Deal done, there then followed the rather annoying business of having to complete all the formalities and general annoying stuff that go hand in hand with buying a house: solicitor, surveyors, and oh yes, actually paying for it: Ever the optimists and champions of the Winging It school of life, we had agreed the sale without having quite figured out how we would be paying for it. Slightly irresponsible yes but in truth, we perhaps naively weren’t that worried and figured it would all be grand, i.e. we would make it up as we went along.
This was all fine with me. You see, I have a sneaking suspicion that most adult humans are as bad as us and we are all in fact real life Peter Pans in that mentally, no-one really grows up. We are all secretly the same immature eejits we always were, now masquerading as grown ups only with better hair (females only), some children that we made our own selves and a lot of debt. Yep most of us are fake adults.
Thankfully this isn’t actually that hard, you just need a few simple skills and accessories: A variety of interchangeable personalities helps: First and most lucrative of these is the work persona. Only to be used between the hours of 9 and 5 with an accompanying voice never to be used in front of your family as the slags would be too bad, your office disguise lets you say things like “going forward”, “I’ll action that” and “low hanging fruit” without anyone laughing plus it makes money appear in your bank account every month.
Other good ones are the “passive aggressive complainer”: she can appear in bad restaurants, in fact any bad service type situation and particularly when on the phone for 5 hours to UPC. Another useful one comes courtesy of my mum: a semi flirty / over familiar uber friendly character, to be used with people like the receptionist in the GPs when you are trying to get an appointment that actual day or with your mechanic in the hope he might not rip you off. Finally, let me introduce you to my personal favourite, our old 90’s actual friend, Chandler Bing. He usually appears with lots of nervous jokes, over sharing and a touch of neediness/desperation in either stressful or very serious situations.
To your multiple personalities, add in a few useful props: a huge set of keys is good. Makes you seem like you have lots of things that have locks in your life: cars, houses, office doors etc. A cheque book is very very good: nothing like writing a cheque and signing it with a signature, never mind it is nothing like your usual one, to make you feel very adult. Finally I personally find a semi expensive powder compact that makes a good audible clicky open and shut noise is a nice finishing touch to my disguise as a professional woman and mother so that nobody will suspect there is actually a Penneys-wearing, haribo-eating, 21 year old wally lurking Mission Impossible style behind my caramel highlights (another good grown up marker). Sometimes however, the mask slips and the Fake Adult game is well and truly up.
There is no better unveiler of Peter Pan than a trip to the bank and a mortgage application in the current economic climate (I borrowed this phrase from work persona). But that island was not going to buy itself so there was nothing for it but to crank up the debtometer and ring the bank.
The last time we applied for a mortgage it was during the Great Irish Bank Off where the banks were actually giving away money to any eejit who asked. I cant really remember the details but it was definitely something like “hello Mr Bank, can we have some money, maybe a couple of hundred thousand?” Mr Bank: “No problem, wiring to you now”, and that was it, signed, sealed, delivered, everyone was happy. This time, it was a whole different story. We had to prove that we were actual real grown ups and not just spoof ones. This was going to have to entail a real life in the flesh visit to see Mr Bank Manager in his funny Bank Manager office.
The first horror was the forensic examination of our most recent 6 months spending. Daragh was unperturbed but then again he had nothing to hide. What would men know of the inexplicable black holes lurking grenade like all over women’s current accounts? How do you even explain the financial vortexes of those shameful hundred euros spent in Penneys even though you only went in to buy new pj’s or even worse, the €250’s in Ikea even though you only went to buy napkins and a €15 high chair.
Most of the time the responsible thing to do is just not look at your account and pretend it didn’t happen but now, now I was being financially named and shamed and it was mortifying. Using a mixture of both passive aggressor and work persona, I overexplained waaay too much but was all the time thinking, Jesus I cant believe we might not get a mortgage cos I have around 1000 scented tealights stashed in a Billy bookcase.
The other slight hurdle was the concealing of what was now a rather large bump. Afraid that our newest human would add even more to our financial stress test, I glued poor Alice to my lap human shield like and like every interview you’ve ever gone to, put on far too much make up to distract the eye and wore things you wouldn’t usually be seen dead in. Sitting there sweltering in a unearthed billowing trench coat last seen in 1987 and full on bouffant lady hair that was wilting by the second, I searched frantically through all my personas to persuade him to part with his cash.
What was worse was the realisation halfway through that Daragh’s enthusiasm had rubbed off on me and actually now I also really really wanted to buy this house and that maybe the house was actually perfect for us and we had found our Neverland. The whole experience was a bit of a blur and frankly exhausting as I unleashed my full repertoire of personas on poor unsuspecting Mr Bank Manager. Work persona and passive aggressor were getting me nowhere so I switched to flirty friend for a while much to my shame as Daragh looked on with a mixture of pity and bemusement. Yep nothing as attractive as a sweaty pregnant woman dressed as Murphy Brown trying to flirt her way through a bad financial statement to make you fall in love all over again.
Meanwhile Mr Bank Manager Man just looked plain old confused. To finish the meeting off, in a final act of desperation, I introduced the room to Chandler and frantically wise cracked my way through the last twenty minutes. And then as quickly as it started, it was over, he said he would call and we all emerged red faced, (me from exertion, Daragh from embarrassment, Alice from being worn as a bum bag) into the real world.
It was then you can imagine, much to our shock and amazement, when we got the phone call a week later to say that, despite my obvious personality disorder, we were approved. Despite being only fake adults, we had the money and it was full steam ahead. Less Never Ever land,more Possibly Forever land. This house it seemed, was actually happening. Maybe we were finally about to grow up.
“I’ll get my cheque book”‘ I said.