Drying, running, oppressing, exams

Indo col 58:

It’s hard to beat a good day’s drying. I mean sure, you could enjoy the great weather by spending time out and about with family or friends, but in reality there are few things more enjoyable than getting wash after wash done, safe in the knowledge that not a single radiator will be involved in getting them dry. After a winter that overstayed its welcome by about three months – a period in which the average family home had the humidity level of a tropical rainforest thanks to clothes being dried indoors – the simple pleasure of hanging out laundry and knowing that getting it dry is a zero-cost exercise brings joy to the heart of misers everywhere. The only way this scenario could be sweeter is if you get the washing powder for free.

Is there ever a bad time to get free washing powder? Apparently, yes. If you’ve just run ten kilometres in 23 degree heat might not the best time, but especially so if you are a woman. The goodie bags from the Dublin Women’s Marathon contained a few items, but the ones that got the most scrutiny were a generous single dishwasher tablet and a sachet of washing powder. The message was clear: You’ve trained for months, working hard on your mind and body to get ready for the race, and now it’s done it’s really time for you to get back to what really matters – your domestic chores such as washing plates and clothes.

Of course, some runners were quick to point out that they had received similar gifts in many other marathons, and just as many pointed out that they never received gifts like these before.  If I were to take part in a marathon and be given a gift aimed at me because I am a man, say a bushel of pornography, a signed photo of MacGyver, or a lathe, I would probably be pleased. This is because I am a man and I don’t care what you give me as long as it’s free. But it is hard to figure out how those who selected items for the bags could be so tone deaf – offering gifts that imply domestic servitude at a Women’s Mini Marathon.  If only they had included a colour catcher to stop your red handmaid’s cape from running into your white bonnet. Under His eye!

If Leaving Cert science taught me anything, it’s that we always get great weather for exams. This is because it is an area of high pressure followed by one of deep depression, and also because God, like anyone over 40, wants to be able to go to the beach without any teenagers flinging a frisbee into His face, so He schedules heatwaves during exams.

My daughter is sitting her Junior Cert today, and she, like most of her class, has no idea why she is doing it, what the purpose of it all is, or what she wants to do in life. I’m not sure what to say to motivate her, apart from mentioning escalating house prices. Sometimes I worry that my relaxed approach to her education is wrong, that I should push her more, or try and offer her some career guidance, despite the fact that my LinkedIn profile is littered with burned bridges, poisoned wells and smoking craters where my contacts list should be.

But then I think back to a young man who gave us a talk in college about how to become a video editor. He told us about his hard work and creativity, his focus, how he studied hard and was one of the youngest video editors at his level. We all thought he was great. After he left, our lecturer informed us that what the young man had failed to tell us was that his parents were both editors and that he grew up in a house that had its own editing suite. He simply chose to edit that out of his narrative. So at least I can reassure my daughter she could pursue a lukewarm career in journalism, although she might want to skip transition year and get in fast before they pull up the drawbridge completely.

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