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A Different View

Chatterboxes on the train can throw you right off track

Dave O'Connell

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

When the woman sitting behind you on the 7.30 from Galway to Heuston starts her mobile conversion with: “I hate talking on the train” and then carrying on like it was her life’s work, you know you’re in for a bumpy ride.

At least I was half awake – which was more than could be said for the unfortunate woman at the other end.

“I didn’t realise how early it was – I don’t wear a watch,” she said – neglecting to look at the massive clock on the front of her bloody phone.

There was a glimmer of hope when she encountered a poor signal, leading to renewed hopes she’d either hang up or move – but no, there’s a better solution than that.

You simply raised your voice several decibels to a level where, if she opened the train window, the dog-tired woman at the other end could probably have heard her for free.

Who knew, but apparently shouting down your mobile jumps you onto the next nearest mast, this overcoming signal problems that force lesser mortals to hang up.

The conversion wasn’t even about a lift from Heuston Station – and even if it was, a text would surely do – but it was a one-sided run-through of arrangements for the New Year, which was then fully four weeks away.

That said, clearly 8am on a Friday morning was the perfect time to discuss it in the sort of detail that would do justice to a professional party planner.

And now they’re opening up the air to these mobile warriors – first class fliers can use their own mobiles or the ones provided for the price of a small continent while floating over clouds and sea.

And in fairness, who could resist the temptation to make a call at forty thousand feet.

“Guess where I’m ringing you from?”

“Ah, go on – you’ll never guess; you won’t believe it.”

And so it would continue, disturbing the calm of the business class customers who may think twice in future about all of this luxury even if they can claim it back against tax.

Those of us who were around when the mobile – and I use the word loosely because it was actually more like a brick – first came onto the market will remember the yuppie roaring into it at the bar, just to show the world he had one.

Chances are there wasn’t even anyone at the other end, but that scarcely mattered because our friend always had plenty to say. And arguably he was talking to his only friend….himself.

One of the nice things about flying is that you get a break from mobile phones; it almost compensates for the knees driven into your back and the reclined customer in front of you who wouldn’t be any closer to you if they sat on your lap.

It’s fair enough to have access to the outside world on a train – I’ve made the odd quick call myself – but is it really necessary to discuss New Year’s Eve at before eight o’clock of a morning when the dammed day is still a month away?

Trains sometimes have quiet carriages, where phones – and perhaps children – might be unwelcome visitors. But a little bit of common courtesy might also go a long way.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Grandparents are the glue that became unstuck during Covid

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

IT goes without saying that lockdown has been hard for everyone – with the possible exception of hermits – but few have felt it more than grandparents, confined to barracks and deprived of those hugs from the grandchildren.

Looking at them through windows may only have made it worse, because little kids don’t understand why nana and granddad won’t come out; they don’t realise they want to, more than anything in the whole world.

This pandemic has given us plenty of time to reflect; a chance to remember what is truly important and what we should cherish instead of taking for granted.

And arguably, grandparents should be on top of that list.

You’ll have heard it said that being a grandparent is like you’ve been given a second chance; an opportunity to spend time in retirement with the next generation that work deprived you of when it came to your own.

There’s also a notion espoused by some of those grandparents that you love them more than your own kids, because this time, when you’re finished playing with them, you can give them back.

I never knew any of my four grandparents, because they were all dead before I was born. My own sons never knew my parents because they too had long departed before the next generation arrived.

But thankfully they did grow up with two grandparents as an integral part of their lives – and not just minding them, which they did with a commitment for which we will be ever grateful.

The measure of success in this department is that your children see your parents as just a part of the family; there’s an easy familiarity every time they meet, just like picking up the pieces without a second thought.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Home is still full of memories even when it’s an empty nest

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

We’ve all heard the phrase – and perhaps dread the concept; the empty nest, after the fledglings take flight and you’re left rattling around in a quiet house with just memories of those days of pandemonium and noise.

The social policy-makers would tell you that this is the time to downsize; save yourself the steps of the stairs and the cleaning, and cut down on the heating bills to enjoy your autumn days in accommodation more appropriate to your reduced needs.

And from a purely economic perspective, there’s merit in that. You have a house that’s now too big for you, and others can’t find a home of any size, let alone one sufficient for a full family – but that’s only one side of the argument.

The other is that your house is your home, and not because of its size – it’s because of its location, and your familiarity with its every nook and cranny. It’s also where those fly-away chicks still see as home, even if they’re now no more than occasional visitors.

As you grow older, familiarity is more important than ever; without the beautiful distraction of children, you grow even more dependent on neighbours and your community and the facilities you know on your old doorstep.

You know how long it takes to get to the shops or to the pub; you know you to give a spare key to in case you’re out when a delivery is due – or later on, if there’s a fear you might have a fall.

Your lifetime’s treasures – except for the children – are in your home; the sort of stuff others might see as clutter, but to you they are memories of holidays or graduations or births or marriages…those glory days that marked the chapters of your family life.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Authors’ pot luck – or insight into predicting a terrible future

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s eerie how some people can appear to have an ability to see into the future; forecasting an event or a phenomenon, years – sometimes even centuries – before it comes to pass.

Much was made this year of a number of books and movies that anticipated what we now know as the Coronavirus pandemic; predictions that even led to renewed interest in publications like Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year that goes back to 1722.

Edgar Allan Poe described a fictional epidemic at the centre of his short story, the Masque of the Red Death.

“No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains and sudden dizziness and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution.”

More recently, Albert Camus’ the Plague explored the human toll of epidemics back in 1947 – and of course, the end of the world has been the subject of more movies than almost anything else.

But that’s not really suggesting they have some incredible insight into the future; Dystopian plots or backdrops are almost standard fare, and the spread of some toxin or virus is the easiest vehicle for writer’s to plot.

That doesn’t mean the reader or viewer isn’t stopped in their tracks when they come across a piece or a film that appears to have predicted the future.

One such slim volume that fulfils that brief is really just a long essay, entitled Here is New York.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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