It is 4.49pm on Friday, April 3rd, year 2346, and both sisters have somehow wandered into my room and are lying prostrate on my bed, not understanding the fact I am very much still working but also understanding the fact I am so very done with working and just want a big, fat bag of cans. I have that kind of pent-up stress and something akin to adrenaline one experiences when Friday feeling meets an excruciating and completely uncooperative to-do list.
4.50pm: My father has ambled in with a slipper in hand telling me has a surprise to show me. He is smiling his gapped grin that generally means I’m about to be forced to fake laugh at teenage boy humour or trouble.
I am beginning to sweat with over stimulation.
His surprise, it transpires, is the one missing jigsaw piece from our 1,000 piece extravaganza that we pulled out a lot of couches looking for. My dad, who thought our puzzle obsession worrying and ridiculous, was bizarrely the most-affected by the piece’s premature loss (the puzzle was new) and was a hair away from ripping open the hoover bag to see if my mother had zapped it up on one of her dust massacres. The piece, as he holds it up in the almost-5pm glow, has just turned up somehow lodged in the sheepskin of his snow-shoe slipper. Miracles do occur. Friday feeling = activated.
HOW I wish he’d emptied the hoover bag now.
While he struts around, enjoying this rare admittance into my yogi lair (if I have the pecuniary savvy to put a cent aside every time I hear, ‘what sounds were you making through the wall?’ while in family quarantine, I will be able to buy property in a single-digit Dublin postcode when this is over) and berating me for possessions strewn around my room he claims to be “preciously his”, I decide to put him to good use and entrust him with changing my lightbulbs.
I don’t know what it is about lightbulbs – perhaps it is the adult banality of them that frightens me, or perhaps just the fear of paralysing electrocution – but I am truly petrified of them and avoid buying, changing, or learning anything about them at all costs. I have lived off the flickering light of candles for six months, rather than purchase a lightbulb.
It was a rookie mistake, on my part, asking for father’s help. My dad might be a man but god bless him, he’s really not that handy. Lord, I hope he never reads that; it might just break his heart. Actually, I don’t care, he insulted me by first asking, earnestly and far too uncertainly, if I had remembered to try plugging the lamp in first? REALLY?
His only other contributions of note were picking up my empty water glasses which, alongside doing “poop patrol” (shovelling up – and excitedly counting – the excrement of my very lovely labrador and completely bizarre cat who thinks and shits like a dog in the middle of our garden), I’m pretty sure is his favourite hobby. I wish I was a better writer so I could describe the glee when he finds a forlorn plate, abject glass in our bedrooms. I won’t even mention the euphoria when we’ve lied about having crockery upstairs and he gets to be the Clueso to catch us out – never has a dishwasher been so lovingly loaded.
4.54pm and instead of ascertaining why the Lord will not give me light, he is unswivelling the one working lightbulb in my room and sticking it into the definitely not working lamp. Sister – who really is very handy – barks instructions from her languorous horizontality (a whole HAPE of words being invented today!) on my once-made bed. Poor sister is actually very handy and “techy” – a term used in my family for anyone who’s mastered the TV remote and the “have you tried turning it on again” rule – almost to her detriment, having been enlisted as my incredibly intelligent yet incomprehensibly dense father’s slave in all matters pertaining to email, iPhone updates, where a certain device was last seen, and the “Add to Queue” Spotify function.
No wonder she is soon up and deftly moving my father away from tripping the entire street’s electricity. (Dad, if you’re reading this, of course I know you wouldn’t do this, I’m just exploiting you for comedic gain so people will think I’m funny and therefore like and/or fancy me – you know you’re great xxx)
In 20 seconds, she has the problem solved: IKEA are shneaky bastards who only want their lightbulbs in their precious, stunningly minimalist, surprisingly calming, light fixtures. WILL NOTHING EVER GO MY WAY?
“Seeing as you’re on a roll…” my father begins. Sister rolls her eyes at what is now a running joke at my father’s technological neediness. “WHAT?” she asks warily. “I just need a document scanned…”
They leave the room in a cacophony of counteracting arguments about the amount of times sister has shown my father HOW. TO. SCAN.
Other sister calls it a day and announces it is tea and cake time. It is 4.59pm. My mother is planting potatoes out my window. Lola the Labrador sniffs in the grass with her regal strut. We are 61 minutes away from our new Friday night ritual of cans and fags near a body of water so we can feel young and free and positively wild in an otherwise tame existence. My darlings, happy (although unhappily unlit – in every sense, HEYO) Friday.
- The indescribably joy that is going to course through my veins when I finally – after ions of searching, questioning – put the missing jigsaw piece in place and whisper, “at last, the final piece of the puzzle.” Move over Jessica Fletcher.