Tuesday 3 September 2013

Do the hokey pokey - that’s what it’s all about!

Oh Adley, you silly beast. What on earth made you think you could make plans? Life happens: majestic, terrible and ecstatic, pushing far beyond the cosy confines of plans.

My tiny plan was beautiful in its simplicity. Despite a lifetime of experience informing me I should’ve known better, it also seemed eminently achievable.

Yesterday I rushed around like a manic depressive on the upswing (know thyself) trying to clear the decks, so that today I could have an entire day at home, doing nothing but writing.

I did the laundry, went to the supermarket, cooked a huge lamb and sweet potato stew that’d feed us for 2 days, made a fire and put down the first draft of a feature I hadn’t expected to write at all.

Bloody lovely. One of the great things about working for myself at home is that I can write at any time: on days off and while onions are sweating in the pan.

At this stage my plan didn’t even feel like a plan. It was just tomorrow. I was that confident.

Usually I get up at the same time as the Snapper, but last night I told her I was going to lie in. She said she had a big day at work coming up, so she’d be leaving early anyway. Sleep in my love. That’s what she said.

With my impending day tantalising me like a fat golden peach ripening on the tree, I am sleeping deeply and dreaming of other worlds when I hear a shout.

“Charlie! Charlie, my car’s dead.”

My ears and brain kick-start my voice. I seem to need to mumble out loud to myself, in some slurry muddy treacle way, to prove that I'm awake and therefore able of conscious thought.

“Wha-? Whassa the oh, ohhh, for Christ’s sake, I, ohhhhh, thusha musha geddup.”

A quick glance at my clock and I realise there’s no time to look under her car's bonnet, no time for jump leads. She has to leave now.

No tea no banana no time. I’m dressed and off we go.
Feeling simultaneously drunk and seasick, I point my car Bennett down the bohreen. The Snapper suggests I might like to put on the headlights, as it’s a bit of a dim morning. Of course she’s right, but I bark back that it’s a little early for me to be taking instructions, in a voice that sounds way too aggressive. She takes it on the chin because she feels guilty, but she has no reason to be. It’s not her fault. Yeh, but still I drive another mile before I flip the lights on.

After dropping her at the bottom of Quay Street at 8 o’clock, I exploit Whispering Blue’s hospitality for an early morning cup of tea. My brain is barely out of port, my sails are slack, but puffs and breezes of direction and possibility are blowing in.

I’m in the city with my car, and her car is dead back home, 15 miles from Galway City, most probably in need of a new battery. If I drive back home I can jump start her car, drive it to my mechanic in Galway, get a new battery fitted and then wait for her to finish work.

But that’s my entire day gone. My whole lovely day, empty of obligation and domestic dirge, full of work and opportunity.

No, I can't let all that go so easily. I hatch a plan. You’d think I’d have copped on by now, but I’m just one of the universe’s compulsive problem solvers.

Maybe just maybe I can convince my mechanic and his mate to come out to my place, start her car and take it back with them. Then I can still have the afternoon to work and - aha!

Aha indeed! This is the moment when my brain decides that I’d actually had a plan all along, thereby offering me the chance of not achieving it. Sorry to let you into my messy psyche, but we all suffer from our own patterns, and one of mine is to find ways to feel I’ve failed to work enough.

Anyway, yes, thankfully my mechanic shows sympathy for my plight. We arrange to meet by the garage in the village at 1. Home in a sleepy blur, unable to focus on work, I whip myself into a whirlwind of mindless domestic activity, then jump in Bennett and drive up to the village to meet my mechanic and his mate, who then follow me back to my house.

In two seconds the lads have her car running. Standing in front of my mechanic’s car, I bow as Nureyev might at the Bolshoi, extravagantly grateful to him and his mate who, having used their lunch hour to rescue me, promptly disappear into the distance..

Standing on my front step, I call the Snapper at work. Doubtless she’s worried about the car situation, and come on, let’s be honest: how often in our safe modern lives do we have the chance to rescue the damsel; to ride in on a white charger and kiss the sleeping Princess?

“Hey babe. It’s all sorted. I’m home and your car’s back in the city. It’ll have a new battery ready for you to pick up after work. All done my love. Sorted. I’m about to Ohhhh nooOOOOoooooo!”

“What’s the matter? Charlie, are you alright?”

“Ohhh, yeh, I’m alright. Just realised that my keyring’s gone back into town in your car. I gave it to himself to start your car and never thought when he drove off. Don't worry. I'll be fine. Bye.”

I’m locked out of Bennett, sitting smug, secure and silent, 4 feet away.
I’m locked out of my house, which I’d hoped to be inside all day.
I can’t go in and I can’t go out.
The day’s gone loony and my plans are up the spout.

Do the hokey pokey as you live life, ‘cos that’s what it’s all about.


Liam said...

Bet it all went downhill from there!

Charlie Adley said...

Well, no, it went wonderfully, because a certain columnist I'd read for years but never met before drove completely out of his way, giving me a lift all the way to my mechanic's in Salthill in his Merc.