''Not tonight honey, I'm working.''
Abba had a song about it. Working all night, working all day. Bills that need to be paid. Ain't it sad?
Yes, it is, really. When you consider the impact it has on your love life. All work and no play. We work too much. We have to. Living is too expensive. Never mind love.
Yes. We're in budget mode. The government appears poised, sword drawn, ready to slash and skewer this so-called Age of Entitlement. Like Jon Snow in full Game of Thrones glory. Though not in a good way. (What is ''good'' any more, anyway? And can I allude to That Scene in reference to the way the country is being dealt with by the prevailing powers? I wonder.)
Point is, everyone is thinking about money. And taxes. And work. And whether some people are more deserving than others. Whether, for example, some working women are more deserving than other people, who work – women or no.
And all this fuss is because we're all here, calling this great red rock girt by sea our home. We're calling it home, and we're all wanting to make our homes in it. And to afford these homes, we have to work. Though even that might not be good enough.
Apparently, my generation has to give up hope of owning our own home. Not that paying your blood, sweat and tears to the bank, plus interest, is what the proud owner of a pre-fab quarter-acre in the '50s might call ''owning''. Certainly not in a few years when interest rates decide their present phase of steady cool is suddenly out of fashion and stocks decide it's time to drop along with women's hemlines.
Winter is coming. Who will cling to for warmth?
I ask, because this obsession with, and pressure to achieve, a bricks-and-mortar ''home'' is not only emblematic of the all-costs material success we're encouraged to strive for, possibly wrongly so, but because it leaves little room for the home that really matters. The home where one's heart is. The true home. The home that makes it all truly worthwhile.
Those we love. Particularly the one we love. The one we should be making love to. If only we weren't so tired and angry and frustrated by work.
Sometimes, I mull over the idea that we may just be living in a perpetual state of home away from home. We're in the houses we can't afford, or the rentals we can, but wish we didn't have to, dreaming of the home we wish we had. Except we're forgetting that the real stuff of our dreams is sitting across the flat-pack dining room table from us, wishing we were there more often. With them. Present.
I mull, and I worry.
I worry, because if our national and home finances really are as bad as we're being lead to believe, it means we're under more financial pressure than some of us may be able to imagine or remember. Indeed, we're facing this pressure in a time when more people are living alone. This is significant. Are we more lonely?
If that's the case, how will we weather the storm? Will we be stranded in a sea of discontent? Marooned, without anything we care to really care for?
Sometimes I let work get in the way of my relationships. I let work intrude on beautiful friendships that shouldn't be put so far to one side. Sometimes I let work interfere with my lover. It's hard not to, when part of you reasons it's a sacrifice made for the greater good. Of course, I realise, the greater good is being there. Putting them first. Spending your time and energy on them. That is the right price to pay.
But how many of us can afford to love the way we'd love to? How many of us can afford not to work overtime to be at home to make a nice dinner to make sure that our lover knows they are loved? How many of us are in a position to not let work get in the way?
I say small things count. I say it is always possible to make sure your lover feels loved. Whether that's a quick note, or making the bed, or a quickie late at night. Sometimes those small things yield the biggest returns.
Don't you agree?