The sadness of finishing up in work has become eclipsed by all the exciting catching-up I have had to do with friends during my time off. With others also free there has been plenty of walking, tea-drinking and cinema trips of late.
Still, free time can add up to being expensive and so I was glad when my friend threw a house party for his birthday last weekend. As a change, it seemed a house party was the perfect plan to suit everyone during these recessionary times. We could barely manage a full turnout on New Year's Eve together so I was delighted to hear that everyone was going, fifteen guys and five girls.
The recession themed party was a Mexican night - burritos and tequila, followed by some drunken games of bingo on an €11 machine purchased specially for the occasion. Although I was secretly looking forward to a few games of bingo, it wasn't something I had imagined the lads among us enjoying. Around 11pm that night the game commenced with our wittiest friend on the microphone, entertaining us with some great banter.
'Number 18' he boomed over us. It was the number of degrees held by our tequila- soaked group.
'Number 7' was next - the amount of post-grad qualifications between us. Then it was 4 -the amount of us currently out of work due to recession, followed by 3, those who had been warned their jobs were probably next.
‘'Five', our bingo host hollered. 'It is the number of qualifications someone in the room has', the microphone echoed and the room erupted with laughter. For years the lads had been slagging the eternal student among us for his two degrees and three masters and still not 'getting a real job'.
Not so funny now. I won a game of bingo in the end! I went home €38 richer, a nice little perk to the evening. I never thought I would see the day that we would be sitting on a kitchen floor playing bingo with a plastic machine from Argos. Saturday nights were usually spent at over-priced clubs listening to over-hyped djs and the house parties were always 'after parties'.
Now here we were all perfectly happy with such simple fun because everyone was together and had a childlike escape from their economic worries.
Birthday boy may have had the stress of losing a job last year but he was lucky to have so many close friends celebrating together that night.
I guess we were all lucky in that sense, bingo winnings aside.