Monday, May 30, 2005

The awful truth about getting older

College days, those endless pints, those flirting kissable days I ate up in a muddle of bad hair, flared trousers, dancing like a chicken, and that I never woke up I thought was a tribute until.

They've all grown up and out and away. Its dull, to stand, in a kitchen where you smoked spliff and talked a night into morning, to see there, before your eyes, your beautiful friend, and cake and champagne. Speeches, not so funny now, where it is all conformity.

I miss you, my contrary friend, who has become, I suppose a woman or her mother or something I don't recognise. Now I have to mind my manners, don't know what the right thing is to say. Puzzled five minutes, and a glorious woman and her boss, about what champagne was the right one to buy.

Then, you and I and the others, drinking peach schnappes and orange, mixed in the bottle, singing our way down the road to the taxi, to dance a night away.

One of us believes, to this day, that she saw a ghost in your house at night, a girl brushing her hair. Thought it was you.

I can't even see a glimpse of you there anymore. You said you'd call. I wasn't sorry when you didn't. If you had, I would have smiled, said 'enjoy your life, you look like it is what you want. You look at him like he is who you want. Not that guy we both loved in college, with his charming smile and his big heart, long jacket and dyed black hair.'
And I understand. I can't see you standing there anymore, telling me breathlessly how good the sex is, not fifteen minutes after he has.

We're older now, and as you see me there, in my nice new clothes with my hair sleekly coiffed, maybe you can't see me either.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Come good rain

Rain gushed and clattered on the roof of the Samuel Beckett Theatre in TCD last night as we watched the soliliquay 'Come Good Rain' echoing the musical cadences of fake rain in George Serembas' tale of growing up, loving and leaving his homeland of Uganda in exile. If you get a chance, I would recommend a visit.

Later, my friend and I, who has been in Uganda, had a great chat about Africa while walking through empty Dublin streets in the streaming rain on our way to The Thing Moate. Oh, apologies, O'Donoghues (what an ageing crumudgeon I've become, to refer begrudgingly to the new title of a pub), being ever so posh and grown up, drinking Sauvignon Blanc by the 1/4 bottle and lowering the tone by stuffing our faces with cheese and onion crisps.

Yapping and considering, about life - the now, the past and avoiding talk of the future, until finally we both agreed that now is what we always looked forward to, but beyond now, into the abyss of being nearly thirty and so on, was not on the cards.

And then we forgot the maudling, and stood outside in the rain, discussing the state of the world, where we want to travel to, the people we want to become, the craic we've had and will do, taking the mick out of a drunk man, telling him we work in the bank.

We walked out of our way, twice, because we didn't want to go home, until eventually she needed to pee, so I caught a taxi, with a driver who was an avid reader, and I said I didn't really enjoy DPC Pierre's book Vernon God Little, but I'd recommend Philip Roth's 'The Human Stain', and he said he'd look out for it.

Then I turned the key in my door, and sat in the kitchen, having a smoke and reading a little of Nick Hornby's latest, which I'm finding very funny, despite the bad reviews, before going to sleep.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Slí Eile

Slí Eile. Another way.

Vincent Browne was down in Cork tonight, talking to residents and managers of a new project for people who have suffered mental illness, have served their time in mental institutions and are now looking for some hope - a home, to live as members of the community, and gradually I suppose, at best, grasp some semblance of real life.

Brave people, who were fighting the black dog, who want to experience the small and humble reality that so many of us take for granted, dignity.

Residents, misinformed, miscommunicated with are unhappy and are picketing it daily. From the reports, it sounds like mass intimidation is abounding on this estate in Charleville.

So how would you feel if someone with a mental illness moved next door? Scared? Nervous? Apprehensive?

But they probably are living next door, or possibly in your own home, or possibly it is you, or me.

Who knows when any of us could suffer from mental illness? It could just happen, that one day the world doesn't make sense anymore. Or perhaps an unfortunate incident might befell us or our loved ones, that causes the axis to shift on what we perceive as normality.

Compassion, sharing, hope. Especially on a night, when the sun shone a glorious red, and many many families grieved or began to consider the pain of losing their loved ones and friends as a result of the horrific accident in Meath late this afternoon.

Smile a little more. Trust in the kindness of others. Share your thoughts and feelings. Try not to let fear take hold over your better judgement. Life will never hold coherent meaning, you can't control the world let alone your neighbours. There is another way.

Codladh sámh, beir bua Muintir Slí Eile - dóchas agus grá duibh, táim ag súil go tíocfaidh trócaire do d'chomharsan. xx

Thank murgitroid for w/ends. Fridays off, swimming alone in a pool, no need to rush. Understanding why Anakin became who he was at the end, and feeling sorry for him. And really digging Ben, when I rush home to watch IV again.

Sitting at the bar in the Stag's Head surrounded by drinkers and even a baby in a sling. Eating in Cornucopia, drinking organic wine and enjoying it. Doing the radio show on Sat, and having a passable interview. Reading while my hair is being coiffed by one of the nicest hairdressers I've met.

Having a laugh with the old pair, wonders will never cease, before returning to watch Andy Garcia passing judgement on the TV screen, glass of wine to hand. Sleeping in late and going for a drive. Swimming again enjoyable, despite the hoards of crowds.

A man sitting on my leg in the sauna, but I'm still chilled out enough to let it go. Cooking spag bol, drinking a pinotage while the rain splishes down outside.

Aw, the simple joy of weekends, only five day more until the next.

Friday, May 20, 2005

The parties were seldom amazing, but the food was very good. She rarely knew anyone well, just liked the opportunity to cook.
There was so much raw everywhere, and in college everyone sat around stripping bare. Now all around her daily life, people cloaked in the finery of self invented realities, while after work on her TV box, peroxide blondes paraded their nakedness, synthetic shades of tan.
She liked to cook colourful foods and dousing with olive oil. Fragrances of feta and mint, ripe mango and baking meat. Massaging steak with rosemary and lemon peel, she felt some inner peace. It would never be a career for her, which made it extra sweet.
Life in Dublin echoed emptiness, yet on the street everyone was having fun, parading with laughter and drunkiness. Young men singing the fields of Athenry.
In her gym she swam and watched TV, but never spoke to anyone. Sometimes considered motherhood, it was vague and not quite plausible.
And the office was a domain for her, still she was frustrated about not achieving anything and had to remind herself she was still young.
Her meditation was the recipies in the Guardian and the monthly Observer food magazine.
They never stocked Celeriac in Tescos or Superquinn, and she seldom made the Farmers market, time passed too quickly. But then it didn't seem to pass at all.
She thought back on those college days, not quite believing that was her, or that she was here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Julian was a painter, his mother had loved the famous five. His father said, 'don't get angry son, have a laugh instead'. He said, 'life can be a bastard, so why not eat a jaffa cake?' then he died when he was fourty seven.
Twelve days before Julian's seventh birthday, and Julian had been very sad, but his mum made sure they blew out candles, even if they cried.
His dad wrote him a letter, said 'Julian I wish I'd got to be here, to wish you happy birthday, but that's the way life goes, so make sure and enjoy what you've got of it - I don't care what you do, but make sure and follow your dreams, because I'm always happy when I'm asleep, and happiness can be fleeting'.
So when Julian met Caitríona, whose father liked Irish names, he said, 'let's make it simple - I like you and like being around you, lets enjoy what we have'.
She had her doubts, but he meant it, and they enjoyed each others company with the rest of the time they had.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Hill 16 La La La!

Yes we did it, finally, trounced someone. Ok so it was a lousy match. And fair enough, Longford bless their socks aren't up to much, but we won! So it merited a celebration or three.

In Cusacks of the North Strand, we sat amid the anchors, ropes, compasses and miniature ships, listening to a merry sing song and talking about the 100 best war films which was on Channel 4 apparently.

I can't stand war films since the invasion of Iraq. We bought Apocolypse Now and I had to be restrained from flinging a cushion at the TV, even though to be honest, it doesn't in the least glorify war.

Accuse me of being a daisy-chain hippy, but really, is it necessary to blow the crap out of innocent people?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Sun smeared Dublin and the jackets came off. Forget your latté and cappa-chim chims, I was on the fresh apple juice (Juicy Bagel in the irish life mall - lousy coffee, good juice).

Back to work, but wearing new shoes. A bitter sweet symphony. Alanis Morrissette lilted out 'you're...my...best friend, best friend with benefits' through the brown beige 1970s shopping arcade. I sipped from my straw and smiled at the man in the bag shop. I was transported back to 1996, sitting in the back seat of a 1990 Micra, half drunk driving around Longford with a gang of friends, all of whom I've lost touch with, smiling at my then boyfriend. Aw, the memories.

A few hours of work and I was in O'Briens, grateful for the polish girl who always knows my coffee order. She was in great form, smiling, 'only one hour to closing', put me in a flash mood, treating the temp and the boss to coffee. Didn't realise it was half five, time to go home for most sane people, who thanked me profusely and swore blind they would drink it on the train home, whilst wondering if I had finally lost it.

Aw well, the sun still shone when I was on the 19. And when I got off the stinking bus and missed meeting my friend and had to walk a quarter of a mile back to remeet her, it still hovered brightly. And later still, when I ambled with Faraday around the estates, listening to the sweet tweet of the birds and the occasional joy-rider, there was no nip in the air. Five minutes ago, as I opened my front door to be assailed by the bright lights of two fire-engines and a fire-car that were apparently lost in the mists of Finglas, no conflagration in sight, there was still that delicious scent of summer.

Until tomorrow, when the rain will gutter down streams and we will dash for cover, I will smile my way to sleep, low-flying planes and yelling teenage drinkers won't touch me. For I am safe in the knowledge that someday soon, the scent of burning sausages will twin with purring lawn-mowers and I will have to squint to see, and carry a bag full of pullovers and rain-jackets, on my way to Croker to watch the Dubs agonisingly betray my undying fate in them.

My voice will crack, the beer will be flat, and I will croak out, 'Come on ye boys in blue, come on ye boys in blue, come on ye boys, come on ye boys in blue'. The ref will be a twat, the country will be out as always to get the city, and my emotions will veer between ecstatic joy and utter devestation. I will shell out on blue plaited wool, and learn all of their names off again. Senan will be the man, they should take their points and the goals will come, and I will struggle to get to the bar in Kennedy's or Fagan's or wherever. Aw yes, in the words of Grandaddy, 'summer's here kids'.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

yesterday, as i drove home from lucan, where i had spent the afternoon hanging out with two mates, cake, lord of the rings on ps2, and their young boy-sons, i wondered if i was still drunk from sunday.

around the strawberry beds i kept doing daft things - taking turns too wide etc.,. i ended up driving around some part of clonsilla (i'm still unsure where). sunday was fun - went to keoghs and ron blacks. which was surprisingly good (ron bs, obviously keoghs was good). met up with a mate and her friend, who i didn't know.

there's this conflict though at the moment, between two types of friends i seem to have. there are the settler friends and the what are you talking about we're still young friends. and sadly i seem to sit uncomfortably, a cheek so to speak on each stool.

the settlers think i'm a we're still young, which is probably why i think i turned up like some deranged Patsy from AbFab to this cake n' kids soirée in the 'burbs (i doubt i did in hindsight), and why i think i appear like a chartered accountant in other company. In fact, i obviously walk around navel gazing about what way people perceive me, when everyone is just - oh look, there's bad hairdo again.

Bettings noone actually has noticed this two stool phenomena yet (the sunday night crowd plan to have lots of babies, some time, vaguely in the next decade possibly - the settlers have been known to display ferocious drinking talent (albeit with prerequisite of being tucked up in bed by midnight). Sometimes i curse the twelve weeks of qualitative research methods i studied years ago - I'm all the time trying to spot sub-cultures and phenomena in my ever dwindling group of mates.

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