The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - CONTENTS - FIONA LOONEY

Icouldn’t make my mind up about Flight Fest. On the one hand, the weather was threat­en­ing to be hor­ri­ble, and while that hand is still in play, I’m not ter­ri­ble in­ter­ested in planes. But The Hus­band loves them — prob­a­bly more than he loves me — and there was that tempt­ing in­vi­ta­tion for all the fam­ily from the friend who owns a ter­ri­bly chi- chi quayside apart­ment with an en­vi­able roof ter­race. In the end, a wash prob­a­bly de­cided it — the high winds made get­ting it dried on the clothes line a real pos­si­bil­ity, but if left unat­tended, the rain would ruin it — and so I stayed away.

Oh, all right, then, I’m prob­a­bly not that much of a mar­tyr. A wash would never stand be­tween me and a match, for ex­am­ple, so maybe when push came to gi­ant, fuel-binge­ing, pol­lu­tion-belch­ing metal tubes, it suited me to dis­patch the rest of the fam­ily to the roof ter­race and re­main home alone. I even imag­ined watch­ing a DVD while I did the iron­ing. That is how stupid I was about all this.

Of course, I have no idea how to put on a DVD. So I phoned The Hus­band, while he was still on the bus, to ask him to ask the kids how on earth you get a DVD to work in our DVD ma­chine. I did no­tice that he be­came quite ex­as­per­ated by what I thought was a fairly rea­son­able re­quest, though it wasn’t un­til they all came home again that I found out (via The Boy) that he ac­tu­ally punched his phone at the end of our ad­mit­tedly frac­tious ex­change.

Ba­si­cally, the re­layed in­struc­tions didn’t work for me, and so the DVD plan had to be aban­doned on the only Sun­day in re­cent mem­ory when there was no sport or sec­ond- rate fim that I par­tic­u­larly wanted to watch on TV. Even Columbo was over. Sud­denly, it was shap­ing up to be a long and lonely af­ter­noon.

So even though it was still threat­en­ing rain and blow­ing a gale, I de­cided to go for a walk. Now, nor­mally when I walk in the park on my own, I lis­ten to mu­sic. But not for the first time, a quick search sug­gested that my ear­phones had been ap­pro­pri­ated by a feck­less teenager, so I was obliged to walk in si­lence. Which is how, when I hap­pened upon the four

It was then that I saw the knife. In my 47 years on this planet, I had

never seen a switch­blade be­fore.

A lethal weapon

teenagers, I was able to hear that one of them was very cross in­deed.

He was on his phone, shout­ing at who­ever was on the other end that, oh yeah, he was a brave man now, on the phone, but how would he like to say that to his face? And he looked as though he was in­tent on mak­ing that par­tic­u­lar en­counter hap­pen, as he strode away from his friends, still roar­ing, with the look of a young man in a hurry. And it was then that I saw the knife. I re­alised af­ter­wards that in 47 years on this planet, I had never seen a switch­blade be­fore. But that’s ex­actly what it was. A switch­blade. A lethal weapon. In the hand of a very an­gry boy who couldn’t have been any more than 17 years old.

I don’t mind ad­mit­ting that I was sud­denly ter­ri­fied — though I’d strug­gle to ex­plain why — and then they were gone: the young man in a tear­ing hurry and then his friends, go­ing af­ter him, call­ing him back. I prob­a­bly wasted three min­utes then, think­ing about what I’d seen and won­der­ing what I should do about it. Then that old line about evil tri­umph­ing when good men do noth­ing came call­ing, and al­though I am nei­ther a man nor good, I pulled out my phone and di­alled 999.

Another first. Another celebration of 47 years of a charmed life. But I told them what I’d seen and they must have taken it se­ri­ously be­cause within two min­utes Tal­laght Garda Sta­tion phoned me for more pre­cise di­rec­tions.

I don’t know what hap­pened af­ter that. But I do know that I didn’t go to Flight Fest and I couldn’t make the DVD player work and one of my kids robbed my ear phones — and be­cause of that I saw a knife and, maybe be­cause of that, some­body woke up the fol­low­ing morn­ing who just might not have wo­ken up oth­er­wise. And maybe, be­cause of all that, some hot­headed teenager didn’t throw his whole life away in a mo­ment of mad­ness.

Or maybe the Gar­daí didn’t find him, or his tem­per fiz­zled out, or he put his knife back in his pocket for another day, another row. Life is, af­ter all, as ran­dom as that. But maybe. Just maybe.

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