My thoughts are disorganized, and so is this post. You can look for coherence and deeper meaning in what I wrote, but chances are you’re just like any Literature student: reading into unimportant details that the author did not mean to be significant.
Yes, I just undermined my entire undergraduate education. Moving on.
That Time I Went to Ireland
After surprising my family with a spontaneous trip home for the holidays, I arrived back in England with one week left of my winter vacation. And because Carpe Diem and YOLO and all of that, I caught a flight to Ireland for a week overflowing with Guinness, sponsored by Bus Eireann, and featuring Irish music at its finest.
Dublin is exciting. If you happen to be in town on a Sunday or Monday there is a free comedy club: The Comedy Crunch. They serve free ice cream (though really it’s a wedge of something that resembles ice cream on a purely atomic level), and the emcee is a bit of a riot. There’s plenty to do in the capital city, but you’ll most likely ache for the quintessential image of an Irish countryside with sheep and a handsome wandering Irishman.
For the second time, I stayed at a hostel. This time, however, I was not the one harboring a murderous rage towards a snoring she-devil. This time, I’m fairly certain I was sharing a room with a future murderer.
Let me explain myself. We were sharing a room with seven other men and women. That was perfectly fine for approximately seven hours. The next morning, we’re dressing relatively early to tour the city. As I’m putting on my shoes, I look up and see Jack the Ripper incarnate sitting up in his bed just staring at us. We held eye contact for 4 seconds. Even then, when he’d been found out, he just went on sitting there.
Okay, I realize that’s not enough evidence to convict, but bear with me. That night, we went on a bar crawl with our hostel, but I left early to finish an essay. So, as I’m sitting in the hallway of our hostel, writing what I think is the next great American novel, I can sense him the way your once-broken bones can sense a storm coming. And like every horror movie ever, I slowly turn my head and there he is at the top of the stairs. Just staring.
Anticlimactically, he belligerently stumbled down the stairs after a few seconds of contemplation (a few seconds I interpreted as him plotting my murder), and collapsed onto his bed in a drunken heap.
Still, though. Close call.
About Those Sheep and Handsome Irishmen
The sheep were sighted within twenty minutes of leaving Dublin. The handsome wandering Irishman, however, was a bit harder to come by.
But because life has a sense of humour –
I JUST SPELLED HUMOR WITH A ‘U.’
(Interminable pause to allow for crisis of conscience.)
As I was saying, life has a sense of humor. So after settling into our hostel that had a particularly pungent smell that can be credited for the concierge’s hazy look, slurred speech, and absurdly high level of chill, we headed to a local pub.
I’ll level with you. I watched P.S. I Love You the night before because:
1. I was going to stay awake as long as humanly possible to avoid being murdered by Jack the Ripper.
2. I was in Ireland, so obviously I watched that movie.
I had some high expectations walking into this pub. Alas, we did not meet Gerard Butler (although in Dublin we did have a drink at Whelan’s – the pub at which a part of the movie was filmed). No, instead we had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of gypsies.
Specifically, three gypsy men. One of whom was wearing a shirt that read: Free Hugs. And on the back: Free Hugs for Sluts. I’d be interested to know just how successful he thought that outfit choice would be.
I couldn’t understand the majority of what they said, and by majority I mean that in two hours of conversation I understood one dirty joke, their brother lives in Dublin, and they work laying pavement. So I did what anyone does when talking with a mumbler or at a loud concert: I smiled and nodded. But that put me in a sticky situation. Their enthusiasm grew as the night wore on and I kept politely laughing and nodding. I was half convinced that I inadvertently agreed to run away with them. We left before I became a gypsy bride.
Dingle was beautiful. Quit your job and work the land for 40 years sort of beautiful.
When I arrived home, I was lucky enough to have two friends from back home waiting in my room. Both Audrey and Alli are studying abroad for the foreseeable future, and in our long overdue reunion that stretched into a week we visited the cold, deserted English beach, hunkered down with tea, coffee cake, and a movie when the English weather threw a fit, and tried to work through our study abroad/imminent graduation anxiety the way you would navigate a difficult calculus problem. I’ve never been that gifted at math, so it comes as no surprise that an answer wasn’t easily forthcoming.
Alli has since left for the Netherlands, but not before promising to see us again before we head back to the good old US of A.
My Nightlife is Bananas
No, but really. My nightlife actually involves bananas. A few nights ago, a French-American-Cyprian-British group of us went to an on-campus bar. Well, it felt like a club to me, but I’m sure that is inaccurate. The mere sight of hard alcohol makes any environment – my parent’s living room, my kitchen – seem like a nightclub. My life has a low tolerance for shenanigans.
I was not drinking because I had an important meeting the next morning. I played flip-cup with water. Which is a terrific way to stay hydrated. I almost drank a full 8 ounces of water that evening.
We walked to this bar. And because we just couldn’t have a lull in our evening, our French friend Zephyr brought a portable stereo with him. (This piece of technology must have a better name, but I don’t know what it is.) One of us was craving chocolate, so we made a pit stop at the campus convenience store. The rest of the group took this as an opportunity to buy more alcohol, but I needed bananas for my oatmeal the next morning. So I bought bananas. Why this caused such a commotion is beyond me.
I needed bananas.
There were bananas.
I bought said bananas.
After about half of an hour of dancing, I was famished. Conveniently, I had six bananas in my bag.
Life lesson: snacks are never a bad idea. The bouncer may laugh at you, your friends may gawk, but I’m telling you that if after 45 minutes of dancing you whip out six bananas on an overcrowded dance floor, you will be a hero. You will not have bananas for your oatmeal in the morning, but you will be a hero. Like Jesus with his fishes and loaves. Only not because I had six bananas and they only fed six people.
Post script: in reality, you should not bring bananas onto a dance floor because you will inevitably face the issue of disposal. People will not typically look for a trashcan while raging, and will instead throw the banana peels into the air. Gravity being what it is nowadays, the banana peels will then land on the floor. And you will find yourself searching for six banana peels in a sea of sweaty bodies in what could be a prototype for a failed 90’s computer game.
… … … … …
There really isn’t any rhyme or reason to the structuring of this post. I would spin it so that there was some sort of loose connection between getting my daily fix of potassium and traveling around Ireland, but I’m not that talented a thinker. I suppose that we need adventure the same way we need potassium, or zinc, or whatever else we need to survive. Without adventure – whatever form it might take – we’re restless. We’re unable to be here, wherever here may be.
But adventure is harder to take than a multivitamin. It’s expensive and it’s exhausting. But more than that, being abroad, the young twenty-something is particularly vulnerable to a horror known as the quarter-life crisis. The crisis doesn’t discriminate, and comes in many forms, but will invariably come out of nowhere, and take hold of your mind like a parasite. And all of a sudden, you can do nothing but ask questions like: Who am I? Where am I going? Does life have purpose?
Asking these questions is like looking into the Eye of Sauron. You’re left in a cold sweat, terrified, and desperate to forget what you’ve seen. So you find the nearest source of alcohol or you journal, or both. Lately, though, I’ve been watching Bill Murray movies.
If there ever was a modern mythical creature that could fight the real-life Mordor known as twentydom, it is Bill Murray.
So, I suppose we should eat potassium to keep our bodies strong. We should find adventure to keep our spirits strong. And we should watch Bill Murray to deal with the inevitable crises that come our way. And if none of that works, we should drink.