Brighid’s journal: ‘So Hilda, how the hell do I get my addiction under control?’
God, I was very stressed on Monday. You know that feeling when your subconscious confronts you with a puzzle of insurmountable problems. I felt like shit and my head was racing. It was amazing because I rarely feel like this.
o I strolled to Coliemore harbor for a quick dip in the sea. It is known to be a great remedy for misery. The Dalkey shore waved and hissed under a deep blue sky. It was a game for the ceilidh in my head, I can tell you that.
A young woman was standing next to me with her mushroom-colored greyhound “Madra”, and of course we got talking.
It turns out her name is Hilda Burke, she’s a woman from Wexford, lives and works in west London and was only home for a short holiday.
Well, I couldn’t have met a better woman at a better time. You won’t believe what she’s working on? She is no less a psychotherapist. Was my timing good or what?
Hilda has her own practice in London and even works with inmates at Wormwood Scrubs from time to time. As for me, I never needed a psychotherapist again.
“Are you a little stressed?” she says knowingly. She was so damn right. Even the Aul dog looked at me seriously, like he knew I wasn’t in the mood.
While chatting with her, my phone must have pinged about four times, so I put it on silent.
“Are those phone pings annoying you?” she says.
“They are,” I say.
“Mind checking how long you worked on it today?” she says. “I wrote a book called The Telephone Addiction Workbook, So I’m curious how much time people spend with their devices. You’ve been on the phone for a little over four hours
Jesus, I couldn’t believe it.
“The Irish look at their phones an average of 57 times a day,” she says.
“So, Hilda, how the hell do I get my addiction under control?” I say.
“Now, start realizing how much of your precious time you’re wasting,” she says. “Save a word or image on your phone screen that shows what you really want to do instead of making a call. I typed in the word “EAT,” which is my favorite thing to do.
She laughed while I patted her greyhound’s head.
“Madra likes you, he is also my therapy dog. He sits in my office and really helps my clients relax. They love him, but not as much as I do.”
With that in mind we said goodbye and I looked at my screensaver. EAT.
And then I ended up in heaven. I stumbled upon an amazing Italian organic coffee and chocolate shop called Conlemani on the main street of Dun Laoghaire. I have never seen or experienced anything that compares in terms of quality and choice. It even has an organic hairdresser on the back.
There are only two window seats and I can tell you now that most of them are occupied by you.
Some days I watch as Gaetano, a master chocolatier, tempers dark chocolate on a marble slab in front of me. He often adds nuts and dates, orange peel, lavender and cinnamon. It’s fascinating to see.
Well, I have to tell you that every time I visit I waddle out like a duck, bigger folds in my stomach.
“Have you seen that Ryanair tickets are on sale for €1 if you buy them before midnight tonight?” I say to my hairstylist, Wendy. She’d sneaked into the cottage for a cup of tea and a piece of homemade Battenberg.
Wendy is in her early 50s and lives nearby with her husband Rob. She is addicted to the Ryanair website.
“No, how could I have missed that?” she says. “Last Friday I got flights for €9.99. I bought one for Turin, one for Palma and one for Bodrum. I don’t even know where half of these places are but they are so good
Value, I can’t resist.
“But I’m never taking Misery-Hole back,” she says, referring to her long-suffering husband Rob, whose only interest in life is bridge, and eating clove rocks and UFOs. And Rob is deeply convinced that the aliens’ favorite landing strip is in a field three miles from Ballinakill in Co Laois. Sure, that says it all.
“Where’s Rob today?” I say.
“He’s on Zoom doing a workout at the gym with Sandy. He’s the only one in the class to use two bottles of wine as a weight.”
“That’s the way it is, Rob. Leave him alone,” I say.
“The last time we went away, I picked a place called Brindisi,” says Wendy. “When we got through security at Dublin Airport I was devastated and decided to do something nice for myself. “Come on mom,” says Misohole. ‘Shall we have a drink?’
“Off you go,” I said. I deserve shopping therapy and a bottle of perfume. So I spent €85 on Chanel #5 thinking I was Keira Knightley. I woke up and put away two small bottles of prosecco, a scarf that cost €38, and then I bought a €60 bathing suit duty free and a tube of Prevage, an Elizabeth Arden anti-aging eye serum, that was over 90 €. I was now €265 more and hadn’t even boarded the plane.
“Wrecker’s terrified of flying,” Wendy said, “so I always make sure to pour him the whiskey. On board, he downed three Jamesons and a Thai green curry, and I downed two small bottles of Prosecco, a chicken wrap, and a pack of Pringles.
“Inflight service started and being so wasted on the Prosecco I bought €50 scratchcards and a bottle of Mr Burberry for the son.
“By that point I had spent over €500 and we hadn’t even landed yet. And to think that it all started with a cheap €9.99 ticket. Well, I guess I was never very good at arithmetic. Heaven if Rob only knew.”
Suddenly there’s a knock at the hut door. It’s Rob.
“Is Wendy with you?” he says, rolling his eyes like fireballs.
“Yes, she’s in,” I say. “Would you like to come in for a cup of tea?”
“No thanks, Biddy, I have a terrible hand and hardly ever done any tricks, so I won’t take the tea,” he says, and wants to leave.
“Oh, you have awful hands, okay, and hardly any tricks these days,” Wendy says cheekily.
“Wendy,” he says, getting fat and ignoring the sexy stuff. “Loads of parcels have arrived from the courier. The house has been turned into a mail sorting room. Come back home.”
Then he marches off angrily.
“Looks like it’s going to be bridge again tonight,” Wendy says, calling after him over the phone
“That’s right,” replies Rob. “Bridge over Troubled Waters”.
Oops, I thought as I put the kettle on after Wendy left. I’m so glad I’m not married.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/brighids-diary-so-hilda-how-the-feck-do-i-sort-out-my-addiction-41597469.html Brighid’s journal: ‘So Hilda, how the hell do I get my addiction under control?’