As I write this post, I am vaguely delirious. The fumes from my hair dye are soaking into my brain. I’m going to see if I can write this in the 30 minutes that I have to let the colour in my hair “develop”.
Look down on the Irish Research Council this week. Shower them with Your blessings. Hold them in the palm of Your hand. Imbue them with Your own spirit of generosity, charity and love.
If it is Your will, oh Lord, have them look kindly on my humbly-proffered scholarship application. They are due to make the decision this week, oh Lord, and I pray that You intervene to soften their hearts towards me and allow me into the light of their favour.
I may be a sinner, oh Lord, and I may not be the finest PhD student of all time, but having done an honest inventory of all my actions, I believe that, on balance, I am A Good Person, and as such, I deserve at least some funding, so that I do not have to spend the next year selling my wares on Grafton Street, like the market traders whom You, in Your infinite wisdom, cast out of Your Father’s Temple.
Look upon this endeavour with favour, I beseech Thee, oh Lord. To You be power and glory and praise for ever and ever.
Yesterday started with an email from my Russian bosses. My flights to Rostov are booked and I leave in less than two weeks. An awfully big adventure beckons. And I’ll record it all here.
Then I went to get a haircut. The last twice I’ve been to the barber’s, the barber hasn’t given me what I’ve asked for, insisting I be more subtle. Finally, I discovered the key to getting what you want. Don’t go to a “proper” barber. I went to a Chinese man who charges six euro for a cut. He did exactly what I told him. It’s not in the least bit subtle. It’s very tight and very high on the back and sides and there’s lots of hair left on top for a mohawk/quiff/floppy creation. The barber assured me that the ladies would love it. Thank goodness for that.
And now I’m putting more red dye in and the smell of peroxide is permeating all of Dublin 6.
I had planned to dye it yesterday before I went out to a party, but then my brother phoned to say that he, his wife and his eighty-six (OK, actually four) children were driving through Dublin and would call in for a visit. So that put paid to any pre-party plans I had.
And of course it was lovely. My nephews and nieces are adorable. They counted the giant goldfish in Hall’s pond. They had adventures in the “forest” beside Cunningham House and each got a big leaf to take home, because children have weird ideas about what matters. They found the ducks who were asleep in the summer sun. I stupidly said that they might see a squirrel and then we didn’t see one, which caused much consternation. Because I am a childless 32-year-old man, I only have four cuddly toys in my kitchen. You would think that four toys divided between four children would go perfectly. It doesn’t. At all.
As we walked into the college botanic gardens at the back of Hall, my four-year-old nephew looked up at me and asked “Uncle Connor, is your wife dead?” I said she wasn’t. He then asked, “Where’s your wife?” I said that I don’t have one. So he asked, “Are you a priest?” And I laughed and said no. And so, of course, he asked “Why don’t you have a wife?” Both my brother and my sister-in-law visibly stiffened. I said,”I don’t have a wife because I’m so young” and my nephew accepted this answer. And the moment passed. And everyone looked relieved. Phew!
Of course, long term, this is something that will have to be revisited, but we’ll leave it there for now.
After they’d left, with their leaves and their stories of ducks and goldfish and squirrels that never were, I ordered a taxi to the restaurant where I was meeting my friends. It was a swanky Cuban restaurant in Dublin 4 called, quite accurately, “Bella Cuba”. When I told the taxi driver the name of the restaurant he asked if it was a Chinese restaurant. I let out the tiniest of giggles before telling him it was Cuban. I think I managed to be polite. The only problem is that my tiny giggles tend to be big and whoopy. My laugh is famous both at work and in college for carrying beyond the walls of whatever room I’m in.
Anyway, I had a lovely dinner, with lovely friends. And then went to town. And, to my shame, for only the third time this year, I went clubbing. I used to be fun. I used to like parties. I used to go out regularly. And I will again.
It was a salsa club, which was very exotic to me. There were beautiful Latin American dancers. There were Irish people who danced well too. And then there were the Irish people who were quite clearly looking at the floor and counting their steps carefully. I’m not sure which I looked at more, the handsome Venezuelan men with the hypnotic elastic hips and perky bottoms, or the sweaty, shuffling Wexford men as they counted out the steps.
It was very hot in there. I myself sweated like a pig masturbating in a desert. I fanned myself with a fan of beer mats and unbuttoned my shirt to the point where one of my friends said “That’s enough buttons, Connor.”
I lasted until 1:30, which is now a late night for me. I really must get my health back.
And eating has continued to go well this week. I was talking to my doctor and revealed that the only two real binges I had since starting this diet were one after my (very good) week one weigh-in and my (not so good) week two weigh-in. And she has decided to ban me from weighing and measuring regularly. Instead I’m trying to focus on a diet where I eat well and stop making myself sick. And stop getting into a loop of eating better and better as the weigh-in approaches and eating worse when it seems distant. And stop allowing the number on the scale dictate my mood. It’ll be hard.
So, I’ll weigh myself again at the end of August. In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed that I continue to treat myself well and eat myself healthy.
Oh, and say a little prayer that I’ll get that scholarship for next year.