The reverse psychology performed by the weather was all that was required to put paid to my anti-buzz. It was rolled out in the following steps:
1. At the start of Christmas week, plant seed of foreboding that the roads will be too bad for travel
2. Capitalise on fear from Step 1 (best achieved by making car slide on short journeys)
3. Add some more snow
4. Place weather at the top of every news bulletin every day
5. Close all airports
6. Hype up warnings to motorists of “treacherous” conditions
7. Repeat the word “treacherous” again. And again. And again.
By the time we got to the eve of Christmas Eve, I was suitably terrified that I would be stranded in Dublin. There were flashes presented by the Ghost of Christmas Short-Term Future – Regina alone in her apartment with a pizza for dinner and the warring factions next door for company on the 25th.
It did the trick. Dragged me out of the doldrums into which I had readily slumped for the early weeks of December. It made me determined and fearless of the nasty roads, and most importantly it restored some of the giddy spirit that I have long since enjoyed at this wonderful time of the year.
And so the five-hour car journey was undertaken with the suitable attitude. Slow and steady. It will be worth it. Just keep flicking radio stations to find Driving Home for Christmas. No matter what, I need to get home. It has been a rough few weeks at the end of a rough year, and what else is there to do now, but run away home to mammy.
The happiness on arrival was off the scale and it lasted through to Christmas Day, despite the problems brought on by the freezing conditions. No water. No central heating. But look outside. How beautiful is that view, dazzling the eyes, replacing the forty shades I have looked upon since forever with one splash of heaven’s own brand of brilliant white.
Admittedly, the lack of water did create some difficulty for my hand-washing. But that’s the nice thing about coming home. There are people here to help, perched on either side of the sink, throwing bottled water over my Hibiscrubbed hands.
Everything on Christmas Day was as it has been for several, drama-free years now. There was the new baby in the family to behold, but aside from that, there was O Holy Night at Mass, Mid West Radio in the background as dinner was prepared and my mother reciting her same seventeen-verse poems about various emigrants who only returned home to Ireland after their own mother had died.
Now there comes a New Year. I have a paralysing fear of the song Auld Lang Syne and must thus avoid any gatherings on New Year’s Eve. The lyrics make me feel intensely suicidal.
But the promise that Saturday brings; the shiny, new feel of the first day of the first month of 2011; the slate wiped clean. That makes me feel happy. It also makes me feel hopeful that there will be better times ahead.
Enough of 2010 now.
Good riddance to it.