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A Different View

Going with your parents is the holiday from hell

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Volleyball on Salthill beach during the hot weather this week

You know, of course, that your children love you, but as the years go by, it’s no longer unconditional – it’s a love from a safe distance, because they no longer want to be in the same space as you.

Most of the time they can tolerate being under the same roof, but ideally not in the same room unless there’s football on the telly and there’s no other way of seeing it.

And then there’s their idea of hell – a family holiday where there’s no escape from you night or day. You quickly learn not to take it personally of course, because the sad reality is that you’re the real problem; you embarrass them by wearing shorts, or sandals with socks, or tattered old tee-shirts that urge foreigners to kiss you just because you’re Irish.

And it only seems like yesterday they didn’t seem to mind of this at all, but back then they saw the world through more innocent eyes – and they thought you were great even when you weren’t.

They sang songs with you from the back of the car on long journeys and, when you ran out of tunes or voice or both, they were content to count all the red cars out through the window.

They were also small enough to sleep in the back – but these days they’re blessed with the sort of angular limbs that fold like they’ve fallen off a roof. Anyway the notion of sitting up straight isn’t an option when you can easily slouch instead.

They might still sing songs in the car, but it’s because they’re accompanying the tune on their iPod – so the only version the rest get to hear is the one without all of the words and in a different key.

There may be scenery on either side if you look out the window, but the video or game on their tablet is a better option every time. It’s enough of a sacrifice that you’ve torn them away from their wi-fi connection, but they’re not going any further back into the dark ages by actually making conversation.

Then you look at it from their perspective – and first we’ll deal with the driving holiday.

Parents are old people; they’re not fun and they have no sense of direction. And when they lose their way – as they always do – they fight. It used to be worse, of course, when you had to rely on maps and the only way you could read them was to unfold them and in the process block the entire front window. But even with GPS, it’s no picnic, not least when you have a third party in the row – the guy with the plumy voice on the sat nav who’s sending you in the wrong direction.

Then there’s taste – parents like RTÉ chat shows, kids want music that parents don’t consider music at all. Parents like to stop at tourist attractions – castles, vineyards, churches, museums – while youngsters only want to stop to shop or eat.

If you’re on a flight, they’d prefer not to sit beside you but even more so they’d prefer not to have to sit beside any of their siblings. And they don’t want the nice looking air hostess to know they’re going on holidays with their parents.

If it’s a sun holiday, the hormones enter the equation and any self-respecting teenager’s worst nightmare is to be chatting up a member of the opposite sex only to see their Mammy making a bee-line for them so they can be introduced to ‘your new friend’. The solution – not that it really is one – is to allow them on a long leash.

For more of Dave’s observations on holidays with the family see this week’s Tribune

Connacht Tribune

Always someone waiting to be the new kid in town

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The person who invented the flip phone probably thought that they were made up for life – and they possibly were because they’d have made a lot of money in a short space of time, but if they spent it as though this was a bottomless pit, it might not have been enough to last a lifetime.

We’d come from a time when the cutting edge of communication technology was a mobile device that was literally as big as a brick – so a little fold-away phone that doubled in size when you opened it out, or one of those where the mouthpiece slid from the back of the main phone, made us feel like things would never be the same again.

And then you discover that’s only the start of it; long before the iPhone came along with the whole world stored in the palm of your hand or an Android device allowed you to access all you’d ever need to know at the flick of a thumb, the flip phone was the dog’s proverbials.

But then so too were Amstrad computers, the budget option that made Alan Sugar a very rich man – wealthy enough to buy Tottenham Hotspur and discover that football is a way of leaking cash as quickly as computers might generate it.

Go back through recent history and you’ll find it’s littered with breakthroughs that seemed to take the world to a place that could never be bettered – only to find themselves on the technological scrapheap before the decade was out.

Telex machines, faxes, tape recorders, electronic organisers, camcorders, video players, floppy disks – all developments that looked set to make our world forever only to discover they were just another stepping stone on the way to hi-tech heaven.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Phone zombies add additional degree of difficulty for walkers

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There was a time that students communicated with home about once every blue moon – and only then if they’d ran out of money. There was no real point in writing or phoning home for any other reason.

But now it appears they can’t be out of contact for more than a minute – or at least that’s how it looks if you try to negotiate a way through the hoards of them that stride four-abreast down the street, not one of them looking in the direction their feet are taking them.

They are on their phones, communicating with someone although probably not home – because they give off an intensity and urgency that suggests this messaging couldn’t possibly have waiting until they reached their destination.

Either that or they have become so dependent on Sat Nav that they fear they wouldn’t find their way to college without Google Maps – and so they walk, head down, staring at the screen, oblivious to other pedestrians or even telegraph poles.

And as you dodge around them, you wonder what’s so important that it won’t wait until they’re sitting down somewhere; have they a shares portfolio that has taken a hammering on the morning’s trading?

More likely, they’re watching TikTok or videos on YouTube, while wandering in public spaces like the last of the headless zombies.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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

Twenty one years after the day the world stood still in horror

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s hard to believe that this week marked 21 years since we were stopped in our tracks at the sight of two planes exploding at full speed into the sides of the Twin Towers – not alone taking down part of New York’s iconic skyline but rocking our world to its core.

We may have missed the first plane, but every one of us can remember exactly where we were as the second plane followed suit, careering through the smoke of the first crash to explode in front of the eyes of the world.

It was so shocking it was difficult to even take in; the first incident might have been a tragedy caused by pilot error or illness – but there was no mistaking the deliberate intent when the same act of terrorism was repeated just 17 minutes later.

And this time the terrorists had the eyes of the world on their act, because we’d tuned into the live pictures of the smoke billowing from the North Tower – to see the hijackers crash UA Flight 175 into floors 75 to 85 of the South Tower, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.

I was working in the Irish Star at the time, where we had one television halfway down the newsroom. With the time difference between Dublin and New York, it was just coming up to 2pm, when the management team met to discuss the news stories for next day’s paper.

It didn’t take a brainstorming session to work out what would fill the paper, and the global news agenda, the next day – except it was already impossible to annunciate just what had happened live on every television station on the planet.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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