Yesterday, June 16th, was Bloomsday - the day during which all the of events of James Joyce's greatest work Ulysses took place (June 16, 1904). I attempted to read Ulysses when I was a freshman in college but my head exploded within the first chapter. Now that I'm so much older and wiser, maybe I can get to chapter 2. I actually am going to try and read it this summer.
Dublin was alive and celebrating yesterday with various guided tours, jazz bands playing throughout town, but most importantly; adorable old people sporting their bowler caps and sharp suits, strolling around town or grabbing a pint together. I was in town all day and it was fun watching the Joycians reveling in the atmosphere and dancing about.
I met up with some people for the first time yesterday, and it was a really rewarding experience. We had initially only met up for a drink and a chat which snowballed into hours of discussion and then live music at Purty Kitchen. I was essentially drinking all afternoon and it ended up catching up with me as I hustled to make the last bus home. I was in a great mood, and loved the fact that even though I had taken a detour to my stop by grabbing one more pint at Gogarty's with some new people I met, I was still going to make the bus home. Humming to myself and slipping swiftly and skillfully through Dublin's dark streets to the bus stop I couldn't help but relish the fact that I knew these streets like the back of my hand. Basking in my own personal glory, I then saw the dominating building that was the GPO, right in front of me. What the fuck? It was entirely disorienting, and I turned around to realize that yes, the GPO did not move, I actually walked in the wrong direction for a solid 5 minutes. I crossed O'Connell Bridge without even REALIZING I should be going in the complete opposite direction to catch my bus near the main entrance of Trinity. Blame it on the alcohol? Yes, T-pain. However, blame it moreso on how distracted and gleeful I was from a great afternoon/night of drinking, live music, pleasant weather, and getting to know new people. In my giddy stupor, I considered my options as I did an about-face and headed toward home: I had missed the last bus, and probably would have regardless of if I had went to the right stop or not. The LUAS was still running, but doesn't have a track that leads too near to my school. The Nightlink begins running an hour or so after the normal hours of Dub bus, I could kill time in town, drink some more and then go home. I could meet up with the people I just left and keep partying with them.
I think that most of you know me well enough to assume with a high degree of certainty that whatever I decided to do probably involved going back and drinking more. That's what I would have picked for me to have done too.
I guess it's a testament to what a unique mood I was in that I instead opted to WALK home, or attempt to at least. Walking from city centre to UCD which is 6.6 kilometers away (OVER 4 MILES AWAY) during the middle of the night, by myself, is something I wouldn't even expect myself to do....out of pure laziness. Plus, I'm drunk, could I even find my way back? My mind was up for anything, for whatever reason. I had to try. If I got bored of the idea I could pop in a taxi, even though I hate paying their rates and talking to the cab drivers has even started to lose its novelty because the conversation about 85% of the time covers the following 2 topics only: (A) New Jersey OR (B) Politics.
The topic of conversation when I am in a cab by myself can stem from the following topics:
(A)Where are you from? and (B) What are you doing here?
It is from my experience here that Taxis ALWAYS ask both of these questions. People are really friendly here and want to hear your story. From whichever answer they find more interesting dictates the entire course of conversation for the duration of the cab ride.
(A) I'm from the states, New Jersey, (B) I'm studying at UCD and I'm also here for the summer.
Predictable responses from taxi drivers that take more interest in:
(A) I'm from New Jersey.
A1 New Joisey!! Hahahaah! Isn't that near New York? I've been to New York.
A2 Wait, do you live near Tony?? Hahaah!!
A3 Why would you leave America? It's shite over here
A4 Want to hear my impression of Tony Soprano? ...Back off Motherfecka!
A5 Honestly what are you doing here? The weather is shite....just shite.
Predictable responses from cab drivers whom take more interest in:
(B) I'm a student at UCD.
B1 What are you studying?
B2 How excited is everyone about Obama? You're excited to have that bastard out of office - but are people too excited about Obama? Thinkin he's godlike?
B3 How about Hillary? (which quickly turns to...)
B4 Bill Clinton is amazing.
B5 Are you taking any Irish history?
B6 Bill Clinton is amazing.
Personally, I prefer (A), I never get sick of hearing the Irish butcher NY/NJ accents.
When not talking NJ or Politics, Taxi drivers have also given me some entertaining, even uncanny advice about dating Irish men that has served me thus far.
"Please don't stop the rain."
ANYWAY! End of the story from last night is that I actually did walk all the way home to UCD. It was longer than 4 miles because I drunkenly walked the route of the bus I always take into town from UCD - THE 10....holla. This required a bit of meandering when I probably could have taken some short cuts. Even when it started to rain, I just opened my purse and marveled at my preparedness that I always have an umbrella with me. (Summer essentials whenever going out in Dublin: umbrella, sunglasses, raincoat, scarf...Took me a few weeks to realize I needed to be ready for any sort of weather in the summer, but now I rock it, I must say). I was literally just walking on air...took me about an hour and 20 minutes to walk home but it was glorious, I will say. I might even do it again, although I think me actually wanting to do it last night was just...I don't know, a weird inclination I had. I wanted to see if I could find my way home.
I feel like myself again.
My first few weeks here since moving out from the nunnery were really challenging for a lot of different reasons that I'm not comfortable going into.
But I'm better now. Much better.