Christmas is over, the decorations are down and so is the general mood. It’s that time of year when not much happens in my world, apart from procrastinating over my tax return and trying to lose the two kilos I acquired drinking Baileys and eating festive food. It’s a well-known fact that it’s much harder to lose that bottle of Baileys than it is to drink it, and FYI a bottle of Baileys equates to a kilo of wobbly body fat. How do I know this? It’s not scientifically proven, but, a client of mine once put on a staggering 10 kgs over Christmas, which by her own admission, was mainly due to the fact that she drank ten bottles of Baileys over a two month period. I’m reminded of this every time I pour myself a generous half pint on the rocks and I’ve never quite gotten my head around whether or not I think it was admirable of her to be so indulgent. Surely drinking one of Ireland’s best exports with such abandon would have resulted in a mild case of diabetes?
Another observation that I’ve made over the years having watched my friends get married and have children is how their Christmases have evolved. Few have little enough time for themselves, but at Christmas, this seems exacerbated by their commitments to school activities, the social whirl of their offspring, and keeping both sets of in-laws happy. But once they have stopped dashing round the country seeing family, shouting out at pantos and cleaning up bloody wounds after ice skating, the time finally comes when they can enjoy their presents and the “adult toys” can come out to play.
And so the perfect day arrives, a drizzly Sunday at the beginning of January. All that remains of Christmas are a few stubborn pine needles that refuse to be vacuumed up and the stale remains of a panettone – that may or may not get made into a bread and butter pudding. The children are huddled over their devices plugged into the matrix, no human interaction is required. And there they are, unwrapped, but still in their boxes, untouched since the chaotic present opening on Christmas Day, the latest speakers, the drone and the watch that is akin to wearing mission control on your wrist, so vast is its functionality. All the toys come with the re-assuring instructions ‘easy to set up.’ But as aware as we are of how hard it is to lose the Baileys weight, we are also aware that nothing is ‘easy to set up’ unless you have a degree in engineering, are still at school, or designed the product yourself.
The pleasurable anticipation of playing with the adult toys rapidly dissipates. You quickly realise that the manufacturer’s promise of ‘easy to set up’ is a lie and it’s triggering your insecurities about being out of touch and technologically inadequate. In total frustration and to avoid the humiliation of having to ask your eight-year-old for help, you turn to Google. This only adds to your overwhelming sense of failure, as it quickly becomes apparent that nobody else in the world has ever typed in the questions you are asking regarding the set up of your toys. So you put them back into their boxes, pour yourself a large Baileys, dunk in a chunk of stale panettone and decide a) to wait for another rainy Sunday before you try again, or b) ask your eight-year-old.