July 02, 2004

Yipiee-Kai-Yay, Motherfuckers

So here is my Bridget Jones' Diary-esque sum-up of the past few days. It starts off okay I think but I'm worried that I've run out of steam a bit toward the end there; can you imagine the half-assedness of my efforts if I'd had to write all of you individually?

Oh, fine, I'm just a lazy bastard. And in addition, I'm pretty sure I'm all over the place with the first and third person and the verb tenses, but I wanted to throw this up before Friday was over your time, and frankly, I'm getting near the wire. Cut a sister a break.

Ireland, Week One

Monday, 3:00 PM EST

Arrive at airport.

Monday, 3:05 PM EST

While wrestling with wonky-wheeled hand cart, I fail to notice that my Ipod* has fallen out of pocket. A nice foreign man tries to point this out to me using hand gestures; I frown darkly at him and loudly announce that the cart is mine fair and square.

*NB, for those of you, and you know who you are: The old Ipod. You can breathe again now.

Monday, 3:20 PM EST

While standing in the check-in line, I go to put on my headphones and discover the loss of the Ipod. After thoroughly searching through my carry-on luggage, I deduce what form my idiocy has taken this time, and am faced with a dilemma, to wit: I am now about halfway through the line. If I stay, I will reach the ticket counter in about ten minutes. If I leave the line and re-enter, my wait will probably be three times as long or more; the members of some sort of group tour (see below) have been swarming up to the Aer Lingus desk ever since I got here, and the line behind me has stretched far past the point where it was when I entered it. I could ask the people behind me to watch my luggage while I dash back out to the cart rack; but frankly, the creepily flirtatious conversation between Suburban Dad and His Coltish Pre-Teen Daughter was what inspired me to reach for the headphones in the first place. (Sample dialogue: "Don't try and compliment me. I'm still mad at yo-ou." Giggle.) I elect to stay in the line.

Monday, 3:35 PM EST

The Ipod is totally gone, as I knew in my heart of hearts it would be. I hang my head in shame and consider what a jackass I am. I realize with irritation that now I have no music for the plane. Briefly, I wonder what the thief thinks of my musical taste. Finally, I reflect that, because I have been blessed beyond deserving, I have a new Ipod, and this just gives me more reason to play with it.

Monday, 5:30 PM EST

I'm waiting for the plane to board, and there's a strange 14-year-old using my shin for a backrest. My shin is in high dudgeon, it's sending stern messages up my nerves to my spinal column, wants me to say something about how I'm not that kind of girl. But the rest of me is inclined to be indulgent. I've got sucked in with some kind of youth group --- there's about fifty of them in grey T-shirts, all about 14, I'd say, and they seem to be from all over, they keep announcing themselves to each other and I've overheard Colorado, Maryland, and of course and inevitably, New Jersey. The shirts don't mention any kind of church group, and they can't be performing since they don't know each other; I'm inclined, from the sprinkling of red heads and the predominance of freckles among them, to think they're on some kind of heritage tour. They seem to be a good hearted bunch, though giggly; about twenty of them have flopped down in front of my knee to play Bullshit. The ringleader --- the chick who thought to bust out the cards, and who keeps performing the introductions everytime someone new sheepishly wanders over --- is a hazel-eyed, smudged-nose kid with a devilish grin, who has fashionably modified her t-shirt by slitting the sides, snipping at them, and safety-pinning them back together to create a) an artfully tatty fringe and b) a noticeable tightening across the chest, whislt everyone one else sits there in their one-size-fits-alls, letting their scoliosis add to the sag and bag. If I were a chaperone, I'd keep an ear perked in her direction.
Ah, the anxiousness, the awkwardness, the hormones. The matched set of bitchy-looking chicks wearing vari-colored polos under their standard-issue T's, with the sleeves shoved up to the elbows and the colors flipped up. They look like something out of 1985, which, if I can count, is about five years before their births. (See? Do you see, America? This is what early exposure to VH1 does to your fashion sense.)

Monday, 6:01 PM EST

I have never seen a living child look so much like a shock-haired troll doll.

Monday, 6:20 PM EST

I advise that all the most momentous travel occasions of you life be accompanied by the bellows of a squalling infant. It admirably focuses the mind, wiping away all worries of what the future might bring and forcing one to be fully present in the now, e.g., Will it stop now? How about now?

Monday, 6: 25 PM EST

I hope it isn't the troll baby; she seems quite burdened enough.

Monday/Tuesday, Somewhere over the Atlantic.

Try and avoid having to watch Starsky and Hutch by crawling inside my hoodie and falling asleep. Fail; hoodie is too small to shut out all light and can only sleep fitfully. Spend about an hour rolling my eyes at the too-cool-for-school youth group kid next to me as he plots with his friends to buy cartons of Marlboro Reds off the duty free cart.

Tuesday, 5:30-6:30 AM GMT

Arrive in Dublin. Find ATM, find luggage, do not find coffee; get cab.

Tuesday, 7:00 AM GMT

Get lost. Cabbie is a polite and pleasant fellow who seems to be from Africa somewhere; he compliments me on my pronunciation skills --- marble-mouthed Haitians are apparently the bane of his existence --- but still cannot find my street, and the Cabbie's On Star system he's got installed can't find it either. I am of the opinion that we took a wrong turn back at the bridge, but he thinks we should continue on the way we were going originally, when lo and behold, we pass right by the place.

So, the house. It's on a cul de sac --- which, I've noticed, are always marked very prominently; I just can't figure out why, it's not like you can take a wrong turn onto one and get lost --- and fronts a small field with a wall through it, across which can be seen the houses one street over. It's got a brick front, which pleased me; frankly, on the drive over all the houses started to blend together, as they're almost all made of a pebbly sort of grey concrete. Like the skin of a basketball, except, you know, grey and made out of concrete. Grey seems to be Dublin's default color, its background, at least what I've seen of the city so far. It's a bit like heraldy --- there are all these dashes of bold, sharply defined color, front doors and window sashes and shop fronts, saturated with blue and reds and purples and yellows, and it's all against this background of grey. Well, and green of course. Brick stands out a bit, and I think it looks nicer.
The house is what's called a semi-detached, meaning it shares a wall with the house next door. It's got a driveway/courtyard out front, surrounded by a low wall --- there's a grey hatchback parked in front of the garage, I assume it was my landlord's mother's. There's also a scraggily-looking rosebush to the left of the door.
Inside the house --- well, inside the house is a bit weird. See, me turning up looking for a place to rent in Dublin was as much a stroke of fortune for my landlord as him having a place to rent was for me. He'd been thinking about renting it out, but he hadn't done a serious planning or preparing for that; the house just got out of probate a few weeks ago. Which means that there's all this stuff here. He's supposed to be coming over in July sometime to go through some of the stuff, but in the meantime, there's photos on the walls and phone numbers on the corkboard and the good china still in its cabinet. I feel a bit like a cat burglar, as if I've sneaked into somebody's house who's on vacation, and they'll be returning any moment.
The house is decorated in a style that might be described as Modern Grandma. There's lots of cross-stitched throw pillows and doilies, a closet full of toys for the grandkids, lots of school pictures. It's a comfortable house, though --- neat, but lived in. There's a small hallway when you enter, with stairs leading up to the second floor, a hallway through to the kitchen, and a door to the left that goes to the living room. Living room has a tv, a piano, an overstuffed suite upholstered in yellow, and a gas fireplace. Kitchen has a small attached sitting room with another fireplace and a door out to the back garden. The garden is walled in, but the walls are concealed on the two long sides by box hedges and on the far side by shrubbery. It has a small lawn and some flowers and is quite cute.
Upstairs. When you get to the top of the stairs you can go left or right. On the right side, over the garage, is a large double bedroom and a small storage room. On the left side the hallway widens out a bit and there are three bedrooms, one small one over the hallway and two good-sized ones over the living room. Over the kitchen is the toilet and bathroom; I mean that literally, they're separate. I don't know why. I do know that the bathroom-has an extra-deep tub which is spectacular for taking long bubble baths in when you're jet lagged.
That's it for the house, I think. Oh, wait --- I forgot the Emergency Back-Up Toilet. Outside by the garage there's some kind of outhouse. It looks like it hasn't been used in years --- it's where they store the recyling bin --- but it flushes, by gum, so if in dire need, well. You know.
I've taken some pictures, and I might be able to scan them in a couple days; if I get them up I'll let y'all know.

Tuesday, 8:00 AM GMT

I explore the house a bit, and notice that Kind Neighbor Lady has left me a note, the back door key, and after reading the note and opening the fridge, milk, eggs, bread, margarine, tea, and bangers. Score!

Tuesday, 9:00 AM-10:30 PM GMT

Go to the hardware store and buy an adapter; return home, by lucky accident figure out how to get on the internet, dash off e-mail, take a nap, intending to get up at 1. Get up at 4:30. Kind Neighbor Lady stops buy around seven and offers to take me to the grocery store tomorrow as she's going up that way anyway. Sleep again.

Wednesday, 10:30 A.M. GMT

Go to Tesco, the big-ass grocery store 'round these parts. Discover that, other than the fact that the cheese selection kind of bites and cookies are all English, everything's pretty much the same here as it is in the states, same brands and everything. Oh, except it all costs 10% more, and you can buy liquor in the grocery store. Nominate new candidate for Three Most Terrifying Words in the English Language: "Store-Brand Vodka."

Wednesday, 2:31 PM GMT

I notice that Google automatically takes me to Google.ie, even when I type in google.com; I feel somewhat oppressed.

Wednesday, 4:17 PM GMT

Briefly watch a terrible Irish soap opera. It's a simple math problem, really. In a country of 4 million people, a) how many of them are going to want to be actors, and b) how many of them are going to be any good at it? Subtract b from a and you are left with a number large enough to populate a small soap opera.

Thursday, 2:30 PM-9:00 PM GMT

Unintentionally sleep 14-hours, waking up at 2:30. Realize whole "Getting a Lot of Stuff Done Today" plan kind of fucked. Walk to St. Stephen's Green; it's about 3 and a half a miles, but what with a couple hour long pits stops at a pub and an internet café, don't get there till about 8:30.

Thursday, 7:30 PM GMT

I think to myself something along the lines of, "Well, if I can't figure out the bus timetable, then I'm buggered."

Self: What the fuck? Buggered?
My brain: What?
Self: Quit that! It makes you sound like a pretentious twat.
Brain: Look, I adhere to a strict When-In-Rome vocabulary policy.
Self: I don't think they even say "buggered" over here! The accent thing I can take, but this is ridiculous. I've already caught you thinking the word "after" in the sense of "to seek," like, three times. Next thing you know I'll be using "your man" in the abstract.
Brain: You must adapt or die. Que sera sera.
Self: Just for that, I'm gonna get the Doris Day version stuck in my head for hours.
Brain: Piss off.

Friday, 1:30 PM GMT

Slept in --- again --- but finally beginning to feel normal. Unpacked, ran errands, fixed internet, looked at job websites.

Friday, 4:51 PM

Took a break from unpacking and turned on the TV for a sec. The lotto drawing girl --- they call it Telly Bingo --- is, from all appearances and especially the timber of her voice, a 6-foot tranny. Her name is Shirley. She's just been having a lovely chat with today's bonus game contestant, a 67-year-old granny to 14 from Wexford.

Friday, 6:30 PM GMT

Bought a mobile phone. I will give you all the number as soon as I figure out how to work it; after a titanic struggle, I located the on button half an hour ago.

The End. So Far.

Honestly, other than that I haven't done much. This cold is kind of kicking my ass. Most of the time I appear perfectly normal, but every twenty minutes or so I go into a tremendous fit of hacking coughs. Occasionally I make a funny squeaking sound as my body desperately tries to both cough air out and breath air in. Good times. I think it's getting better though, and I cough less when I'm out and about doing stuff than when I'm sitting on my ass at home. So tomorrow I'm gonna go buy a bicycle. And try and figure out how the buses work.
I just realized I've skipped the part about shortchanging the cabby, but I'll guess I'll just have to keep it up my sleeve for next time. Talk to you all soon.

Leave a comment, if you've made it all the way to the end. Besides, it saves you from having to write me back. For not only am I lazy, I encourage laziness in others.

Posted by Diablevert at July 2, 2004 10:08 PM | TrackBack

i enjoyed.

Posted by: Sull at July 4, 2004 08:35 AM

You're up early.

Posted by: cms at July 4, 2004 09:45 AM

smart ass. picking on your sister from thousands of miles away. apologise.

Posted by: Stephen at July 4, 2004 12:55 PM

I hold the truth to be self evident that older sisters are allowed to pick on their kid sisters at all times; the internet is merely a tool which makes possible the exercise of that right from thousands of miles away.

Posted by: cms at July 4, 2004 06:45 PM


Posted by: Sull at July 7, 2004 10:29 PM

there is a book in this some where how many irish american kids or bibliophiles have dreamed of going to ireland to write - you can demistify the fantasy for legions of people!

keep writing - no more slagging off

Posted by: peggy at July 10, 2004 03:09 PM

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