Monday, February 16, 2009

--------So here I am, three weeks into my 'recessionary experience' but, rather than settle into a black hole of depression, I am still embracing it so far.. .With just a matter of days left in the office I am quite looking forward to lazy lie-ins and daytime television marathons..I have just enough in my bank account to keep me afloat for one month and then it's panic season, but I won't worry about it just yet.I suppose if I am to sum up the experience so far with one word, it would be 'ironic'. I seem to have been resisting my unemployed status to date and am rather indulging in some unfamiliar but enjoyable experiences. Late last Friday afternoon I decided that I needed a retail fix to lift my spirits but knowing I could barely justify a new pair of pyjamas in Penney's I headed to Brown Thomas instead.I had been lucky enough to receive a generous voucher for BTs as a gift, the last thing I received in an envelope before my month's notice. Not one to usually afford anything in Brown Thomas, apart from the odd lip gloss, I was more than happy as I skipped merrily down Grafton Street a short time later. My three crisp black and cream paper bags with their iconic logo emblazoned across the front screamed 'I have money ' and I wondered if passersby might even realise that I was taking my purchases home to an evening of beans on toast and Even more ironic was my purchase – an overpriced black dress that would have to wait in my wardrobe a long time before I could afford to take it out on the town. Afterwards, I paid my first visit to Fallon and Byrne, ironic that in all the times I had worked I had never been to the popular food emporium. I accompanied a friend of mine who's on the 'safe side' of life for the moment - the world is divided, those who have jobs and those who don't...I'll admit I have been kind of avoiding any fellow unemployed friends this week. Negativity breeds negativity and I needed a break from the gloomy conversations that I am in the bad habit of starting. As we mingled with the yummy mummies I forgot about my current climate and instead crunched the last of my week's credit on a packet of rice cakes while helping Ceri fill her basket.I did of course feel guilty about wasting money on rice cakes I knew I would never eat, all good intentions aside. And so the following day I accepted an invitation from Dad to go visit him in his manpad in Belfast and test out the bargains north of the border. With the recession biting hard at my heels I thought that free accommodation in a different city was probably the closest I would get to a mini-break for a while. I kept meaning to visit him up there more often but had always been too busy.I made the most of my overnight trip, stocking up on tinned goods at Sainsbury's and toiletries at Boots. More than enough to keep my presses full for the depressing weeks ahead...the bargains really were unbelievable and I wondered why I hadn't taken my business up north much sooner.Dad cancelled all arrangements to come shopping with me, a nice surprise I hadn't bargained on. All in all a good week, not quite living the impending nightmare just yet.. next week will be the real deal as I go to 'sign on'. Having worked continuously since I was 17 this would be an interesting date ahead of me. Of course the real irony of the moment is that if it wasn't for the recession and my becoming a victim of it, then I wouldn't have been given a chance to write this column. Which, ironically, could be the best thing that's ever happened to me.. ..

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