“I’m not going,” she says.
“Ah come on, don’t be daft,” I say, “sure it’s all hysteria. You’re more likely to die of diabetes but that doesn’t stop you eating all those chocolate bars, does it?”
“What are you trying to say?” she asks.
“Well, nothing, just that, you know, you like chocolate.”
“And so what if I like it? I know what you’re saying, you asshole.”
“I’m not saying anything. We’ve been looking forward to this gig for weeks. It’d be a shame not to go just because of some silly virus.”
“Look, you go if you want. I’m staying at home. Going into these crowded places is madness. It’s like sticking your head in a petri dish or your arm in a lion’s cage.”
“Ah come on now,” I plead, “you’re looking at too much shite on the internet. Sure the government said it only kills old people.”
“I don’t believe the government,” she says. “The disease is spreading like wildfire in Italy and our government is saying it won’t spread at all here. Other countries are cancelling flights, but Ireland is just handing out leaflets, fucking leaflets, at the airports. And anyway, I know you’d be half hoping your dad would pop his clogs, but I actually like my parents so I find that very insensitive.”
“Well maybe the weather is too shit for the virus in Ireland,” I reason, “sure no sensible virus would want to come and live here.”
“Don’t be daft,” she says. “It’s a cover up. The pubs don’t want to be down money on St Patrick’s day.”
“I bought these tickets for you for Christmas. It’ll be a total waste if we don’t go.”
“I’d rather be down a few euros than be sick. Now, you’re either going or you’re not.”
She expects me to stay home with her. I know she does, but I think she’s being hysterical. She panics way too much about these things. I wouldn’t even be surprised if she had bought 6 months supply of toilet rolls, like those fecking Australians. Just what you need in the apocalypse – plenty of toilet rolls. You know it’s serious shit when the toilet rolls are selling out.
“I’m going,” I say. I’m not going to be held back by political correctness on this one. I mean, I said nothing when she went and bought six months supply of emergency chocolate for the potential lockdown, but I’m putting my foot down on this one. They say women find it sexy when strong men assert themselves in any case. You can’t be too much of a pushover or they have no respect for you.
“Right, enjoy yourself then,” she says, and makes to close the door.
“Now hang on,” I interject, putting my foot in the door to stop her closing it, “you’re not annoyed, are you?”
“No,” she says, but I know she is.
“Okay then I’ll see you later,” I say. She clicks the door closed and I head off to the town hall to see Sir Stevo and Kathleen.
Just before the show starts I notice that several dozen seats are empty even though it was a sellout show. The MC comes on and comments that it must be because of the coronavirus and he makes a few jokes about it. Sure what else can you do? You have to just laugh about it or you’d go mad. They say stress will kill you quicker than cancer and so it’ll probably kill you quicker than coronavirus too.
The show is mighty craic altogether. Sir Stevo comes on stage after the MC tells us all he’s a bit shy and to get him out we have to shout “Come out, ye c@%t” and so everybody does and he comes out with a face mask on him. It’s all for show though, he throws it off after a while and then proceeds to do an hour long rant about the gays, the church, politicians, and football players and stuff. It’s great fun and I completely forget about the girlfriend.
After the show I give her a ring but she doesn’t answer, so I try again and it’s still the same. I then decide to send her a text that I’m coming over and I hop in the car. I’m about a mile from her house and I hear my phone ping that I have a text message and so I pull in to the side of the road in case she wants me to grab her a chocolate bar, or something, from the petrol station.
“You can fuck off now. I can’t believe you called me fat and then abandoned me. If you think you’re coming back here now tonight exposing me to viruses then I’m afraid you can think again.”
I’m flabbergasted, and reply: “I never said you were fat. I don’t even think you are fat; I just said you like chocolate, which you do now to be fair.”
Within one second of sending my reply, I get a swift response: FUCK YOU, it says, in all caps.
I’m thinking I better not call over tonight then. But like the coronavirus panic, I expect it will all blow over, but I suppose I better stock up on toilet paper, just in case, like.
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