I was going to write a political piece for the week of the Irish election but then I thought my blog is meant to be about maybe you smile, so I decided to re-work a piece that is in my book, as a metaphor to the running of the country.
When we moved into our new house in 2005, my Mother in Law, Kathleen and her friend came down to help us move in. Kathleen helped me to unpack and unwrap all of the crockery, ornaments and vaguely valuable possessions. and Mick and Alan got busy drilling.
I’m sorry if those outdated gender roles offend anyone, but that’s just the way it was that day. I can barely operate the blender so there’s no way I’m going to trust myself operating a drill, as it was a bit too early to start re-modelling the house.
The friend insisted on putting up the curtain poles and went about it with military style precision measuring for the drop of the curtains etc. I’m not sure where exactly he went wrong, maybe the numbers on the tape measure were in a foreign language, maybe it’s because our house is slightly elevated spot, but every set of bloody curtains ending up being a good 5 inches off the floor – not the look I was going for.
At this point, I realised erectile dysfunction was clearly an issue for older men. I politely thanked him for all of his hard work, through gritted teeth whilst silently wishing I could poke his eyes out with the drill.
You may think that’s a bit extreme but it was my new home and I actually cared what it looked like back in those days – having spent half my interiors budget on glossy magazines, I had an interior design vision! I took a deep breath and thought it was no great harm as we could change them as soon as they were back on the road to Dublin.
But as this was a newly built house, with newly plastered and painted walls, Mick flat out refused to take the curtain poles down and start again as it would leave great big gaping holes in the walls. For several years, I had to suffer the torture of looking at these half-mast curtains every day. Imagine the lad at school that suddenly grew 5 inches one weekend and his Mum refused to buy him new school trousers exposing his white, hairy ankles, to me that is how the curtain gap looked.
This may not seem like a huge deal to many of you, but I have mild OCD, so much so that my friend used to re-arrange my photo frames on my mantelpiece every time she visited as they were “too symmetrical”. I would sit on the sofa watching TV at night being taunted by the Wicklow gap at the base of the curtains, making my skin crawl, much like a huge spider scurrying away in the house of an arachnophobe would.
Whilst Mick was not the perpetrator of this crime against interior design, as the years passed I began to learn that this was actually just a ‘man thing’ as whenever I asked him or my Dad to put up nails for shelves, photo-frames, paintings etc they were never just quite how I wanted them and I had to accept that erectile dysfunction is indeed universal.
Nothing on Pinterest is ever wonky, or slightly too high. I’m guessing they have carpenters, professionally trained in dealing with complicated erections, working on those picture-perfect images or maybe a bit of technological magic.
As the vast majority of us mere mortals, don’t have a home makeover team on speed dial or even a handyman that returns answer phone messages, living within a 50-mile radius, then we are stuck relying on the free labour of the nearest, erectily dysfunctional man, with a tool obsession. I guess beggars can’t be choosers really.
I have had to learn to accept a few things about my husband (and men in general.). One being that, they cannot read minds, especially women’s. They do not understand the intricacies of our plan, our vision, our creative genius and when we showed them a picture of it in a magazine, despite telling us otherwise, they were not actually paying attention.
Mick has always joked, the only set of instructions he has ever seen me read, were those in a pregnancy test, whereas he, of course reads and follows instructions to the letter, so maybe I should start typing out my instructions with a diagram. when I want pictures put up in a specific spot, with lines pointing out to which part of the wall each edge of the frame is meant to rest. This may indeed be the cure for erectile dysfunction.
I have resigned myself to the fact that, as I cannot operate a drill safely or a screwdriver accurately, it is best just to smile sweetly at the slightly wonky shelf and say ‘ that’s perfect dear’ otherwise I will be subject to the true meaning of DIY, when he throws his tools to floor shouting “if you don’t like it, you can bloody well “Do It Yourself”.
After 14 years of a happy marriage and hoping to make it to 60 years eventually, I have learnt that there are some times that I just have to keep quiet. Mick never takes kindly to me criticising his driving, his parking, his sports team and I decided that us women just have to accept our photo frames will forever be wonky, but then maybe I’ll just give that carpenter one last call!
But how does this apply to politics and our Government? Well, we all want a perfect look and function for our Country. But at this stage we all have a different idea of what that should actually be and it seems the instructions have been lost. We all have to accept that it really isn’t perfect, because that only actually happens in the word of photoshop.
Levels of satisfaction have been very low in Ireland for a long time, what we need is someone erecting the shelves for Ireland with a picture of a better standard for everyone in this Country at the forefront of their mind. People who will give it their best shot, who continue even if they hammer their own thumb by mistake, but learn from that and do it better the next time until they get it right.
We certainly need to making sure that as the electorate, we are shouting “left a bit (or rather a lot)” to ensure social justice and fairness are achieved and we all need to make sure that our voices are being heard and not accepting “sure it’s grand”.
We need to take a long hard look at our budget and see what is actually needed to get our house in order, starting with paying the craftsmen a lot less.
Fortunately a lot of the broken old tools have been thrown out and I hope the new shiny ones don’t take too long to start working at optimum levels. But it they mess it up first time, lets just give them a chance to find their groove.
Sadly there is no little blue pill to fix the kind of dysfunction we’ve dealing with, and the flacid state it has left so much of our Country. but with time, care and genuine effort, I truly believe it can be solved and the needs of everyone can be satisfied.