Have you ever listened to the future and thought, "not for me"?
Harsh perhaps, but that's what I thought on Tuesday, when I had my head in my hands listening to an on-air exchange between the Alliance Party's Patricia O'Lynn and Diane Forsythe of the DUP.
At first, it was seemingly innocuous as presenter Jennifer O'Leary asked the newly-elected MLAs, who haven't had the chance to be part of a fully-functioning Stormont, how they will spend their days as political representatives, their thoughts on continuing to be paid despite the lack of an Executive, and what they get up to in the evenings.
But I was soon shocked by the vicious tone of the exchange, and it's not because I haven't heard animosity between politicians before. Take, for example, the fallout earlier this week on the topic of Irish unity, sparked by comments from Tanaiste Leo Varadkar, after which Sinn Fein accused him of political weakness. It led Ms Forsythe’s party colleague Sammy Wilson to accuse Sinn Fein of a desire to foster division in Northern Ireland – strong words from all concerned.
Despite the impasse over the protocol, I was taken aback by what I heard on Tuesday in the radio interview, which contributed to the lack of hope I felt about the future of Stormont and whether our political representatives will be able to move forward.
As we face massive crises, such as the difficulties in the health service, you wonder how our politicians will ever agree on how to address these matters if even a simple exchange on evening activities is subject to the one-upmanship that was evident in this interview.
Things reached rock bottom when Ms Forsythe shared her affection for the Mournes and spending time with her family, to which her Alliance counterpart responded that she doesn't have time for such endeavours. It seemed an odd approach to take for Dr O'Lynn, whose party colleague Kate Nicholl has come out so strongly in support of maternity provision and support for working parents. It smacked of getting one over the other party at absolutely any cost.
This snapshot of political discourse and how even the simplest things can't be addressed wouldn't give you a lot of hope. Of course, the cost of living and the political vacuum are a source of difficulty and tension for many, and while many argue one party is to blame, others would state that their mandate should be respected.
Whatever the positions of old, all we can hope for from our new politicians is a fresh set of eyes and a different approach to old perspectives. I can understand the frustration of parties who are being blocked from doing so.
But in politics, there's no hope of moving forward if honest and respectful discussions can't be had and both sides don't feel they are listened to.
This exchange was bitter at its core. These are two younger representatives with hopes of prosperous political careers, but with this discussion, you could have been listening to the suits of old – not two faces of the future.