I was sorry to see on the news that a school in Cork has now asked girls to bring their own toilet roll to class, to help cope with rising costs in the recession. It's understandable the school must cut back where they can to lessen the strain on educational resources: however, I can't help but imagine awful situations where girls are left hopping in the corner, dying to use the bathroom but being refused for forgetting to bring toilet paper in their bag.
Extreme perhaps, yet it reminds me of my Dad's stories about school in the Fifties, how he walked there barefoot across hot coals for six miles each day. I know for a fact he had a bicycle but he uses his dramatic tales as a reminder to us of how lucky we were growing up.
The Cork story is an indication of how expensive essential items have now become. For years, my Mam was alarmed at my expensive toilet roll habit - grabbing it to dry my hands, absentmindedly, as well as to cleanse my face twice a day.
“Use the cotton wool,” she would scream at me!
I thought she was overreacting until I moved in with my boyfriend who is now equally appalled at the amount that gets used for everything from blotting lipstick to cleaning the kitchen counter.
“Use the jay-cloth,” he screams at me!
Girls, it seems, have wasteful habits, despite our knack for spotting a bargain. I woke at 5am last week to hear my boyfriend and his friend discussing over a bottle of whiskey their girlfriends’ wasteful ways. I overheard our friend reveal his lady likes to have the hot water on all day while out at work. '”And she likes the heat on all night when we're in bed,” he exclaimed aghast.
I grabbed my slippers and a glass and headed to join this ridiculously exaggerated conversation and defend my friend in her absence.
There's no talking to them though: apparently I throw out countless edible foods because I follow the use-by-date on the pack. One squeeze of Fairy Liquid is all I need, jay-cloths last for months if you wash them … these are all things I have yet to learn.
My boyfriend has been very good though since my salary has drastically decreased. There are certain things however he refuses to buy, jay-cloths, Fairy Liquid and toilet rolls, these are always left for my visits to the shops, even if it means hopping all the way home like those poor girls in Cork might be.