The Obstacles of a Day Off – LEP

This column first appeared in the Lancashire Evening Post

Its 9.30am on Friday and Friday is my day off. No radio shows today and my inbox sits proudly clear. My iPad rests on the kitchen worktop, staring at me and flirting with my self imposed digital detox. Apparently, it’s good for you. No social media, limited phone use and don’t even think about checking emails. Lauren Goodger from TOWIE swears by it, Fearne Cotton does it once a week and Gwyneth Paltrow has a whole section about it on her website. That’ll do for me; I’m in, a day of reflection and meditation it is.

9.38am and have you seen that viral video of the guy’s kids walking the room as he does a live TV interview? I’ve watched it 7 times. Yeah. Fine. Whatever. Gwyneth Paltrow hasn’t been in a hit film for years anyway. Maybe she missed the casting call on Twitter.

I scroll through Facebook for a while, passing the usual bragging and attention seeking. Michael has a new car. Stacey is showing off her new boyfriend and does a commendable job of angling the camera to hide her double chin. Jessica and Dan are having a baby. ‘Who are Jessica and Dan?’ you rightly ask, and that is a fine question that I have absolutely no answer to. I think I met them on holiday in 2007, or are they friends of that guy I used to work with? Regardless, it’s a boy. I wish them a lifetime of happiness with a love heart emoji and put down my iPad, genuinely warmed by my own kindness. ‘I’m a nice person’, I think to myself and, ‘that’ll do for today. Back to the detox.’ I’m with you, Gwyneth.

Ding. My phone. In the bedroom. Leave it. It’s fine. It’s my day off. If it were important, they’d ring. Or maybe they tried to ring? Maybe they rang and it went to voicemail and now this is their last desperate attempt to get hold of me, as their phone battery drains to nothing and they hang from the side of a 100ft cliff edge. Ding, again. My Mum? My girlfriend, Michaela? One last declaration of their love is all they’d hoped for. How dare the former children’s television presenter Fearne Cotton deny them this right?

To the bedroom in a panic and with a stumble on the way. I pick up my phone and… Dominos Pizza. It’s two for one on takeaway tonight. That might be nice, actually. And come to think of it, there aren’t any 100ft cliffs on my Mum’s commute to work.

I scroll through my texts while I’m there. Why not? Sometimes I miss things in the busyness of the week – I don’t want to seem rude if I don’t respond. I doubt Lauren Goodger would be happy to shoulder the blame if I’d forgotten to forward that email to Rob on Wednesday. And frankly I… wait… I stop scrolling… land on Lucy. I text her on Tuesday, about the party next week.

‘What time should I get there?’ I’d said, last Tuesday. That’s a four-day snub. Maybe she missed it in the busyness of the week? Yeah. That’ll be it. That, or she doesn’t want me to come? I thought I’d seen a picture of her and Matt, out together last weekend. Come to think of it, it was strange of them to not invite me to that. She is cutting me out. She’s hatched a plan with Matt to cut me out of their lives. She’s seen the text and there will be a party. It’ll be a gathering of all the people I know and I love and they’ll sit around and chat about how glad they are that I’m not there. I can’t text her again, that looks desperate. That’s what they’ll call me at the party – ‘Desperate Darryl’.

Facebook. iPad open and scrolling through. James’ car, Stacey’s new boyfriend, Jessica and Dan’s baby and four likes for my comment. How sweet. They like me. And then… Lucy…

‘Hey guys, lost my phone. Message me on here if you need me.’ Ah. A lost phone. Of course! Lost on Tuesday, before my text, no doubt.

That’s it. The detox starts now. ‘Clear of distraction, clear of mind’ says Gwyneth on her website. ‘Four likes isn’t bad for a comment’, I think to myself as I close my iPad. Although none of those were Jessica or Dan. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen Dan post for a while. He can’t have? Could he? Deleted me? iPad open…

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By Darryl Morris

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