Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Meteorological matters

We had the arses well and truly blown off ourselves last night in these parts. I have spent enough of my time on Sealink ferries and in the West of Ireland — where the wind appears to reserve its most committed effort at bluster — this new variety is astonishing. Especially in a place usually habituee to a mild climate.

It’s somewhat difficult to cull an interest in the weather, when it’s whipping the arse of you. I became fixated on the weather as a security guard, even though I was only outside patrolling car parks, and spent much of my time inside, getting cosy with the 12 mini security screens, rereading Coetzee novels, in a jacket 19 times too big for me, obsessively texting the weather forecast.

Once in a Cagney and Lacey moment and to make it seem like I was a useful entity I wrote a report (we had to keep hourly reports on what was happening, there was largely nothing happening, hence the need for the odd fictional slant on nothingness) of noticing two people out the back digging a hole and burying something. I realised afterwards, that the area I had described was in fact a vast expanse of concrete and a man or woman would have needed pneumatic arms to dig anything out there. I think the person may have been tying a shoelace. Poor quality cameras can rapidly up the drama factor of almost any movement. An ambling dog blurred can look like a bison. Even someone pausing to light a ciggarette can begin to look as if they are conspiring to knock down a building.

A real highlight of that job was when someone politely asked me if I collected bottles, offering a bagful of empties. Another time someone gave me a plastic bag full of small shampoo bottles and soap, but nothing topped the harrassed hockey fan who appeared in front of me one night wondering if I could fix his toilet which had inconveniently gone on the blink in the middle of a match. I suppose by logical deduction that made me a well-dressed binner, who needed to pay more attention to washing, but had the makings of a great plumber.

Curiously rarely did anyone ask about the books I was reading.

It was an interesting vista watching people entering and exiting their lives, because the time waiting for the elevator was like a pause in the grand scale of what they were doing and always they remarked on the weather, so perhaps that’s where the responsibility to be up to date and add to the weather discussion lay. Otherwise where could the 17 second conversation go?

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