‘Any plans for the weekend?’

‘Any plans for the weekend?’

Over breakfast, every Friday, this question is the topic of the morning. Today the question has that extra little frisson of glamour and intrigue, as today is the start of the August bank holiday weekend.

I have both options and obligations this weekend.

The obligation is solitary – a rehearsal on Sunday morning for my looming show about the leopard-print ladies and their quest for justice, in the searing heat of Tenerife.

Aside from that – well the sky’s the limit. I don’t have a driving lesson. Attila was pressuring me to take instruction on Sunday, but I made the executive decision that this weekend I would be unable to participate in his devilish plans. Instead I would be suffering from an imaginary 72 hour sprained ankle. I made my excuses.

The Howth Jazz and Blues Festival is on all weekend. I am not a massive fan of either jazz or blues. But I am a fan of Howth. It might be pleasant to go to this seaside town for periwinkles and jazzy beats. The gigs are free, and held in various venues around the coastal village. The duo Zrazy – who are known to me – will be performing tonight at Tophouse O’Neills. I am contemplating attendance.

Tomorrow night, is the opening night of the new play ‘Say nothin’ to No-one’ in Theatre Upstairs in town. I like the look of the poster, and a play with a title lifted straight from the Limerick vernacular (‘Say nothin’ to no-one, or I’ll give ye a kick in de eyelash’) sounds promising. It’s only a tenner. The down side to this plan is that it is the middle of summer. If the weather is good I don’t want to be cooped up in a stuffy theatre. Because it is opening night the friends and family of the cast will be in attendance. I may go later in the run instead.

Running until Monday is the GAZE Festival in the Lighthouse Cinema. This is the annual gay film festival. I have been through the programme and have highlighted the films I’d be interested in seeing. There’s a wide selection this year. The trouble however is, because the films tend to be low budget, they won’t get a wide cinema release. Therefore you have to trust your personal instinct regarding what you will watch. Obviously you can’t trust the programme as it is weighed down with hyperbolic descriptions of how ‘ground-breaking’; ‘moving’ and ‘visceral’ everything is. I have my beady, bloodshot little eye honed in on a few films though.

Then there’s the free stuff – the tourist trips I have yet to make. Maybe a walk on the Killiney Hill, or a stroll to the Hellfire Club in the Dublin Mountains? The River Dodder walk, or a wander out taking the route of the Royal Canal out as far as Castleknock?

So many choices.

I looked at my colleague and said ‘Oh I have no plans made. I want to have a quiet one. How about you?’

I am not being deliberately secretive or coy about my plans. It’s just that as so many colleagues have children, their weekend activities tend to be child based. If I tell people my options then I will be expected to give full reports of my extravagant adult life on Monday. Then they can look jealously at me, before reminding themselves, that I live an empty, meaningless life, devoid of purpose, because I have no children. The smug marrieds really do need this comfort I feel, so I don’t begrudge it to them. But I don’t want to hand it to them on a platter either.

‘Any plans yourself?’ said I.

‘Well my children – Shitty Betty and Pissy Jimmy’ – are participating in an under-8s football league on Saturday, so I will be cheering them on.’

‘Oh great. I guess you’ll be the taxi service as well then.’

‘Hahahaha. Well that’s parenthood.’

We chortled as we made our way back to our desks.


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