Maeve Higgins’s ideal ... hunch


I was in my room the other day, trying to ascertain whether or not I had picked up that awful virus that’s been going around. My symptoms included an inability to decide what I feel about Rihanna, an almost unfounded resentment against people from the Midlands and a strong compulsion to get lipliner tattoed onto my face. Worried, as always, that I was becoming neurotic, I paused and began instead to consider the ideal hunch.

Every day I thank Ja Rule that I don’t work in a job that relies on my intuition.

I’m grateful I’m not a telephone psychic or a police dog, because my hunch system is extremely weak. It wouldn’t feel right to tell someone “You’ll have two kids, one affair and you should have that mole checked out” or worse, try to convey, by barking, that there’s a ball of yaba stashed in some hapless mule’s duodenum. Lucky for me, my work is purely physical.

Hunches of convenience are to be avoided. When I see a pretty bonnet in a shop window and it’s more than I can afford, I often force a hunch that says I’ll come into money soon. Then a secondary hunch rides up beside that one, announcing I’ll feel much better in brand new headgear.

With my dual hunches’ permission I go right ahead and buy the ribboned beauty. Then I see that even the prettiest tulle creation cannot distract from two sad pools of eyes and one vivid coldsore. I turn to confront my hunches, but they have fled, taking my money with them.

That said, it’s all too easy to use facts to clobber hunches into the ground. I may say to you, conspiratorially, excitedly, clutching a glass of something girly and bubbly, “I have a hunch my boyfriend is going to propose.”

And you may say to me “You don’t have a boyfriend, Maeve. You’ve been alone for a long time now and you’ll continue to be as long as you maintain your fantasist policy of playing out entire relationships exclusively in your head.”

Listen up Pal, up until very recently, I actually was seeing someone. Just briefly – a really nice guy too. I started seeing him on the train from Limerick Junction and we went our separate ways in Portlaoise. It was quite casual and it ended with little acrimony (on his part, at least) and that surely counts for something?

My dream hunch is the one that insists everything will be fine, despite looming evidence to the contrary. It’s a chirpy one, nipping between rolling boulders of doubt, shrugging off heavy cloaks of gloom and darting after patches of sunshine, even when they’re miles off and possibly just a trick of the light. Like an old friend turning up at a terrible party, it’s both a relief and a responsibility.

This hunch can be annoying when I’m hell bent on the blues, but it’s a valiant scrap of a thing, worth listening out for in the chaos.