On the dry

On Saturday I decided to break with my usual January tradition - which is to stay in every weekend between new year's and pay day drinking a bottle of wine in front of the telly - and go out on the town instead.

However - taking into account my poor financial situation - I stayed on the dry and spent the night sipping 7-up.

I don't know if it reflects badly on me or my friends but I have to confess I didn't really enjoy it.

The night started grand, the usual chit chat around the pub table and catching up on gossip but the more the drinks flowed and the more repetitive the conversation became, the more I wanted to leave.

It was only half ten though so I made myself stay till after midnight - a period of time that felt like forever.

Now don't get me wrong. I know when I'm drinking I'm exactly the same as my friends. My face gets flushed and I tell everyone about my bitch boss Amanda over and over and over again. Then I start talking about John. Then I start talking about travelling. I'm very predictable.

But my God is it tedious to watch everyone else do the same thing without a few drinks on me. Stories really stop getting interesting after the third telling.

My friends are great sober - and drunk - but mixing my sober self with their drunk selves isn't an experiment I'd be keen on repeating.

Having said that it did get me out of the house which means I'm not suffering from cabin fever after yet another weekend sat in watching Ryan Tubridy and going to bed early.

Pay day is another week off so I'm already trying to think of non alcohol related activities for next weekend.

One of my friends wants to go hiking - I'm not sure if I'm ready for such clean living - but I am meant to be embracing all things new so we'll see.

In the meantime, I'm going out to buy a cookbook. I spent all of Sunday afternoon watching Come Dine with Me.

I'm convinced there's a domestic goddess is lying dormant in me and now is her time to shine.


Back to basics

I have many problems with public transport but the biggest one is the public.

I could just about cope with overcrowded trains and buses if everyone on them had the same basic level of hygiene.

But have you noticed there's always someone who doesn't believe in deodorant, toothpaste or shampoo?

I had to get a dart recently. It was after work so there were dozens of tired commuters scrambling for seats.

Having spotted three empty seats when the train drew in I raced onto the carriage.



The occupant in the fourth seat stank of b. o. As exhausted as I was and as swollen as my feet were in high heels I couldn't stomach a journey sitting close to him. Not even an open window could shift the stink.

Instead I forced my aching feet to stand at the other end of the carriage where for the next half hour I watched more and more people repeat my mistake.

In a busy rush hour, in a carriage where people were standing shoulder to shoulder, three seats remained empty all the way between Pearse Street and Dun Laoghaire.

Maybe it's a defence mechanism. Perhaps these people are being clever, choosing not to wash so they always get the good seats and no one will crowd them.

It's not just body odour that's an issue. The most common problem I've found on buses and trains is unwashed hair. There's generally someone - and it's usually a guy - scratching a greasy head.

Even if you have over active glands or whatever it is that makes you smelly, wouldn't that be sorted by a daily encounter with soap and water?

I say it's time to give bus drivers and ticket inspectors more power. If the smelly culprits were refused permission to travel, they'd learn to shower quick enough.

Then the rest of us could have their seats!

Happy New Niamh

Now that I've remembered I can use my hands for something other than shovelling food into my mouth I've decided to write some new year resolutions.

I can admit that in the past I have been guilty of failing to stick to chosen resolutions. I promised myself I'd learn to salsa and try a skydive in 2008.... some day.

But this year things are going to be different. The winds of change are sweeping through my life.

If you'll remember part of the reason I was reluctant to move in with my boyfriend John last year was because I felt I hadn't done enough in my own life and I shouldn't be settling down just yet.

Well, that's all going to change in 2009. I'm going to shake things up and find out if I'm happy to continue with the status quo or if I should just be brave and break out.

I am going to try at least one new thing a month. It doesn't have to be major, it could be something really simple like having a new drink or eating something unusual like sushi. I know nibbling on sushi isn't exactly an earth shattering achievement for most but it'd be a big step for me. Raw fish does not a dinner make.

But back to the point. If, after six to eight months of these activities, I still feel like I'm drifting along without purpose, then it's back to the Big Life Plan which means buying a backpack and heading overseas. My friend Lorraine* is talking about going to Australia next Summer and unless I manage to shake up my life - I'm going to go with her.

I still have to tell John this but I'm hoping he'll be ok with it. In fact if he wanted to come that'd be even better.

It may sound selfish but I don't think I'll ever find a better time in my life to do this. I'm not married, I don't have children and while I don't hate my job it doesn't make me jump for joy every day.I'm just coasting along and I know if I don't do something about that I'll drift through life and find myself forty with kids and still annoyed that I haven't broken out of my cozy little existence. That's not fair to anyone - especially John.

Now it could be I find that getting off my ass and being pro active is all it takes to change my perspective which would be great because frankly hip hop lessons will cost a hell of a lot less than my air fare down under.

Which brings me conveniently to my next point. If someone in their early twenties* were to wear baggy pants to a street dancing class designed for teenagers  - would they look down with the kids or like a disco granny?

* May not be her real name.
* May be in her late twenties.