Monday, June 30, 2008

If there was a tree...

If there was a tree, he could have hung himself. The thought occurred to him as he thought about that play by Beckett. At least you could die standing up (if you see what he thought). But there was no tree. Not here, as he plodded like Poldy round Dublin, where the North city had not re-gentrified but instead the middle classes had re-galvanised with expensive buildings, too high to get over, too secure to get into. Standing proud and tall, shrugging off the old, the decrepit, the council-owned. Reaching for the sun during the day. And of course the stars, during the night. Getting pissed on first or at least believing as much.
He was thinking of Godot on account of the fact that he was unsure of what to think of. Despite the hundreds, maybe thousands of lives that walked, avoided and shoved their way passed him. Life. Going on as it must do. Strange to think of all this life, he thought. This city, he thought, is blooming with life. And I am walking round, looking (seeking? searching?) for something. But what?
He had no idea. Not since it all happened. It had started out here, with him like this: walking around. For work, he knew. He remembers one thing - the feeling that they could fire him. The feeling that they held him in their hands and that whatever he was looking for he needed. Without it, he'd be going back to the office to be fired. And that would be no good. Not with all that stuff to pay for. The stuff he'd accumulated in a life with a girl who he lost. Was he looking for her? No. He didn't think so. He would find her elsewhere, he knew. It was his destiny. Or at least a part of his destiny that hadn't been wrenched - with the house and the car and the stuff - with his job. It was something. Written in the stars, they used to say at school. If he had a mind, he could try and get in and get up one of those sky scrapers. Read whatever it was that was written in the stars. It could tell him where she was.
She was what he needed. But first.
First he had to find what he was looking (seeking? searching?) for. He'd know it when he found it. And once he had, he could turn his attentions to finding herself. He'd say "Well?" and she'd say "Well yerself!" like she used to and then she'd kiss him. He'd try to apologise and she wouldn't hear of it. No, he knew it couldn't happen that way. But he also knew it couldn't happen at all unless he found what he was looking for. If only he could figure it out - who made it, who sold it, who delivered it?
There were too many questions for asking. And besides, no one to ask, really. Not with all these people passing and bumping and even barging their way through this city to find things they must know they are looking for. Unless they are trying to get to them before they forget. Because, and they are reminded when they see him, he is what happens if you forget before you find it.
Dear God.
If there was a tree...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

...on the lighter side...

I've been very reflective and perhaps a bit maudlin recently. So here are some things that made me giggle...

Ironic Forum Signature:
"It's ok to be different, it's good to be different, and we should
question ourselves before we judge others." -- Johnny Depp" (I can be different because Johnny Depp says it's OK?)

Road Sign: No Unauthorized Dumping.
Jeremy, a good lad who wore decent suits and worked hard in the city just couldn't take it any more with K. She had to go. But how to do it?
Passing through a swell in the council offices, he took a ticket and waited. On the third day, his beard started itching him. At a small hatch filled with a young woman's head, he got the forms.
Having consulted forums (where people were different because celebrities were quite sure it was better to be different) and tried (but gave up) trying to contact the council officials, he finally managed to complete all the forms.
Six to eight weeks later, it came through the post. Laminated. Non transferrable. He took K down to the field, where he said
"Look, K, I'm really sorry, but I just don't think this is working... It's not you, it's me... the past few weeks? I've been busy... well, getting this license..."

When you're young, idealist and ignorant...
A young socialist, handing out "Stop the murder!" flyers on Nth Earl Street, wearing a 'Revolutionary' Stalin T-Shirt. (Click here to access the irony)

Racism Not Recessing, Unlike Economy
Two guys on a number 90 bus, jerking its way toward Heuston Station:
"You'd emigrate, would you?"
"Jaysis, a' course. I'd go anywhere. I'm not stayin in f?;[ing Dublin. Are yuh mad?! No f?;[ing way. Dis place is going down the tubes"
"Yeh. The f?;[ing tubes!"
"A kip! We're all f?;[ed anyway, so yuh might as well be goin' over to wherever to get sum wawk."
"Yeh. You know who I blame?"
"No, no, you're showin yer ignorance now. No. Dem foreigners frum Africa and Eastern Your-Op"
"And the Chinese"
"No, no, ignorance! Ignorance! Everyone know the Chinese are the best workers. The problem is all dem foreigners that came over and took up dem jobs. Actchully, maybe yer right about the Chinese too. See they all got the jobs...."
"Yuh, yuh. Took them jobs right out of the hands of the Irish... what did they come here for anyway?"
"Jaysis, sher I dunno. C'mere, here's my stop. See you next Thursday at the Social."

Dragon's Den on Dave is nearly over, meaning I better get to bed.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

...a moment...

...on the bus to my train these days, because the LUAS works just mess everything up. It's yet another block in a wall that threatens to one day fall on me. Feeling sorry for myself, I was glad to receive a call from my brother. For one thing, it's something of a minor tradition - he calls me maybe once a week as I traverse Dublin's quays on foot and public transport. The other thing is it's always good craic. No matter what's pissing us off, he or I will make the other one laugh.
It's a good feeling.
We were having our usual conversation: How's work, how's home, how's the kids... each waiting for the other to make the first joke and send us off onto some bizarre mental plain.
I was on the top level of a bus, looking around when I spotted someone sitting on the outside of the bridge at Usher's quay. Above her, two Guards seemed to be talking to her. There was a head between the balusters. Some messer or dosser or junkie, doing something stupid without realising - or caring - about the danger they were putting themselves in. Getting a dressing down from hard put-upon Guards, just trying to get through the day.
As we talk about a friend, the bus moves along; a closer, parralax view tells a different story.
It's a girl and she looks younger than me. She is wearing decent enough clothes. Her shoulders slumped, her hands on either side of her, on the very edge of the bridge. Just holding on, or getting ready to push off? The bus stops as I say
"Jesus Christ, someone's about to jump off a bridge on the quays!"
"What, really?"
"Yeah. It's this girl, there's two Guards there talking to her or something and there's... Oh Jesus, - the other person is another Guard. She's obviously talking to her."
For a moment - a full, complete, whole, lasting, long, moment - the bus is stopped, I am silent, my brother is silent and the Guards are paused. People must be getting off the bus, getting on, going about whatever they do. A life continuing around, or beyond the moment.
The bus moves - a Guard jumps the balustrade - I turn my head to see - we've gone too far - there's nothing of that scene to see.
"Jesus Christ" I say
"Jesus" my brother says
"Jesus" over and over. A lapsed prayer. I don't believe in God, but I believe in hope. A hope for the girl, who was maybe hopeless. Who knows? Could this happen in daylight, in a city?
I am suddenly concious that I am a life passing by, as someone is trapped in a moment. Whoever she is, I wish her well. All the bricks threatening to fall on me, they're made of cotton and clouds. The moment I'm in is a postscript to a previous - talking to my bro, getting on the bus- or a prequel to the next - talking to my bro, getting on the train.

Suddenly forced to think of a moment in and of itself. With no prequel (how can I know what happened before?) and no sequel (I don't know what happened next, but I hope for her something happened next - that it didn't end there). Just a moment. A Guard vaulting a balustrade, one arm on it, the other groping toward

What? I have no idea. The bus whisked me toward Heuston as I tried to describe the whole moment to my brother...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

O'besity kills 450 a Year in the North

How many does McBesity kill in the republic? I thought we were beyond all this!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Ignatius J. Reilly, Meet Thy Daughter

Sunshine and I were out and about for a stroll and some fresh air. I like strolling, and the fresh air helps sunshine sleep (having the time to write this is testament to that fact).
We met all sorts on our way, out and about on the plains of the Curragh.
She was pointing the way, toward sheep, bushes, heathers, whatever flora, fauna and foliage caught her eye. I, for my part was rehearsing my thoughts for a blog about the Lisbon referendum, and the absurdity of much of the debate and posturing that's going on (you'll find this post over at the Fat Man Thinks, when it's ready). Such it my role as the Ignatius J. Reilly of modern Ireland.
At some point, Sunshine takes issue with a point I am making. Ay-ay-ay-ay-ya! she says. I enjoy her energy, but she has much to learn about the art of great rhetoric and debate. On this, time will be in the telling. She may well be a politician yet, or perhaps found the greatest advertising agency this country has known. Of course, all first time parents (while they may not wish it) believe this; such is the manipulative power of the first child. As a parent, I have always found my sheer physical size, and the magnitude of the 10 month old's dependence mean that just about any debate can be quashed with a soother, bottle or the quick lift from a pram. But not today.
"Ay-ay-ay-ya! Bu-bu-bu-ay-ay. Wuh-wuh-bah!" I am completely unprepared for this argument. I thought I would not hear it for at least fifteen years (falling in the back door, drunk). As Tom Waits once sang: "These children are so hard to raise good"
So, this final rejoinder shut me up, and I followed the finger, which seems to have dictated the course of my life for the past ten months.
There were looks from people. An large, unshaven, floppy haired man just cannot push a pram containing a child anywhere without attracting looks. I've learned this in the past ten months. But much of it, I believe to be Sunshine's fault. Her finger was manic. An auditory account would run thus:
To the sheep! To the bush! To those other children! To the sheep! To the hill! To the hollow! To the sun, by Christ, and step on it; my mission is both imperative and too important to explain to an unshaven, floppy-haired, fatman such as yourself!
Ignatious J Reilly, meet thy daughter.