision.) Yes, Sunday opening hours are a thing here in Norn Iron. In normal circumstances, if the adjective ‘normal’ is ever appropriate when applied to what my mother used to term The Annex, while shops open at noon on Sundays here, the Lord has decreed in a part of the Bible I have not yet got to – don’t tell me what happens in the end; you’ll spoil the surprise – that commercial transactions cannot occur until one o’clock in the afternoon. So, on a normal Sunday here (again such a concept probably does not actually exist), you can observe the surreal sight of eejits rushing around Tesco filling up their trolleys as fast as they can after they are let in the door at 12.00pm, presumably just so that they can enjoy the full 30 minutes of their half-hour wait in the queue for the tills to open at one o’clock. Said shops also obey strictly-imposed Sabbath laws by shutting early on Sundays at the ungodly early hour of 18:00. I think our divided Brethren are missing a trick here, though, and that they should go the whole hog and decree that all commercial activity on the Lord’s Day should cease at the surreal time of 16:90. (That was a complicated set-up, but worth it in the end, I feel.)

But my tendency to mix-up the days is not really due to the onset of the Kerfuffle. I have a vague enough definition of the term ‘working week’ and sometimes end up doing more work at the weekends than during the Mon-Fri charade; fewer emails to move from folder to folder, no phone-calls and definitely no work-related video calls on Sat and Sun, you see, which leaves a bit of time to get some work done. An IT colleague in the building formerly known as my work place had a great line that he was fond of using when getting up from the table after a subsidised lunch, the price of which the begrudgers and penny-pinchers still complained about. ‘Right,’ he would say, ‘I like to do a bit of work in the afternoon: it helps to put the day in.’

The other point is that the work I was doing at the weekend was not work work but real work, for which feel free to explore the other pages on this site. But make sure to wear a hard hat and a high-vis jacket if you do, as most of it is still a building site. Oh, and wash your hands before you come back here.

For homework, compare and contrast: Boris goes into hospital; Leo goes back to work as a doctor. Which of the two Taoisigh on these islands do you think is having the better crisis? Upload your answers in the comments section and you will receive feedback if, and only if, your answer is of sufficient quality.

Right then, decisions, decisions. Andytown shower or full Monty? Slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or opposition? Mustard shirt or granddad collarless one with a natty cravat? It’s never easy in the mornings, but, as Douglas Adams rightly pointed out, no one ever said it was going to be.

This is not what I meant to write about at all today. Hopefully, there will be a tomorrow, and it will not be a Sunday.


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