In a Word...

...disappointment

 

The highlight of my day now is freshly baked bread. Just to touch a warm, crusty stone-baked boule, and squeeze its soft, seductive centre, is almost... well... erotic (if I could only remember what that was like).

My 20-year-old self would be so desperately disappointed. It is so far from the high idealism of those student days. Then, we passed a motion condemning the king of Nepal for spending a small fortune on his coronation in that poor country. We also condemned Prince Charles for attending the coronation. His reputation never recovered and the king of Nepal has not been heard of since.

Or all those campaigns for better grants so more 20-year-olds like ourselves could access third-level education where they too could attempt to remake the world in their own earnest image and fresh likeness.

Oh, how we marched and marched through the patient streets of Galway. How we occupied its public buildings again and again in pursuit of a better Ireland for all. One such march had to be stopped as we left the university when a colleague warned me that my 20-year-old self could be arrested for wearing government property, illegally.

A friend had given me his FCA coat with all its shiny brass buttons, so, as the whole population of UCG looked on, we stopped the march and proceeded to cut those buttons off one by one before heading for the City Council offices.

A week of occupations followed, ending at the then Bord Fáilte building on Eyre Square where the gardaí, sick by then of carrying us out of buildings, threatened to arrest the lot of us. It was time to call in our very own “deus ex machina” – Michael D. He came, he talked to the gardaí, and we walked.

My 20-year-old self would be very happy he is now President of Ireland but could never have anticipated that I would arrive at an age when fresh bread would be the highlight of my day.

Then my 20-year-old self never anticipated a pandemic, but it is doubtful he would accept even that as an excuse for how I now delight in bread – and Netflix.

Disappointment, from French désappointement - dis “reverse, opposite of” + appoint, plus ment, a common suffix of Latin origin, forming nouns.

inaword@irishtimes.com

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