What is not flat?

Apr 28th, 2008 | By | Category: International

“The light has gone flat”, said the instructor.

Was that what he said?

One woman took off her wrap-around goggles and slipped a different pair from an inside jacket pocket – going from black to orange.

It was beyond me.

A companion explained that the flat light meant it was much harder to spot bumps and dips and, as a consequence, easier to misjudge a slope and fall.

“A good thing we don’t ski in Ireland”, I thought, “the flat light would have all of us in A & E”.

The flat light came to mind this morning. Killiney Bay was a dull, unmoving uniform slab of slate grey. At the horizon, the sea merged almost imperceptibly into the sky, only a slightly lighter shade of flat greyness. It was six degrees and there was drizzle in the air.

The station-bound commuters had fixed grimaces. No smiles or chat, just a determined quick pace to get to their train.

Monday mornings have that special quality!

A metaphorical kick in the backside: how many of the world’s population would believe a flat Monday in Killiney would represent heaven compared to the daily realities in their own lives? How many of those in Darfur, where Irish agencies are struggling to combat hunger and death, how many of those in Chad where Irish soldiers have gone as UN peacekeepers, would not give a moment’s thought to leaving behind their old lives to be able to join the ranks of those heading to work on a Monday morning?


Flat is when you are exhausted from struggling all day to have enough to keep your kids alive; it’s when your spouse is dying and you have no money for medical care; it’s when the future that stretches out in front of you is one without the slightest prospect of change or improvement.

Flat is never a Monday morning in Ireland.

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  1. How true!

  2. Yep . .I thank ‘whoever’ that I have a job to go to, food in my belly and a warm bed to sleep in at night. Not to mention the love of family and the respect of friends. Mondays are never flat, even if I might be, just a little.

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