Rootless, routerless, rudderless


In a glorious conflation of selflessness and self-interest, I have scored 10 days in Dublin house-sitting for a friend, thereby providing me with space to think, concentrate and write my dissertation without the distractions of London. Displacement activities are pruned hard when out of the home context. Cleaning or hoovering seem a lot less tempting when they come larded with the fear of breaking, flooding or spoiling something.

So here I am, ensconced in a large, comfortable family home (faaaabulous kitchen!). Big problem, however, is the lack of wifi in the house. Well, wait, there is wifi in the house, but with option A, it’s password-protected and Nick can’t remember the password. With option B, it lives in the house computer, but that is locked away in the attic office and he’s taken the only key to France. E-solation! After a nightmare journey to get here, I spent 20 dusty and frustrating minutes waffling about with the mass of cabling behind the telly, acting on instructions texted from Rebecca (‘Nick thinks the password might be 30 10 50 40 or 10 50 30 10 or something but to be honest he doesn’t know’ ‘He says, try the phone charger. It’s connected to the router via the something something something’ etc. Lost me a bit at the end there). And since arsing around with someone’s router/rebooting their wifi network and installing my own passwords – besides being SO FAR beyond my capabilities I might as well try building a pig out of stem cells – feels like deciding to concrete the garden and rip out the stairs.

The result: striding through suburban Dublin like a mentaller-styled-by-Oswald-Bailey in a rucksack because it’s the only thing strong enough to carry my ‘portable’ ‘laptop’ to find a café with wifi that’s open on a Sunday. And tee-frigging-hee, it’s a bank holiday here in Ireland, so I’ll have to do it again tomorrow. On reflection, a-course, I’m going to have to do it every day, but there’s an archly right-on café near the house which should be open from Tuesday, so I can just pop out there for a €10 Fair Trade peppermint and artichoke infusion whenever I have to email anyone. That should keep communication/distraction down to bare bones.

There’s another problem. I lived on my own for years, but not for a while. I NEED TO TALK. Note to the residents of Terenure for the next 10 days: I’m not a friend, I’m a stranger you haven’t met yet. As if the unnecessary rucksack hadn’t already put you on your guard.


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