It“™s been almost a month since my trip to Dublin; a last, feckless tour-de-force before my wife and I become parents. The goal was essentially to drink myself blind, and with the assistance of some friends/enablers I was able to come fairly close. It“™s hard to describe a rational thread that went through the weekend. I can recall strangely named statues, some chatty taxi drivers, rows of Edwardian townhouses, and a few meals that I would rather forget. There was nothing I ate in Dublin that I wouldn“™t gladly toss in the gutter for a cold currywurst.
I can remember some disjointed vignettes, scattered like litter. The eerily unstaffed Writers“™ Museum. The genuinely fanatical outpouring for a Morrissey cover band. The petite, wild-eyed film-maker from India, and her boyfriend, the French diplomat. The gallery of the National Museum where the history of modern Ireland is writ in guns. The Sinn Fein gift shop, an homage to men in ski-masks. Getting accosted by the Guarda, and trying to pick fights with stubbornly witty and melodic strangers. Maggie arriving as her grandmother passed away and Bill passing by his anonymous hook-up as we left the country. The got-what-we-paid-for hostel, and the booze, always the booze.
It takes a while to slow down again when it“™s over. The flow of the babble and banter stays etched in your brain, inescapable even in sleep. It took a full week of sobriety and the quietude of Westchester to clear my head, and I fear that I“™d slip back into that staggered rhythm now with a single drink.
The Guinness in Dublin is, in fact, better: smoother, less bitter, and indelible. This is what I remember best. Not the hard-drinking nights spent manically pounding whiskey after whiskey in dread of last call, but the long afternoons in dark, roomy bars with slowly poured pints, where the regulars sometimes glare at strangers. Those unhurried hours between waking and evening, inevitably rainy and grey, spent in contemplation, loud or quiet, of matters either profound or trivial.
In such a bar, in such weather, with such a drink, I felt the last of the trivial drop away, leaving only something profound. Wish you were here.
Had I the heaven“™s embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light;
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light;
I would spread the cloths under your feet;
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet,
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
— He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven, W.B. Yeats
A downed man may not be able
To run up and tag you „it,“
But he can still press his trigger
And kill you
From Tactical Pistol Marksmanship, by Gabe Suarez (formatting added)
Meanwhile, back home on TV…