It was a Friday in June, still scorchio, like living in another country all week. I particularly thought so as I strolled up Grafton Street on Wednesday evening, an army of multi-cultural, multi-dressed pretty people wend their way in the sharp sunlight. I was on my way to Dubray Books to the launch of The Story of Before and wanted to tell the author how much I enjoyed her book. I’d just finished reviewing it for the Sindo and it was a pleasure to write about. The author, Susan Stairs, looked different from her photograph, but I recognised her long dark locks and wished her well. I’m used to non-fiction book launches, about art or built heritage, a great time to catch up with each other. Well, I’ve discovered I need to make a few friends in fiction, I don’t know anybody.
By the time I’m back home I want to take my Kindle into the shade and get back to the three books that are unfinished, Gone Girl, The Secret Keeper and Life after Life. But Cost Centre #2 says he can’t finish oiling the deck because the fumes are making him sick, so I’m going to give it a go.
My oldest and dearest friend, Paddy, an eminence gris in the accountancy world, reads my blog and admitted to me recently that he is somewhat disconcerted that I call my sons Cost Centres 1 and 2. I only do that because I think it’s very funny and I am flagrantly plagiarising Mrs Moneypenny in the FT Weekend. He thinks it could give them a complex and that I should shower them with enconiums (my word, well a Janeiac word really) and lavish them with love. This is real life, Paddy!
CC#2 is supine in the sun, preening like a long lazy cat as I write. This is the same princeling who enveigled a gazillion euro out of me on Monday to kit him out for his budding entrepreneur career, starting with an internship next Monday. In fairness, he’s calling in the 21st birthday present I pledged him back in March. He’s a master at reverse psychology, having done his research the day before, he briefed me on where the bargains were and assured me it would be a swift sharp attack and we’d be out of Dundrum, *wince* Towncentre *hits head off desk* in an hour. On the upside I thought at least I’m not having to shop for handbags, multifarious dresses, jackets, shoes, nails, make-up, hair extensions, tanning sessions and all the things I hear daughters need these days.
Three hours later, six suits, complementary shirts and ties, I am sitting in a plush leather armchair in House of Fraser, weak and weary having plumbed the depths of Marks & Spencer, Best and somebody called Dutti. He saved the best ‘til last, the 40% off Kenneth Cole seemed like a much better buy than a ‘highstreet’ multiple. The clever assistant produced the most exquisite purple, grey and shades there of, silk tie by Paul Costelloe, that sang a hymn of praise to golden youth.
I began to feel like one of those aging, balding Eurotrash men on sofas, elevated by their fat wallets in Chanel, Gucci, Hermes while the young girlfriend parades her stuff for his delectation and relieves him of Eurocash. Except I’m just the Irish mammy with only trash and not enough euros in my wallet. It occurred to me more than once when he appeared in his sharp suited swagger that there must be somewhere I can make money out of him. Mental note, call Tom Ford.
‘We’ll take the tie too,’ I said expensively, only to be led to the TM Lewin shirt counter where *David Gandy* assured me that the special offer for four shirts was not to be missed and anything else was false economy. Well at least I got to pick the pale lilac, pink, and stripy mixes. Then to shoes, I’m back in my comfy armchair, fingering the abacus in my pocket, I’ve counted up to one and a half months rent at this stage. The shoes are magnificent, buttery soft leather inside and out, plain black with a narrow lace, I daren’t ask, I’m mentally hoping there’s an exact copy in Dunnes.
‘sixty-six euro,’ ace shop assistant proclaims.
Well blow me down.
And that’s why CC#2 is doing a bit of payback in the garden, power-hosing, weeding and generally starting things and not finishing them, because at 3.30pm on a sunny Friday afternoon he has a going- away party to attend. I chide him for going out in a chav-tastic singlet.
‘Why can women go around in sleeveless t-shirts and men can’t?’
Speechless Irish mammy for a change.