Hello Wall… Have You Met My Friend Twitter

The following short feature appeared in The Irish Examiner, today Friday 16th July 2010.

Shirley Valentine, Willy Russell’s bored and put upon Liverpudlian housewife, used to talk to her kitchen wall. “Hello wall,” she would say when returning from her grocery shopping, “it’s egg and chips tonight for tea, wall.” And what happened to our Shirley? Off she went to Greece where she fell in love with the swarthy Costas who loved her stretch marks. But I digress.

Shirley Valentine was lonely. I get that. I too am a suburban housewife, albeit of the 21st century as opposed to the 1980’s. But it can still get lonely and sometimes a woman just needs a chat. She needs to be able to vent frustrations, laugh with another soul who gets the joke or just pass the time of day.

I am lucky to have great neighbours who I consider friends, but you can’t always go barging into another woman’s kitchen whenever you feel like it. Thanks to Mrs Valentine I am very aware of the danger of beginning to talk to the wall. I have a dog and four cats and I will admit to probably sharing more with them than I should. But they are not great for feedback and they don’t laugh at my jokes.

In the past, when I felt I would die if I didn’t talk to someone, I used to invent a reason to call my husband. Sometimes I might get a few minutes chat out of him. He knew that if I didn’t use up most of the 20,000 words women apparently use every day, he would be assaulted with a barrage of conversation on arrival home. I have engaged the postman, meter reading man and the egg man in conversations that went way beyond the socially acceptable “hello, nice day”, much to their discomfort and embarrassment.

Ah, but those days are over now. Now I am never lonely. My husband has forgotten what its like to be hit over the head with a ton of unused words on his return from work and the postman, meter reading man and egg man are now quite relaxed coming to my door. And what has brought this change? Twitter, that’s what.

I have discovered the Twitterverse and it’s populated by lots of chatty women, writing women, older women, wise women, other moms, all of whom love to chat, sorry tweet. Twitter is like being at a great party where you can listen to lots of simultaneous conversations and join in whenever you wish to. We give each other weather reports – ‘it’s another lovely day here in West Cork’. We hear news almost as it happens, find out what’s coming up on radio programmes before they air and of course there are links to all kinds of great websites. You could happily spend all day twittering along. Because just as you are tiring of the Irish and Europeans, the Americans wake up and tweets tumble onto screen such as ‘morning all.. another hot one on the Cape, off to the beach.’

Ah yes, Twitter, where great women can witter on and on all day to their hearts content. But sometimes I do pause and look fondly at my kitchen wall and wonder if somewhere on a Greek Island is there a stretch mark loving 21st century Costas waiting to take me off on his boat so we can go skinny dipping in the Mediterranean. Because I would really hate to miss out on that! But in the meantime why not join the party on Twitter. Let me begin by introducing myself, I am @aurora111.

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15 Comments

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  1. This was awesome! I remember that movie, too and Shirley Valentine bringing in the sack of groceries. Wonderful title, too. I'll RT this! Very good, indeed!

  2. Nice one, Barbara, Good on you, lovely witty piece.
    Stop reminding us of Greece not fair with all this rain !!!

  3. Barbara, lovely piece. Now I now why you twitter…. your neighbours and friends aren't enough for you….glad I'm not one of those!

  4. Congratulations Barbara! And no better woman to talk about twitter. I really must start using it a little more. I was addicted a couple of months ago, but I've become a little lazy.

  5. Love the article/post. Now that I blog, my husband has to try to get my attention. I have to remember not to ignore him.

  6. Great article Barbara! Saw it in the Examiner this morning – great!

  7. Yes! Spot on Barbara. Although I'm not admitting to the Greek fantasy in case my husband finds out!

  8. Publication in De Paper!! Congrats Barbara. Lovely piece. I am going to have to find how twitter works – I only seem to get messages from naughty girls in Eastern Europe. Anyway well done. The first of many hopefully.

  9. Well done on your article, i'm in awe!
    Clearly remember Shirley Valentine saying “hallo wall”, her accent, her practical determination, and the bit where she sticks her head up in the stretch mark scene and says “Arent men full of shit?” That's the bit that gave the film its intelligence.
    I agree with you too, though i don't twitter, blogging does it for me, and i feel genuinely fond of the people, like you, mostly women, who i follow online. It adds another dimension to my life, because as you said, being a stay at home mother/aspiring writer can be damn lonely without it. I was a teenager when the film came out, never really thought I'd end up saying “hallo wall”, I was right, I didnt, I got friendly with the kitchen window instead!

  10. Congratulations!!!! Beautiful article, I am soooo impressed but not surprised xxxxxx.

  11. Thanks everyone for the nice comments. Was delighted that De Examiner ran it! Nothing gives a writer a thrill quite like seeing her words in print

  12. Brilliant Barbara!

    Sorry I am so late to say so. 🙂

  13. I think we all deserve a Costas in our life, don't you. Why should Shirley have all the fun. I just love good ole Shirley.

  14. This is a bit of a late response but I wasn't following your blog (or tweeting!) back in July, so I just noticed it in your sidebar (by the way the link didn't work,I just googled the article title for de paper! you might be able to tweak your settings as the url seems to be hhttp instead of http at the start like this hhttp://barbarascully.blogspot.com/2010/07/hello-wall-have-you-met-my-friend.html)
    Anyway, well done on having this piece in what we in the deep south call De Paper. I don't get it regularly – force of habit has me sticking with the Irish Times, and it's a bit too Corky for a Waterford woman betimes!)
    And I am slowly getting used to the chat aspect of Twitter, it is totally different from Facebook in that regard – I will comment much more freely on Twitter even to rant on something political that riles me!
    Happy New Year for 2011 – Catherine.

  15. My blog is called 'Hello Wall' for that very reason. I got fed up with talking to the wall and decide to blog it instead. Love it!

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