I went into town today, to finally buy my first pair of doc martens. I was going to buy cherry red ones, but in the end I wimped out and went for black. The red is just… too much. You have to be very confident and badass to pull off boots that are going to clash with basically everything, but not clash so much that it looks obvious. There is an art to the cherry red docs. I went with black. After treating myself to lunch, I headed home and rang ahead to let them know I was nigh. ‘Oh yes, I’m just up in Donaghmede.’ says mum. ‘Your dad’s setting up his new telly so steer clear of the sitting room. Da can get awfully cranky when he’s setting up new toys.
Long has it been the same dance- The new toy will be brought home- a long lineage of televisions, VCR players, DVD players, radios, computers and stereos. Each time my dad stares bewildered at the landscape of increasingly complex and digital gadgets. He is a mechanical man at heart. His diagnosis for our slow dial up internet connection was that all the emails were getting ‘stuck in the wires’. So increasingly, he has to take time and care in setting things up. I like taking time and care too, but usually it is a bit frustrating to watch him because hey, I’m a child of the future. I grew up on computers and the internet. I carry a small computer around in my pocket, when you think about it. What I’m saying is, I speak the language. Maybe not very well, but I can get by, order a coffee and buy a train ticket. By contrast, my dad can’t even say ‘thank you.’ My brothers are the same, and in their eagerness to get the toy up and running, they tend to rush dad a bit. Prod him. My dad is a cranky man. he doesn’t like being prodded.
So usually when the new toy arrives that begins hours and hours of snapping, snarling, barking and alpha male posturing as the three men in my house each attempt to out-tech the other- My brothers squabble and try to outdo one another and both gang up on dad. It’s a nightmare. It all gets a bit tense.
I had been expecting roaring when I got home from town so I popped into him to make sure nobody was dead. Dad was alone, halfway through the set up on this spanking new telly. He had just clicked through to the wifi set up. ‘Ah jaysus what’s this?’ ‘Oh that’s the wifi code, dad.’ I say reasonably.’Let me get my laptop and I’ll fetch the code. For the next twenty minutes, my dad and I cordially set up the new telly between us, passing remote controls between us, clicking back and forth until all the settings were correct. Not a voice was raised, not a mistake was made. It was all very nice and gentle. Before long the match was on and dad was happy.
My brother came down from his room just as setup was finished, and within ten seconds of being in the room the barking had begun. Two and half hours later, the sound system is still not working and both the men are hoarse. They won’t even pass the remote control to one another without a screaming match.
So in conclusion- let me help with set up more often.
Niamh ‘I am basically the Pocahontas of Raheny’ Keoghan