Day 28

Social Distancing

After the quick skite up to Donegal, and the welcome no traffic jam on the way back because of the whole no Toome Fair bonus to the Covid-19 calamity, it’s back to biscuits today as this is a work work day. Yeah, we only get two days off for Easter; that is hardly adequate time to ponder the unfathomable mysteries of the workings of the mind of a god who would send his only son down here, let him hang out with us for about 33.2 years, arrange things so that the son gets killed in such a way that he fulfills all the prophecies about same in the best-selling first volume of The Human Race: My Part in its Downfall, resurrect him three days (but actually only about 36.7 hours) later and thus, potentially, re-open the gates of paradise to us which were closed to us after that business with the serpent and the woman and the kumquat. (It wasn’t an apple: look it up yourselves.) I bet you if we were Muslims we would get a whole week off work. But, then again, Muslims would probably deserve the rest more as they, at least, put some effort into their Lent. Giving up sweets? What sort of suffering is that? Sure that is good for you. Do something hard like taking up heroin for Lent and then trying to quit after the Mass on Holy Thursday night when Lent ends (nihil obstat). I’ll let you know how I am getting on with the yearly cold turkey.

On a work work day, my routine goes a bit like this:

5.53am: Position myself at the kitchen table facing out the bay window to keep an eye on my wildlife, first cup of coffee primed in easy reach of my left hand, an adequate supply of cigarettes clearly visible (to avoid any panic) beside the freshly-polished, cut-glass ashtray on my right. The wildlife mostly takes care of itself, but I am convinced that it appreciates my benevolent, supervisory gaze. To a non-observant observer, it may well look like I am just staring out a window doing nothing, but nothing could be further from the truth. And, as my mate Blaise Pascal often says anyway, the inability to do nothing is the source of all of men’s unhappiness, and who am I to argue with a mathematician?

5.57-6.04am: Coughing.

6.05am: Admiring my shed and the decision taken to situate it at the bottom of the garden under the sweeping branches of the oak tree where it looks really cute. Inspection, from a distance, of the shed serves also as an aide-memoire for the growing list of practical jobs around the estate that I am not going to do today as it contains most of the tools necessary for not doing them.

6.06-6.23am: Break. After all that work looking at the shed, I find I need a bit of a rest, so I’ll fire up the kettle again to consume one of the three types of coffee currently in my carefully-calibrated diet, accompanied by cigarettes number 2 and 3 in the recommended daily intake. I wrote a poem once about the delights of the second cigarette of the morning (the first one is merely utilitarian), but I’ll spare youse the embarrassment of having to write in to say how wonderful it is by not reproducing it here. (Look it up yourselves: it’s not like my published books are not for sale.)

6.24-6.52am: Real work. This can include reading the paper (not today’s paper, the remnants of The Irish Times from the previous Saturday which I have not yet edited), reading a bit out of The Bible in Irish if it is a Saturday (do not even go there – sometimes I do work work on a Saturday to get ahead of the game so that I can perform my Ibero-Hiberno siesta during the working week with no consequent guilt) or a drop of writing.

6.53-6.55am: Measurement of Adequate Sleep Procedure. This is a complicated process which involves a severe and thorough self-examination to ascertain whether or not I am sufficiently rested to begin to take on a day’s work work. As part of the procedure, I will undergo my first blood sugar level check of the day (providing the nurse has turned up) and stuff some of the many and varied legal drugs into me that my chronic and terminal condition requires. Depending on the results of the the Adequate Sleep Procedure (verified by two independent and fully-qualified GPs and not any of those student ones they are letting loose on the great unwashed due to the Kerfuffle), I will either begin the complicated process of deciding which type of shower to have (wet, Andytown or full Andytown), having said shower, picking out my wardrobe for the day (usually I use the walk-in one in the West Wing, but there are alternatives), getting dressed, smoking my last cigarette as a free man and then hoking out the work work laptop and firing it up; or else go back to bed until such time as the numbers from the measurement of adequate sleep are more acceptable.

Except today, of course, as there is an emergency with the wildlife that requires my urgent attention: two of the blackbirds are having a squabble over territorial rights, and I need to explain to them that neither of them actually owns said territory – it is all in the part-time wife’s name for tax purposes. I might have a healthy, open-air cigarette while I am out there.