August 09, 2004

A short, pretty random, note

I'm trying to get an PPS number, which is the Irish social security number. It's all part of a long, convoluted attempt to open a bank account; at the moment, and principally because my American bank is retarded, I'm stuck in one of those bureacratic catch-22s where I actually, do not in fact exist. Well, sort of; I can prove I exist and that I'm an Irish citizen, but I can't prove I live in Dublin. It's a long, boring story, and we're skipping it.

I bring it up only to explain why I was looking for the Social Welfare office, Mom and Dad, getting slightly lost, and realizing that it had closed and I had time on my hands. I wandered through the Duvlania exhibit --- obnoxiously taking pictures throughout for y'alls benefit; we'll see how they come out. And then I went for a walk, at the end of which I wrote this:


Slaking my thirst with a half of Smithwick's at a pub called Nash's, which has what you might call character. In other words, it looks like it was loosely nailed together in something-aught-something. Its decorative theme consists of a half a dozen beer mugs hung from the ceiling and pieces of paper tacked randomly to the walls wherever somebody felt like it --- funny newspaper clippings, crinkled foriegn bills, an orange neon half-sheet over the bar with the legend "When the floor's full of cigarette ends, try the ashtrays" --- with new additions plastered over the old only when the old have gotten so brown they've faded entirely into the wall. The mise-en-scene is completed by clutch of regulars who look like they were tacked into the bar stools back in something-aught-something themslves.

I'm sitting here because I wanted to jot down something about this neighboorhood I was just in, what it felt like before I forget. I was trying to find the office and the street I was on was supposed to change, after a while, into another street, and it did, but not the one I was looking for. I walked down it for a while fruitlessly, then decided to head back to the center of town. I shortcutted down a side streets for a block or two, and then my eye was caught by a picturesque arrangement of colored doors --- the doors here are a rainbow of laquer --- and I wandered over to take a picture. And thought, here is a place I have never been before. Each block was made of tiny brick row houses of one storey, with small peaked roofs. They couldn't have been more than four rooms apiece, perhaps an attic; a whole neighborhood of them. I've never seen anything quite like them before; I have drawn their like, as a child: Window, door, window, chimney, crooked. Even as a child --- an American child --- I think the houses I drew had two storeys, the windows set high in the wall, eyes to the door's mouth. With these the tops of the window sashes were about even with the door lintel, the eaves of the roof a mere foot or two above that. They seemed old, these houses, 19th century at least. For they were family houses, you could tell, there were kids running about even now, and I can't imagine anything so small being built for a family in our lately past last century. But perhaps that demonstrates only the limits of my imagination.

What was funny about it was that you'd never have guessed they were there. They were tucked just behind a main street, but that street was fronted entirely by a block of modern apartments, with names like "Harcourt Plaza," and "Sterne Place." There was no way to get from the busy main road to the neighborhood except by a narrow close. To get a car in or out you'd have to snake out the back ways, the same way I, wandering, had found them. The apartment blocks were five or ten years old, I'd say, fifteen at the outside. They were made of brick and concrete, with wide windows and a balcony to each, the balustudes of which were curved steel tubes painted blue. Six storeys, with a penthouse atop, and presumably a sun deck. The new Dublin walling off a slice of the old, overlooking, overshadowing, protecting, preserving. The parapets of the ancient city wall would have been quite near here, quite similar.

Posted by Diablevert at August 9, 2004 01:32 PM | TrackBack

enjoyed - you took me there

Posted by: mom at August 11, 2004 10:34 AM

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