You know that feeling you get when you’re sure you’ve left the iron on? Or you think you might have? Or the gas. Or in K’s case, the straightener (an iron for hair). You know you’ve left the house a thousand times before and you know that to date it has always been there when you get back – a house, not the charred remains of one – but you just can’t shake the feeling that a disaster is unfolding even as you consider whether it is or not. Unfolding, that is.
And then you get the negotiation with self; well, even if it’s on it was propped up on the safety thingamy at the end of the ironing board so it won’t burn through anything. Or the straightener is on the bidet (did I mention we now have a bidet?) which neither of us has had the courage to use as yet so it’s bone dry and, as far as electrical fire risks go, approximately a zero.
But hang on a minute – what if a heavy truck should thunder past and vibrate the house? The iron could topple over onto that pile of magazines. Or the sudden swoop of one of Tarifa‘s infamous gusts through the bathroom window (was it left open or shut?) could cause the straightener to slide off the bidet and swing by its flex, landing in the little puddle of water that sometimes collects under the basin. I don’t know what that would score on the electrical fire risk scale but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be zero.
Anyway I’ve been getting that feeling a lot this week, reading the news about Ireland. I’ve only been gone about three months and already they’re talking to the IMF. I expected it to take much longer. I’m wondering whether I carelessly knocked something over as I left. You know, something fiscal. Then it occurs to me that K was there for a good two months after I had gone. Unsupervised. She was pretty fed up of Ireland at the time; in two months she could have wreaked havoc. And she’s a trained accountant!
I’ve had plenty of time to read about the Irish situation because I’ve been laid up. Some ongoing troubles for which I’m on medication have come back to haunt me. A change in the meds has hit me like the proverbial freight train and I have been feeling low – back in the place I was the last time I experienced these symptoms.
I wonder how Ireland feels; we used to be poor, then we were rich. Now we are broke. Europe‘s success story is holding out its tin cup. Those who applauded the Celtic Tiger economy – who cheered us on and held us up as an example to others – are deserting us now and taking their money with them. They are known as “the markets” although I can think of a few other names for them, and they are looking elsewhere.
If they are looking in your direction, beware.
So, Ireland must take its medicine – a four year “savings plan”, designed to placate the ravenous IMF. I can’t imagine it will be a very enjoyable plan for anyone involved (except perhaps for the markets), and lets not kid ourselves that four years will be enough for the ramifications of this crisis to have worked themselves out. More like forty. Maybe it will give the Irish a chance to think about what kind of country they want – if the markets are your master, you have made some poor choices.
My own personal IMF (the dermatologist) has me on my own plan – You must take this. It will make you feel bad. You must take it anyway. Love of country notwithstanding, I sincerely hope my individual troubles clear up long before Ireland’s national ones.