Tag Archives: chat

Dressing for Success

I’m unsure where I heard it, but there’s a joke that television newsreaders only concern themselves with their clothing from the waist upwards, since they sit behind desks, when presenting the news. I recently had an experience that made me feel akin to a news reporter, when I had to do an interview using Skype. Only now, that I have resigned from my current job, do I have opportunity to tell this faux pas.

“I have a Skype interview tomorrow,” I told one friend excitedly. “It is for a job in Luxembourg.”

“You have an interview with Skype? They are based in Luxembourg? How cool is that!?”

“No, the interview is not with Skype, it’s on Skype, as opposed to a telephone.”

“Fancy,” said the friend.

“What will I wear? Should I wear a suit?”

The question of what to wear bugged me. It felt pointless to wear a suit on my day off, when I’d be sitting at home. The interview was a few days away. I put the matter to the back of mind, hoping my subconscious would push a solution forward at some stage.

The day of the interview arrived. I didn’t wear a suit or a tie. I did my hair nice, ensured I was clean-shaven and wore a blue shirt. Half an hour before the scheduled call, I even did a screen test to make sure I looked my prettiest. All was well. This was no telephone interview; visuals were important.

At 10.30, the call came through on Skype as scheduled. I switched my camera on and wished the callers good morning. No response. On the screen I could see a man and a woman sitting behind a desk, appearing as if they were about to deliver their country’s Eurovision ratings. They talked, but I could hear nothing.

“Sorry,” I said. “Nothing is coming through. You can hear me, yes? There seems to be a problem with the audio on your end.”

This routine continued for minutes more, until I determinedly said we should resort to a regular telephone interview, like they used to in the good old days. I stood up to locate the house phone. Just then, did something strike me with the force of a bus. They, the interviewers, may have seen me from the waist down. Stupidly, I had neglected to address my lower half. I wore pyjama bottoms.They were not regular grey or navy pyjamas. They were baggy, purple, chequered ones. I wonder if they saw them? Mortification, I thought. I returned to the PC. The interviewers appeared busy trying to figure the reason for their muteness. I hunched onto the seat so as not to give them another flash of my négligé. I showed them the phone and IM’d them my telephone number.

My performance in the interview was not my best. The recruiters gave me good feedback and said they would be in contact within a few days. Three days later, I received a sparsely worded email, informing me that my experience did not match the profile of the role they recruited for. I was disappointed. Rejection is rejection in whatever form. My ego was bruised.

I told my brother the news. “I didn’t get the job in Luxembourg. I am disappointed.”

He paused. “I am sorry to hear that. Sure there will be more jobs, no?”

“I suppose,” I replied, glumly.

“What did they say to you about your interview?”

“I just received an email saying I wasn’t suited to the role. There wasn’t much to the email.”

“Sure Stephen, you can’t be that surprised you didn’t get the job, can you?”

“What do you mean?” I asked him this, expecting some insider information on my performance.

“They saw you in your pyjamas! No matter how good the interview went, you wore your pyjamas.”

“I had forgotten that.”

My brother and I laughed in unison for some time.

Newsreaders may very well only dress from the waist up, but in times of technical faults on set, it is most unlikely they’ll be required to stand up and resolve the issue.

Lesson learned.

Sweet Nothings

Things I’ve said on dates –

“If you throw that snowball at me, I will will force feed you it!”

“With political views like that, you’d never make it in politics. No one would vote for you. In fact, you’d have to be a dictator to enact ridiculous policies like forcing unemployed people to do public service.”

“I showed your picture to my friend. She thought you were very handsome but had big ears.”

“You have a twin sister? Do you look alike?”

“The sauce in this banoffee is delicious. What is it?”

“Zsa Zsa Gabor had her leg amputated. I heard it on some celebrity gossip show … Wait, maybe I made that up.”

“Yeah, there’s nothing worse than coming across desperate. I’m not desperate. Well, eh … No, no, I am not desperate.”

Awkwardness is …

I have previously written the “Awkwardness is …” series in third person narration, which is  tiresome. I’m changing the format.

So back to the entry.

I live on the eighth floor of an apartment block. Walking down the stairs takes an age, especially when half asleep. Needless to say, I use the lift. The only thing is the lift is small. A journey shared with a perfect stranger is to get to know that person  intimately.

Yesterday morning, my oh so nice neighbour – with whom I have nothing in common – joined me in the lift for the third morning in a row. Sunday’s topic of conversation was the cold weather. Monday’s words were on the uselessness of storage heating. This morning’s exchange was different.

I was already in the lift when I heard his apartment door bang. His keys rattled. He hastened once he saw I held the door open.

“Morning,” he said in his usual cheerful manner. He flashed his good smile.

“Hi, again,” I said. It was 08.15 and I was not in the mood to talk.

He made some general chat. I looked up and cut across him.

“You’ve toothpaste on your face,” I said, pointing to my left cheek in an attempt to guide him.

“Really?” He rubbed his cheek vigorously. “Is it gone?”

“Yes, it is.”

It was only when spoke, I realised my observation may have been out of place. I was grateful when the elevator reached ground floor. I bolted from the confined space. I wished him good day and assessed the weirdness of commenting on a practical stranger having toothpaste on his cheek.

Hey Mumble, Mumble Italiano

Two Fridays ago, I felt the need for a good night out; a few drinks, laughs and a dance. A few texts later, it transpired my friends, Shane and Brian, intended doing the same. I agreed to join them later that night. To offset the calorie value of a night on the beer, I decided to hit the gym before joining my friends. One must watch those sneaky beer-calories, y’know.

Following a brisk workout, I marched home to shower and change. Brian and Shane, already in town, instructed me to join them at my leisure. I showered, shaved and rifled through my wardrobe. I had few clean clothes. I threw on a shirt – too tight for my liking – that I had acquired in a sale for €7. I pulled on my jeans, tucking in the shirt, and fastened my ensemble with a brown studded belt. I ran for the door in untied brown shoes, intending to tie my laces in the lift.

Hogan’s was busy, filled with its usual mish mash of well dressed and funky characters. Shane and Brian were, as usual, in good form. We chatted, howling with laughter regularly. Two “swiftys” later, I crossed the road to the Dragon, to boogie until the wee hours.

Shane and I performed our usual ritual of flamboyant dance moves on a sparsely occupied dance floor. Brian watched and giggled. Now and again, I left the company of Shane and Brian to scope out the talent on offer. While standing on my own near the dance floor, a guy approached from my right and tapped my shoulder. He was average looking. His wrinkled shirt, which he had nicely paired with bad shoes, hung loose over his jeans.

“Hi,” I said in expectation.

“Hi,” he replied loudly, to compensate for the loud music. He moved in front of me, obviously determined to have a deep and meaningful. Despite his close proximity, he continued to shout. He bellowed “where are you from?”

“Ireland,” I replied shyly.

“Ireland?” he responded with obvious surprise. “You look Italian. Your clothes and dark hair make you look Italian.”

“Oh right.”

He attempted to quash my obvious confusion with a compliment. “It’s a good thing.”

I side stepped to the left. Fighting the urge to sprint, I maintained eye contact and smiled. “Grazie mille,” I called as I moved away from him.

I shared the details of this interaction with Shane and Brian. “Why would he think I’m Italian?” I asked.

“It’s the hair,” answered Shane.

Within an hour of my awkward deflection, another man approached me. This fellow was much younger than the last guy. He was tall and gangly, demonstrating a slight stoop as he leaned in to talk. He seemed inebriated. He blasted words into my ear as we made tedious conversation.

“Your English is really good.” He leaned back, smiling, in expectation of some appreciation for his kind words.

“I told you I’m Irish,” I said in an unfriendly tone. “I’m from Dublin.”

“I know, but I don’t believe you.”

We continued to talk for a minute more, before I used a well-practised dismissal. I touched his forearm and smiled warmly. “It was nice talking to you. Have a good evening.”

“Same to you.” He turned and rejoined his friends in the corner.

I remained near the dance floor. What the fuck? I asked myself. Am I giving off some Italiano vibe or wha? I ventured to the bathroom to make sure I hadn’t subconsciously painted the Italian flag to my face. I checked myself in the mirror. My hair, which I had earlier spent seconds spiking, sagged and appeared slicked back. This particular hair product has a habit of making my hair look darker. The ill-fitting, tight shirt, tucked into my jeans compounded my Italian appearance. I shrugged. Meh, what of it? I thought. I returned to my standing place near the dance floor.

Within minutes, another potential suitor, a man in his early thirties, greeted me. I checked him out. His cheeks were flushed and rosy. His hair had no particular style. I knew he was in the club alone. He resembled someone separated from his friends, during a night out in the “Big Shhmoke”, who happened to stumble upon a gay bar. I looked down at his feet, expecting to find wellies.

“Hello,” I said in return of  his greeting.

He leaned in. He shaped his mouth into an “O”, as he over-pronounced his words, loudly, and slowly, in that unmistakeable manner only used by English speakers when addressing foreigners. “Where are you from?” I sighed and thought for a second.

“I am-a frrrrom Rrrroma” I cried enthusiastically in my best Italian accent, ensuring I used stereotyped hand gestures.

“Really?” he asked with raised eye brows.

I rounded my answer with a higher pitch. “Yesss-a.”

“Why are you in Dublin?”

“I am-a ‘ere for learrrrning my English-a.”

“Your English is very good.”

If I genuinely were foreign, I would definitely be insulted by this condescending fucker. I smiled proudly. “Grazie,” I said. “I learn-a my English-a in schooool-a forrrr five-a yearrrs-a”. I held five fingers in front of his face.

“It’s really very good. How long have you been in Dublin for? Are you in college?”

“I ‘ave-a been in Dublino forrrr two months-a. I am-a working ‘ere.”

“Do you work in a restaurant?”

“Yesss-a!” I exclaimed loudly, to stifle a laugh. “I work-a in-a restaurrrrant-a.”

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

I nodded. “Yesss-a, I ‘ave-a an Boyfrrrriend at home-a in Rrrroma.”

“Do you? And do you like Irish men?”

I held myself for a moment to give the impression of a pensive stance. I flicked my hand in front of me with an extended finger. “I like-a Irish men not-a-so-much-a.”

My new friend looked curious. He came closer. “Why is that?”

With my arms stretched both sides of me, as if delivering an operatic finalé,  I proclaimed “they drrrink-a toooo-much-a”.

My companion, with no good bye or parting words, turned and left my side.

Blinded by Bresy

One evening at a party, I got a call from Sarah, asking if I’d come to Oxegen the next day. “I have an extra press pass,” she screamed. “You have to come!”

I never considered myself a festival goer, often preferring to sit at home in comfort with a glass of wine and CD. In my living room there is no moshing or boisterous behaviour. Sarah advised I wouldn’t have to rough it; the press pass guaranteed access to a clean bathroom and luxurious bar. After initial hesitance, I agreed to go. My imagination, and verbal accounts from friends, created an Oxegen full of hundreds of people sloshing about in mud. I remembered the location of my Wellington boots.

On arrival the thud of heavy tempo, somewhere in the distance, registered in my ears. Surprisingly, the day was dry, even sunny at times. My pale skin took a scorching. Unexpectedly, there was no muck; dry, bark chippings littered the ground. My heart raced as we passed the burly security men at the Press Entrance with eight cans of Budweiser in tow.

Sarah instantly recognised people in the Press Area. She schmoozed while her boyfriend Ross and I made chat.

A random girl, packing away a microphone, piped up. “Who are you excited about?” she asked me from behind a large, untrendy pair of glasses.

I was caught off guard. “Eh, Kate Nash. I like Kate Nash.” I hoped this would satisfy her.

“MGMT are on in ten minutes. We are going there now. Do you want to come?”

“Who are MGMT?” I asked.

“Eh, only one of the hottest groups playing today”.  She turned and was gone.

Sarah continued chatting as the numbers in the Press Area, affected by the allure of MGMT, dwindled. Sarah’s boyfriend Ross nudged me now and again to point out an occasional celebrity here and there. I recognised few. I really was a fish out of water.

Moments later, Sarah announced we were to leave. We left the small enclosure of the Press Area and made our way across a type of allotment towards  more oversized security guards.

“Hang on a moment,” instructed Ross. “There’s Bresy!”

I turned to Sarah. “Who is Bresy?” She didn’t hear me.

“Hi Bresy!” called Ross enthusiastically to a tall man about ten or fifteen feet away.

“Hey,” answered Bresy in a friendly tone. Bresy moved towards us.

Sarah and I stood next to Ross. She beamed at Bresy. I assumed he was a friend. I stood there awaiting an introduction. I passed the time by analysing Bresy. He had nice hair, beautiful eyes, good height and a muscular frame. I realised Bresy was in fact very attractive. I drank in the sight of him.

“I heard the new album,” said Ross. “It sounds pretty good. Are you happy with the result?”

“Yeah, we are,” Bresy answered. “It’s about as good as anyone from Mullingar could come up with.”

Why is Ross asking about an album? Who is this guy? I asked myself. I cleared my throat. “I’m from Athlone,” I announced, staring into Bresy’s beautiful eyes.

He looked surprised. “Are you? Oh right.”

Bresy and Ross chatted for a few more minutes. Bresy said goodbye and strolled in the direction of a heavily attended Performer’s Area.

“Who was that?” I asked, a little peeved I received no introduction.

“That’s Niall Breslin,” answered Ross, as we shuffled towards the main concert area.

“Who is he?”

“He’s the lead singer of the Blizzards.”

“The Blizzards? Oh I know them. Oh right. So I randomly informed the lead singer of the Blizzards I am from Athlone?”

“Yep, you did.”

“Fuck, he’s hot though, isn’t he?”

Ross said nothing. Sarah laughed and put her arm around my waist.

 

Niall "Bresy" Breslin

IT Savvy Mum

I told Emer this story last night at Pinxto, Temple Bar; my new favourite place for snacks. She said I had to blog it.

I bought Mum a laptop for her sixtieth last year. I was concerned whether she would use it much; she is not the most technology savvy. Initially, she spent a lot of time admiring it from a safe distance across the room. One year later, she has surprised us all; she surfs on a daily basis, paying bills, researching holiday destinations and clothes for “middle aged women”.

One weekend, not all too long ago, I returned to the homestead in Athlone. It was around 10.00 on a Saturday morning. I entered the kitchen. I stretched elaborately, feeling refreshed from my shower. Mum busied herself with the blue J-cloth that is permanently in her hand.

I walked towards kettle. I switched it on. “Tea, Mum?”

“No, Stephen,” she replied firmly. “I will have coffee. I allow myself two coffees on a Saturday morning.”

I stood at the window, awaiting the kettle to boil. I blankly looked out onto the garden. The unkempt grass was in abundance.

“Stephen, I was checking the history of the laptop …” Mum turned from the freshly wiped kitchen counter. The cloth marks left circular, wet trails, indicative of Mum’s elbow grease. She looked me in the eye for a moment and motioned towards the laptop.

“History?!” I choked. Do you mean she actually knows how to check the history on a PC?

“Yes, the history …” she confirmed with a nod. “Someone was looking at porn on the laptop.”

Fuck! I had looked at a site on it the night before. I panicked a little. A red flush rose from my waist upwards. I imagined an awkward conversation to follow.

We both stood in front of the laptop that sat on the kitchen counter. Mum fingered the mouse pad and clicked a few times. A detailed history appeared on the screen. I read the names of the sites. They were straight sites – “Sexy Minx”, “Busty Babes” and the likes. I felt instant relief. My blood pressure and temperature dropped.

“Well those sites are straight sites. It definitely was not me. Maybe they came from pop-ups that you get when you log into certain sites?”

“Pop ups?” Mum asked with a slight laugh. “That’s what your Dad used to say when I checked the history on his PC.”

Blind Ignorance

MyopicPsychotic (MP) – “Why are the covers of Andrea Bocelli’s albums always the same?”

Boyfriend – “What do you mean the same?”

MP – “Why does he always have his eyes closed?”

Boyfriend – “Maybe it has something to do with the fact he’s blind!”

MP – “Is Andrea Bocelli blind?”

Phone Conversation with Father

Dad – “Did you go to Stephen Gately’s funeral on Saturday night?”

MyopicPsychotic (MP) – “No. Why would I go to his funeral?”

Dad – “I thought you’d be interested in that?”

MP – “Why would I be interested?”

Dad – “Well you are gay and he is gay so I thought that would be a reason.”

The One, Two, Three Aproach to Life

I may have mentioned this before, but I can be a big angry bastard sometimes. Provoking anger from me is like sticking a pin into a balloon. There are moments when this rings true.

The other night on the way home from work, I passed a friend on the street while. I happened to be chatting on the phone. This friend and I lost contact over the last year or so. It was my doing. I had valid reasons. This guy was not worth ending my conversation on the phone. I said hello. He stopped momentarily. I kept walking.

Maybe three hours later, I logged into Facebook at home on the couch. Up popped a chat window in that annoying tennis ball noise it does. The text in the chat window was blocky and substantial. I squinted to see who it was from. It was from the friend on the street. He was having a hissy fit.

“How dare you be so rude – pass me by on the street and ignore me. Who do you think you are? I clearly stopped to talk to you and you walked by. I have made such an effort with you over the last year and all you have done is be rude and abrupt. I have had enough. That was the last straw.”

I took a deep breath and pondered my response. What could I say to that? I thought for a minute and decided to keep it simple.

“I am sorry. I did say hello to you. I had a bad day at work and was offloading on the phone.”

I hoped this would quench my friend’s anger. It did not.

“Have you ever heard of manners? Have you ever heard of calling someone back in five minutes?”

One, two and three … the balloon popped. I exploded. Anger surged within me. My mind raced. My issues with this guy came to the forefront of my mind. I sent my friend a catty response to his over-dramatised issue with me. I hinted at the reason why we lost contact and threw in one or two other things for good measure.

“How petty of you to bring that up!” he responded.

“Petty? Petty is messaging someone on Facebook to air your grievances.”

It would come as no surprise to my friends and family that I would ever lose my temper as I did with the likes of my friend. What might cause surprise is that I did not go mad straight away. The deep breath and “one, two, three approach” is a new development in my life. I have practised it more than once in the last few months. I am chilling out in my progressing years.

A good thing about the “one, two, three” approach is that if someone does piss me off, those few seconds allow me to make a proper assessment of the situation. I can either give the benefit of doubt or learn from it. This is generally the wisest approach. The other option is to judge whether a person does in fact deserve a piece of my mind or a lashing from my forked tongue.

Those few seconds can define the level of justice required. Valuable seconds establish the difference between a firm scowling and ripping their fucking head off.

Hooked on Virtual Reality

I’ve always been proud of myself for not getting hooked on Facebook like many of my friends. Bebo – which is Facebook for fourteen year old girls – was another matter entirely; I was a Bebo addict until I deleted my profile a year ago. I’ve had a Facebook profile for years. I rarely used it, only logging into it once a month. I hated the fact I had to decline so many invites to join friends’ applications such as becoming a zombie warrior; determining what kind of cocktail I am; or discovering the age I am likely to die. Facebook was pointless in my eyes, until now …

I recently discovered Farmville and Yoville applications on Facebook. Farmville was the first to draw my attention. Farmville involves the growing, maintaining and harvesting of a virtual farm; I choose crops, animals and trees. I run the farm as I see fit. The aim of the game is to earn money (by selling produce) and gain experience points. I am allowed access to greater varieties of features as I earn more points. This game – with its lame graphics and non-existent purpose to progress through levels – should be well beyond the vast scope of my interest and coolness. I am completely hooked!

This is a picture of my farm. I am quite proud. I perceive it as an agricultural powerhouse.

Farmville

At the moment, I am growing rice in paddy fields, squash, soya beans and trees of some kind. The little farmer next to the 98% almost grown rice crop is made in my image. So far today, I have logged into Farmville three times to harvest and replant. Yesterday, Boyfriend asked if I would be nice enough to make him tea. I informed him I would after sowing my egg plant. He threw his eyes to heaven and accused me of having an addiction. He just does not understand life on the farm. It requires 100% commitment.

When I am not busy on the farm, I occupy myself in Yoville. Yoville is a virtual town where you can interact with other Yovillians. When I joined Yoville, I received an apartment. I suppose Yoville operates similarly to communism. The town of Yoville has amenities such as cafés, diners, furniture shops and even a nightclub. It’s necessary to earn money by working in the widget factory. I have not yet figured how to actually show up for a shift. Money allows for the purchase of food, drinks and refreshments; clothes and accessories; gifts such as plants and lamps; and furniture for a minimalist apartment.

Some of my friends have also started using Yoville. These friends live in my apartment block. I can drop by their apartment and interact with them. I can even sleep in their bed if I wish. There are no locked doors in Yoville; there is potential to be creepy. One of the best things is that the game allows you to interact with other random inhabitants of Yoville, who you might bump into during a mosey around the town. I chat with them via speech bubbles and emoticons.

I’d like to inform you that my interaction with my fellow Yovillians has been high-brow. It hasn’t. So far I have asked random Yovillians if they would sleep with me so I could buy furniture for my shitty apartment. Yesterday, while attending a virtual party I offered a group of female Yovillians a lap dance in exchange for Yocash. They were entertained, but my robot dance failed to win any currency from them. One invitee at the party showed up wearing just a swim suit. Some of the attendants called her a slut. Oh how I laughed.

This is my apartment in Yoville. You now understand why I might allow my Yoville character to sleep around in order to pay for some home improvements. Yoville

As you can tell I am hooked on Farmville and Yoville. Boyfriend forbade me from using the laptop this evening. He forgot we have an old desk top upstairs. I secretly harvested my rice in Farmville and went fishing at the lake in Yoville.