06/15 Dublin, Ireland

15 Jun 1985, Posted by Scott An Chora in Travelogue, No Comments.

06/15 Dublin, Ireland


The clouds were telling no lies, this time they opened up and delivered rain.  Bicycles were now out of the question, so we planned on thumbing our way south.  We were hardly out of town when Jim started whining again.  He’s like one of those thimble banging monkeys.  Once his key gets turned there’s no way to turn him off, until his springs loosen.  This time he was upset that I was calling the shots and determining what was next on our agenda.  Now that was a shot from left field and from the guy who didn’t want to make any decisions, excluding sleeping in soccer fields.  I had to explain to Jim that nobody was excluding him from determining what we do next.  Suggesting something might be a good place to start.  Then Jim changed his complaint topic from our agenda to we were heading in the wrong direction, and he knew this without a map.  So I took a subservient position and handed him the map.  “You’re probably right, I’ll follow you then” I stated.  We stood in the rain for about five minutes while Jim tried to interpret the map, and he kept getting upset because the map was getting wet.  “Maybe if we move out of the rain?”  After about thirty minutes of walking in circles, Jim started asking everyone in sight to help get us back on track.  Knocking on somebody’s door was outside my comfort zone.  After a few conflicting directions from the locals, Jim’s spring broke and he lost it.  He was convinced there was a conspiracy and they were all misleading him on purpose.  I’m not a babysitter and did not sign up for this.  Every time he stubs his toe he feels he has to blame somebody besides himself.  Either the sidewalk or somehow I caused the sidewalk to do it.

Then Jim elevated our so called discussion to the point where I could no longer ignore it.  He sat down on the curb in front of an old lady he thought was lying to him and declared that he was not walking any further.  Before I could question what that all meant he crossed that imaginary line.  He reached into his bag and began discarding all the items he had confiscated from me in Victoria station.  Items that he agreed would be his responsibility to send home when he no longer needed them.  He made it clear that the curb was now their home.  He packed a lot of stuff but it was apparent that he left his meds at home.  After a string of “Fuck-Yous” the line was clearly drawn, so I exited stage left.  “Have fun.  See ya”, as I turned and began walking back towards Dublin.  I had no idea if Jim followed me.  Not once did I look back.  At that point I couldn’t give a shit.  After a few beers I started reminding myself that I talked him in to coming on this trip and perhaps I did have some responsibility in baby-sitting him.  On the other hand, perhaps he had gotten himself lost again.  I decided to leave a message with his mother back home in case he called home for emotional supports or his Meds.

Will you forget me, when times turn, so tender? licking the wounds, saw so deep
when dreams of our youth, fade out of splendor, will we, lose the sky, when the sun goes to sleep

As if I were a small child holding on to the hand of a chaperon, willing to follow in any direction given, I willingly followed my guitar.  That guitar had an uncanny ability of making its own friends and I was happy to be acquainted.  I could be thirsty in an isolated portion of a train platform hoping time would pass quicker so that I could get a cup of coffee, and then some old man would wander up and ask if he could play the guitar.  Before I can say “Sure” he’d pull out a bottle of wine from his bag.  After a couple of tunes echoing through the station, a small gathering would assemble.  Almost every time somebody in this group would lead us toward a new destination or just a place to sleep the night.  If strapped over my shoulder it would attract the eyes and smiles of almost every person crossing my path.  Children were attracted to it as if she was a small puppy.  I was relaxing in a small park across from the hostile, waiting for its doors to open.  A pair of neighborhood boys about five or six, who had gotten bored chasing the neighborhood dogs and punishing trees in the park with sticks, had focused their attention on my guitar.  They would try to sneak up and pluck the strings and then challenge me to catch them, seeing if I would relinquish my defensive position.  Once their game began to irritate me, I picked up the volume.  With their tails between their legs, they ran towards home.

Then the two of the cutest young ladies came flirting.  Sisters, dressed in matching pink dresses, as if they just left Sunday mass.  I think the older of the two might have been about seven and her little sister about four or five.  At that age most children are open to the world outside.  It’s refreshing not to encounter any defenses or preconceived ideas.  I answered their questions honestly and threw a few their way.  I asked them what they wanted to do in life when they got as old as me.  In harmony and without hesitation both said that they wanted to grow up to be Boxers.  I took a picture of the sisters demonstrating their best boxing stance.

As I expected Jim did call home, retrieved my message and eventually found his way to the hostel where I was staying.  No apology, just looking for someone to blame for his wasted day.  I ignored him the entire time but with nightfall, he ended up shadowing me into town.  We ended up roaming from one bar to another continuing to ignore one another while watching the locals socialize.  It was a long tiring night and I just wanted to get to bed.

We then crossed paths with a few intoxicated leprechauns who had traveled south from Northern Ireland.  No steady hammer and their pouches were exposed, so they only offered illusions of silver and gold.  I waited and watched to determine how we were going to dance out of this situation.  “They will pound me” one bloke whispered as his eyes darted down both end of the ally.  It was a bad position to be in.  Being afraid of the dog usually gets one bit.  But if you’re hiding sheep’s wool, it’s not a good idea to let the wolves know.  I was thinking “Why are you here?  Why are you drunk?  Why are you exposing yourselves and including me in your dilemma?

It’s wise to always give the impression that you know where you’re going.  Whenever it seems a confrontation is upon me, I take the first step towards the opposition, so as to place their next step on my terms.  But I wasn’t going to attempt walking out of town again and a bicycle wasn’t ideal either.  So to stay on my terms, I decided to rent a car and pick up hitchhikers.  This sounded like a good idea as I heard myself repeat the words “Pick up hitchhikers”.  Hitchhikers usually know where to go and have a designation of their own.  For people like us wandering about, it’s a good thing to have this kind of dialog with locals.

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    Usually behind a cup of coffee waiting for the world around me to wake up I entered today’s thoughts about yesterday’s activities into my travel journal. I’m not a writer, so I’ll apologize in advance if I jump around or seem confused. These are just the thoughts of a young man who left his possessions behind and who believes that getting lost is how one finds oneself.

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