I was in Ireland a couple of weeks ago to visit Paul. This further substantiates my claim that I spent the first half of July travelling so much I didn’t know my own name. I was such a jetset yuppie asshole that everyone from British Airways was creepily friendly to me, welcoming me back in an eerily warm way each time I boarded a plane. I wasn’t sure whether they felt sorry for me, or were grateful for my business. Maybe a little of both.
There was a some press, a while back, about how BA had been experimenting with all kinds of big-brothery ways to ID frequent fliers in order to best welcome them. In reality, nothing needed to be so technical. A passenger is checked approximately 95,000,000 times between check-in and boarding. There are ample, legitimate opportunities to capture name, passport number, frequent flier number. That data could easily be transmitted back to the host at the plane. Nobody needed to be capturing me on video to better identify my needs.
And my needs were simple — mostly having to do with having my water bottle refilled hourly.
The point is, I was in Ireland. And after a severely delayed flight out of New York, and a nearly-missed flight out of London, I arrived on the Emerald Isle. Which, frankly, did not look that “emerald” after the heat wave they’d been having. But, as I pointed out, it is always sunny in the British Isles for me, so the weather was perfectly appropriate.
Paul had put together a weekend jam-packed with activities, and I was game to see Dublin and environs. We drove from the airport to Paul’s house to set down my bags and to grab a late lunch. Paul lives in an historic building, in the midst of government buildings and museums. It was a little peculiar, but interesting. I was quickly learning that the Irish style of architecture and historical preservation is: haphazard. As he tried to tell me what he knew of the building’s history, I kept interrupting, suggesting that the cannons on the property were leftover from when the Irish navy fought the Nazis.
He was less than amused.
We then set out for the Guinness Storehouse. Which, frankly, was a tourist shitshow, but had a lovely view. Also, I’ve developed a taste for beer lately, since my trainer told me it’s good for runners. No one quite knows why, but it seems to be working out for me.
We stood at the top of the building, taking in the view of Dublin, since it is widely known that I love cities; I love the history of them. And where it isn’t widely known, it is readily apparent from my writing. So I asked: What’s that? pointing to various parts of Dublin.
Paul didn’t know.
What do you mean you “don’t know”?! I said, in mock outrage, You’ve lived here your ENTIRE LIFE.
This was the beginning of a weekend of me demanding Paul tell me what something was, and Paul not having an earthly clue. This was also the beginning of me realising that I either have a great deal of intellectual curiosity, or the tenacity of a toddler.
It was fun; funny. I teased him, and then we dashed out of the Guinness crowd and took a long walk around the city, sitting on the grass in the park to watch the people go by.
The next day, I slept in, partly because of the jetlag, and partly because, while I’ve still got fairly good stamina, and I’ve always been good at pulling through when I need to, since the lung thing happened in January, I just don’t have the energy I used to have. What energy I do have has gotten sucked up by an intense year at work, and been gobbled down by training. But by mid-morning, my phone was buzzing on the nightstand with my mother texting me from Switzerland, and there was yelling coming from upstairs with Paul screaming at the rugby match.
In short order, I admitted that I was no match for the Lions. So I got out of bed. The Lions won.
In the afternoon, we drove out of Dublin to Glendalough, and spent some time staring at the Irish “mountains” (Those are supposed to be mountains? I had to ask several times). And we did a bit of hiking to see the waterfall.
On Sunday, we drove back into Dublin, and along the coastline, where we had lunch in a cliffside town. I ordered the tomato soup, and so did Paul, pronouncing it tomAYto like an American, and the waitress didn’t understand, until she finally did, and explained, Oh, we pronounce it toMAHto. He found this uproariously funny.
We then drove back into Dublin proper and spent the evening watching sports on TV.
It was a lovely trip, even if I still haven’t got a clue what anything in Dublin is.