June 30, 2001

Friday I asked Declan to share a bottle of whiskey with me as a thank-you for smuggling me into school with him to check my email in his secret high-tech lab.

Plus, it just seemed a very Irish thing to do.

I chose Paddy Whiskey, because even though Declan said it’s a bit rough and Jameson’s really is the best choice, I saw them drink it in Waking Ned Devine and it’s not available in the US.  Declan said it’s a very 1970’s country drink.  Interestingly on the label they say the name “Paddy” came from one of their most famous salesmen of the golden liquid.  My question is – what did they call it before then?

Declan jokingly said if we finished the bottle in two hours then we would still have time to get a second one before the off-license closed.  A small rush of usually dormant testosterone flooded my body and I said, “Sure, why not?”

First bottle came and went.  It’s sort of nasty when you start and then you get to the wonderful place during a night of alcoholic mayhem where you might as well be drinking water because it’s so smooth and tasteless.  You could be drinking kerosene or mare’s piss – if there’s alcohol in it you’ll get to that point.  And that’s when you need to stop or you’ll get in trouble.  We did not stop.

Declan told me of a brand of harsh, nasty cigarettes that complete the Paddy image of a rough Irish country night of boozing, so of course I had to run to Spar and get a 10 pack and a chicken stuffing sandwich as Declan ran to the off-license for bottle number two.  Neither the cigarettes nor my sandwich had much flavor either.  Another bad sign and unheeded warning.

There was some hesitation to open the second bottle.  It sat on the table untouched for several minutes until its awful Pandora’s screw cap was cracked open.  Unconsciously we much have known what we were in for.  Halfway through the second bottle we went outside for fresh air where we smoked the rest of the cigarettes – I got into quite a rhythm with them, starting off a new one with the embers of the last – and Declan punched bins.

When we wandered back in Declan gave me a course in German geography with his map book and we sort of grimly and quietly then went about the task of finishing that bottle, which would essentially make it a bottle each in under four hours of 40% alcohol.  I started to taste the whiskey again.  Very bad sign.  I was already on bathroom trip 39, as I pee like nobody’s business when I drink as all good and healthy fluids are immediately rejected, replacing my spit and my sweat and my blood with alcohol.  Filling the laces of my muscles and capillaries of my brain with pure poison.  When you start to taste it again is your body’s last kind reminder before it takes matters in its own hands (ha, ha) and it was my last wall-banging trip down to the bathroom that I began to vomit.

Now, to be honest I don’t remember vomiting.  I remember feeling terrible and wanting to vomit.  I remember laying my head on the toilet seat and gagging and spitting and pushing my fingers down my throat and scrambling my uvula, and praying and hoping and desperately trying everything I could to vomit.  But I don’t remember actually doing it.  Then somehow I woke up in my bed, fully clothed with my shoes off.  I woke up and threw an entire bottle of water down my throat, which did nothing to alleviate the tightness and dryness of my poor parched sandpapered throat.  I went to the bathroom and there was on the rug three separate piles of pasta and chicken and stuffing.  I was in that stimulus/response of hungoverhood, that limbo of ID before you truly wake up where there is nothing but absolutely basic, troglodyte brain functions.  You’re like a lab rat with an electrode.  Stimulus.  Response.  So I saw my three neat heaps of largely undigested food, scooped it up in my hands, and flushed it down the toilet.  Then with my hands and toilet paper cleaned the disgusting floor and carpet.  I took the carpet outside and poured some boiling water over it and bought some Febreeze and did my best.

Frankly, I don’t think that bathroom had ever been cleaned, so my vomit cloud had a silver lining.

June 29, 2001

Had a hopeful interview with a computer education company – won’t get it, but nevertheless restored some of my faith in myself.  Called all the rest of the numbers on the theatre sheet and was soundly denied.  The phrase “send in a CV” to me sounds like the persistent gritting of crumbling teeth.  I hate it almost as much as, “Well, it’s not worth my time to teach you only to have you leave in four months.”  I couldn’t possibly hate anything more than that.  How stupid could you possibly think I am?  Or perhaps more appropriate is, “How stupid are you that it took YOU four months to learn ANYTHING?!”  Come to think of it, not a person I would specially want to work for.  Sort of a Darwinian job-selection process – stupid employers reveal their plumage and operate in such a way that prevents me from working for them.

Then I stopped by the hell café in hopes of seeing Roisin – she was there.  ALONE.  So I helped her make some cappuccinos (got it down to a science!) and sat and talked with her until she locked up and we went to a pub for a drink.  She always drinks those half-pints of Guinness.  Cumulatively she had a pint, but it has to come in those little glasses.  Makes you feel like an alcoholic with your mega sized pint glass towering over it.  Then we went to her place to hang out and proceeded to hold host to a parade of her friends.  One of them was actually a very giggly girl, which surprised me – the sort of person that finishes every sentence with a peal of jackal like laughter twice as long as the phrase preceding it.  A very annoying, but very nice girl.

Tea is a great social constant and leveler of Ireland.  At the end of the evening it was giggly girl, stoned off his ass man, dude in black with big heavy chains, and the guy with the red mohican (what they call mohawks).  All of them crazy, young, alternative, drug-using kids.  All of them starving for a cup of tea.  Red Mohican asked if anyone wanted a cup, everyone agreed, he proceeded to go collect enough mugs, wash them, brew us all a cup, and even add the milk and sugar.  I have yet to develop the Irish resistance to weather, so as I sat shivering on the balcony with my coat buttoned to the top and my collars up, I held that cup of tea with reverence and drank like it was gold.  Like it was the first, last, greatest cup of tea, brewed in the Holy Grail from the blood of Christ himself.

An amusing side-note about drugs.  Man in Black with Chains was upset that evening because a deal for grass had gone awry.  It seems he collected £400 for a sizeable amount of grass and simply gave it to his dealer, who promised to go procure said drugs and return with it.  Can you see it coming?  So the grass is not forthcoming and the dealer has gone missing, which leads desperate Black Chain to call him persistently on his cell phone.  Finally the dealer answers in a hoarse whisper and tells him not to call anymore as he is being busted by the Gards who have confiscated the money.  Alas.

Red Mohican is skeptical as he has heard of dealers using that excuse before, Black Chain is absolutely unretrieveably out £400, stoned man giggles, and Roisin seems inclined to ease Black Chain’s suffering.  Yes, it seems she and Black Chain are an item, which sort of disappoints me.  Especially as she was wearing a thin cotton shirt did nothing but highlight her insistent nipples and her pants were so loose as to leave a four inch gap of flesh around her midsection revealing the stomach/hip/incredibly sexy area. I’ll have to find a more appropriate word for it as a glimpse of it really does just drive me mad.  The lines of the muscles form a human arrow to between the legs and all that promises and entails.

So even though they were far from tired, 1:30 meant time to start the long trek back to Drumcondra.  I actually considered perhaps getting a taxi, but that cup of sweet milky tea had sort of restored my faith in mankind and where I’ve chosen to spend my life, so I walked it.

The night was really very beautiful and clear and calm.  I walked up to the Quays and the light breeze turned the river into living purple cobblestones, cut by the green red and yellow zebra stripes of light reflected from the hotels and pubs along the banks of the Liffey.  The only sounds were the occasional call for a taxi and the crunch of grit and flattened John Player Blue boxes and crushed beer cans under my feet.  As I got to O’Connell Bridge the breeze died down some and the river looked like frosted glass as I turned left and crossed the river.  The drivers of Dublin for once laid it easy on their horns and the children finally seemed to be safely locked up somewhere and I actually had one of the nicest walks of my life winding up Dorset Street and looking into the bright take-away shops and passing people clutching their oil-stained brown paper bags.  It was really lovely.

June 28, 2001

It just got to be far too much for me – all the rejection – and I snapped over email.  Wrote a long, self-pitying email to just about everyone.  I was getting very angry and just vented.  Reading it the next day, it was pretty silly.  I sort of chuckled and proceeded to write a disclaimer to all the recipients.  However, I figure confession is good for the soul and I just had to stop fighting it, to get on with things.  Whatever “it” actually is.

I feel rather like I’ve been slowly disassembled, or peeled like an onion, stripping away all of the healthy protective layers to get to the tender heart.  Like an artichoke then, I imagine.  And it sucks because I feel crappy and confused and the ease and comfort of friends, family and familiarity are all gone.  So I get down to the brass tacks, as it were.  The center of me.  Or I’m getting there as the days wear on and I continue to over analyze my life.  But frankly, in an unhappy and lonely way, it has been a good thing.  Stripped of all my essential defenses (even sense of humor, which no one seems to get) I am just fine.  No hospital style hallucinogenic episodes or crippling sleep-inducing depression.  I’m a little tattered, but all my pages are still there and my spine is intact.  So it really is all right.

June 27, 2001

Even the grass here is different – its not the broad, rugged grass of America, punctuated by patches of weeds and dandelions and slightly tinged with a wild blue color.  This is a short, thin carpet of grass that very evenly hugs the flat featureless deep brown earth.  Here and there patches of clover make a more intense green, and little tribes of daisies look like snow on the ground.  A chill is blowing through the air and it slips into my hand, making me stiff and throwing my lunch trash over the ground.  And the sun is shining through the heavy gray clouds as drops of rain hit my jacket with resonant thuds.

Yesterday the National Gallery was rather disappointing.  A large collection of rather insignificant landscapes and portraits by anonymous Irish artists.  There are a few exceptions, notably the Caravaggio featured in Ordinary, Decent Criminal a Breughel, some by Leech, and a room to the Yeats family.  Not the greatest fan of Jack B. Yeats’ later work, but around the 1920’s I am delighted by his colors and subjects.  Before he goes quite abstract.

Went to go see Michael Crawford’s friend Gary O’Leary at his design studio.  Very pleasant but had no openings and didn’t look at my portfolio.  Said he’d gather for me a list of people who might need someone, but I’m not holding my breath.  Fuck ‘im.  Fuck ‘em.  Fuck them all.  Babbled about how me not knowing Quark XPress was a major handicap that made me unhireable and it wouldn’t be worth it to teach me only to have me go.  HOW LONG do people think it takes to learn a computer program?  They’re not that hard and I’m not that stupid!  Same with the hostel job – there is NOTHING about the running of a hostel that would take me FOUR MONTHS to learn.  I’m not here four WEEKS – I’m here four MONTHS!

What a stupid fucking reason.  I’m tired of hearing it.

Finally got in touch with Gregg – nice to speak to him – he told me that a friend of his is friends with the head of the Fringe Festival here and she would try to hook me up.  Here’s hoping.  I just want a good job.  One that makes me feel important and that my brain is as valuable as the expendable units of energy contained in my little body just by rights of having woken up in the morning.  And frankly, as much as I thought I wouldn’t be saying (or writing) this for at least a couple of years, I really miss theatre.  Not so much the shitty wages and lunatic hours, but the people and environment of creation.  Invention, imagination and creation.  Where it is a taxing job, but one that actually does produce something and actually does mean something.

You must suffer for any work.  Theatre is a sort of work I seem suited to suffer for.

I must try to call Chris this evening and chat with him.  Try to get him over here to rail around Europe with me after summer theatre.

Every once in a while Dublin gives me a gift – just enough to keep me strung out and strung along.  And it’s never unmitigated as the wind’s blowing hard and making a terrific noise in the trees.  But disregarding that:

I am in Griffith Park by the stream next to the willows and the sun is shining a bright blue sky and there are ten ducks preening and splashing in the water as pigeons coo and the water ripples.  And it’s true – life is in the details, just like looking at a stream.  At a glance you see the water and the banks and the various colors, but never before have I noticed the tiny shadows of tadpoles as they dart along the river bed.  Or the string of algae that looks like a snake slithering with the current.  Or the broad, flat piece of stone that looks like some Viking axe head.  There’s so much literally under the surface. And why can’t I be happy with this?  Why do I have to have an incredible job to brag about, a huge salary to throw about, and a career to get excited about?  Why can’t I just be happy here?

June 26, 2001

No word from the Gate last night.  Sat in the chair by the phone for the evening – even fell asleep!  I really am holding my breath for that one.  I wish I had a mobile phone simply to be able to be reached whenever – I put “(after 6PM)” by telephone number on my CV as there is no machine and I need to catch calls.  People aren’t going to keep calling to offer you a job.  It’s a one shot deal.  But then again, if they have to wait to 6PM, will they call at all?  Dammit I hate this phone and the lack of answering my machine.

Today has been a museum day, as I really am hoping for the Gate to call and I don’t want to get a shitty hotel job today and have them call tonight.  Then again, a watched pot never boils, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, etc., etc….  I am so damnably particular.  I wish I would just suck it up, get a shit job, and be able to separate my job from life after.  But I so want to be “happy” and I want to be engaged and hell, I have a college degree!  I have developed professional skills!  I don’t want to work in a café taking shit from the bourgeoisie!  The petty bourgeoisie!

Finally went to Hugh Lane Museum of Modern Art by the Garden of Remembrance.  Rather nice, very small, housed in a former beautiful Georgian stately home.  I was quite taken by the work of Jack B. Yeats who seems to be Irish.  They have a Monet, a Degas, and very interestingly two Renoirs – one very early next to one from his latter, easily identifiable period.  The early is of a nude reclined with little impressionist color strokes that almost make her look as if she’s composed of leaves or feathers.

Their great draw is the work and studio of Francis Bacon.  Don’t much care for the paintings I saw, but they all have a very interesting use of space and dimension.  In each is a light sketch of a perspective box that holds all the subjects.  Pretty interesting.  That’s what I’d call his work – interesting.  But nothing I’d ever buy a postcard of.

Then upstairs is a gallery of photographs of his studio.  A real mess in the art parts, and a remarkably contrasting neat in his living parts.  He had several books on Picasso and art of antiquity – Greece and Egypt in particular.  Neat to see what feeds an artist.

Then I went to perhaps the strangest museum on earth – the Natural History Museum.  The downstairs is unimpressive with its collection of purely Irish fauna, but upstairs is this tri-level gallery of all the animals of the world.  Everything in skeletal form or taxidermied, with all naughty bits excised for prudent Victorian tastes.  Actually a rather grisly and ill-making environment, what with racks of faded, scruffy stuffed animals staring out of soulless glass eyes, with the heads of game animals studding the walls.  What’s more, several of them are falling apart with age and have either been repaired very poorly with putty and in one case a clamp, others are simply coming apart.  There is an odd smell and a disquiet in the place, and the addition of preserved fish and other monstrosities finally rose up into my throat and I sort of breezed through the last 1/3 of the place to beat a hasty retreat from the ghoulish charnel house natural history.

Now I’m in the Marrion Square Park, with the occasional residual drop of rain marking my page as it slips off the green leaves above me.  I am about to try the National Musuem, and hope to be faced with less death and decay.  Accent on decay.

June 25, 2001

Well, off on the job search again.  Staying well away from food if I can help it in any possible way.

I have that list of companies to call – dammit, I wish we had a real, live, fully-functioning phone.  Not the fucking parody of an intercom that we do.

I’m now in Montjoy Square where I’ve temporarily ended up on my big search for a quiet pay phone where I can make ninety-or-so phone calls with my bulging pocket change without eliciting too much attention.

I just hate calling people cold.  But really, why should I?  Well, I know why.  The changes are high of being denied.  And I hate even the thought of rejection.  It’s so much worse than when it’s voice to voice than when it’s text to eye or by word of mouth.  Hearing that voice tell you “no” is so immediate and personal and intimate.

Maeve and Keira graduate today, something like 5 WEEKS after their exams!  What a weird system!

What I really hope more than anything is that when I go check my email in the internet shack that Gregg will have emailed me back telling me about some fabulous contact he has and the Abbey will have ushered my message to the person on top and they will want me to tear tickets.  To spare me of this telephone ordeal.

What I’d really like to do is go bus down to Cork, spend the day, catch the ferry to France, train it down to Italy, spending a day in Paris, Nice and Toulouse, and see Florence and Rome and Venice.  Fabio says Venice and Florence are “like a dream”.  But Friday I have to go back to the Social Welfare Office to collect my PPS # and the form says I need to bring my employer’s PAYE #.  So I really need an employer by Thursday, I suppose.  It’s a good thing the Beanery was the sketchiest place on earth and paid me illegally – otherwise that paperwork would have been a hassle.

Yesterday went to a Gaelic Football game at Croke Park.  It cost £10 to stand on the terrace, known as “The Hill”.  It is a quick, funny little game that lasts only 70 minutes and looks like a cross between volleyball, basketball, soccer and football.  Probably some rugby thrown in there as well.  It was Meath against Kildare (Declan’s home team) and Meath pretty much kicked the crap out of Kildare, even though at one point they were actually leading by a point.  Kildare handled the football better, and had possession for a greater percentage of the time, but they couldn’t score to save their lives, and when Meath had it they used it well.

Brings home the point that no matter where I am, no matter what bizarre and esoteric rules may be in play, I simply do not find sports interesting.  Fine to play, but not very exciting to watch.  I just don’t get riled to the point that I want to yell and grab my head and get red in the face.

Oh, also hampering my enjoyment of the event was my placement behind the most offensively smelly young man on the entire island.  Made me feel faint.

June 23, 2001

Am trying to collect my wages from the shittiest café in Dublin.  Went to all possible outposts of this tiny, unholy empire.  To no avail.  Should I just cut my losses and give up?

No!  That’s what the bastards want.

Fabio and Roshin are here today, as I had hoped.  I am quite drawn to them.  They both live life pretty largely.  If in a quiet way.  Fabio says, “I do not work for work.”  Makes sense.  Why deny yourself a pint or a late night for a shitty job?  Why sleep all day on your one free day just to store up energy for another helping of crap?

I do not work for work.  Good sentiment.

Dublin’s little alterna-kids are out in droves for Creamfields – the big music festival.  Two guys with one guitar were wailing outside the Dublin Bus office beside a sign scribbled in ballpoint on a big sheet of white paper, “We are SHIT just give us money.”

They were right – they were shit.  However, I did not give them money.

More freaky Irish children haunting me.  This time three of them throwing back and forth a can of spraypaint with which they were coloring their hair orange.  The fumes were pretty deadly.  I doubt they did any damage.

That dick manager is keeping me waiting just to spite me.  Good God – if I had any doubts about quitting before, which I did not, this ridiculous afternoon of waiting has galvanized my hatred of this place.  I want to get paid my £2 for my 15 hours of work and get the fuck out of here.  But, truthfully, it is nice to have an excuse to be near Roshin.  Once I get paid I guess I’ll have to go.  I had hoped to drop my CV at that sketchy little bookstore – though I’ve learned that a “staff wanted” sign really has no reflection on the reality of the hiring situation.  They’re like those Christmas lights left out until July because they’re too much of a hassle to take down and halfway through the year you figure you might as well leave them up as it’s so near Christmas and there’s no sense now just taking them down to put them back up.  One day there will be a vacancy, and then won’t that sign come in handy?

Anyway, it won’t hurt to try.

Last night was great fun – Declan let me use his computer lab to check email and print out CV’s – it was nice to not have a time limit and be able to really catch up on email and things.  Declan is a very genuine, giving guy.

Last night he and Maeve (coaxed, as she always is, by Declan’s diabolical powers of persuasion) and I went to Cavanaugh’s in search of Irish music.  We found what was evidently the plodding old people’s version with old, not very musical codgers thumping out these dirges that all sounded the same but made you tap your feet all the same.  Except Declan, who wouldn’t get into it on principle.  They played a song called “Pretty Little Girl from Omagh” and we learned that Maeve had been named 1996’s Pretty Little Girl from Omagh, which Declan repeatedly shared with the elderly foursome next to us.  Old women at pubs wear what young women do, resulting in the exposure of hazardous levels of wrinkled cleavage.  What ever happened to the puritanical modesty of the elderly?

Declan made a very interesting observation about Ireland – unlike the great categorized United States, in a pub you’ll easily get young folks, old folks and middle-aged folks all drinking in the same pub, side by side.

Goddammit, where is that dickhead?

The music sucked, so we went home and Derek pulled out his guitar, rolled a joint, and we butchered songs for hours.  The Irish do seem to be a naturally musical sort.  It was some of the most fun I’ve had here.

Keira had gone out with her even more bitter friend Shevonne, known as Sinead to Maeve and Louise to Declan.

Irish people adjust themselves brazenly, deeply, and repeatedly in public.  I find it rather disgusting and unhygienic.  I guess our American Puritanical heritage reaps some rewards.  The oppression of desire isn’t always such a bad thing.

Bitter customers in Beanery land.  Vast defections from customer-kind.  Food service is shit.  There goes Roshin.  I wish I could – I don’t know.  Hold her interest, I suppose.

June 21, 2001

Just quit the Beanery Café.  Told Paul, the manager, about working two thousand hours extra for which, I imagine, I will receive no compensation.  He said, “First I’ve heard of that.”  Really.  What a surprise.  I thought that communication was the strong point of this organization.

Didn’t finish telling about two nights ago.  So after shitty, but final, day at the Beanery, we went to Roshin’s house lured by the prospect of free beer.  There was none to be found, so we went to her local, a dark little pub whose name escapes me.  We had a few drinks and a good time chatting – we spoke all the Italian words we know “spaghetti,” “mamma mia,” etc., and he laughed at us.  We, in turn, laughed at his English.  Roshin said that he looked like an alien, and with his wedge-shaped shaved head he rather does.  He drums on the city square in Naples during the summer, after buying a big block of hash and smoking a spliff in front of the guard.  (“Hello!  Roll, roll, roll.”)  He became a human drum machine, sliding in and around the rhythm of the music, going so fast at times it seemed his fingers would simply break off on the table top.

Then we went back to her place and hung out for a bit until she spoke of going to another party and the hour combined with my fatigue prompted my long way back home.

Her place has the most amazing view – it is on the top floor so it is roof level with a tall, gorgeous church.  It is so close you think you can reach across the tiny alley and touch it.

She hugged me as I left and I hope to see her again.

Last night went out with Declan to Handel Bar, right by where I was the night before.  Roshin said it was where the “skag heads” or heroin addicts live.  Evidently a few years ago there had been a big march to get them evicted from the projects, or council housing I believe they call it here.

Standard sort of evening – brought the wrong card so Declan had to spot me a £20.  The highlight there was some bizarre altercation that I never quite understood.  There was this one guy who had sort of been jack-assing all evening, and I saw him go up to the bar behind me.  Then all I heard was two crashes, like glass, and then the dude ran outside, followed by the two barmen.  I missed it but Declan said the dude got caught and dealt a few blows.  Then security cleared us all out.  Come to think of it, before we got there we saw of roving band of boys wandering the street, throwing down glasses to break.  My first dicey Ireland experience.

Then Tony was going to take us to the leading gay bar in Dublin, himself being a member of the gays, but the £6 deterred us.  We walked the cobbles to Eamonn Doran’s and breezed by the doorman.  I look back, though, and poor Ashleigh is caught at the door.  She has been refused entrance on the grounds of being too drunk!  Evidently walking up the cobbles she gave off the vibe of overindulgence.  This frustrated and embarrassed her to no end, and we all ended up going home.

Tony, Declan, and I shared a cab – my first time in a cab since I’ve been here!  And I must admit, those commercials left me apprehensive the whole time.  I sort of think in a country where people seem to die in cars and for no other reason – 170 so far this year in this tiny country – that I’d rather walk.  Plus it would work off the Guinness.

Last night used up a whole £5 Buzz card calling people back in the states.  I just wanted so desperately to chat with someone and not feel weird or foreign.  It was nice, but I’d no idea I’d talked 50 minutes.  It’s all sort of a blur conversation anyway, as I was rather intoxicated.  2 Guinness and 2 ciders.  Drinking in rounds is murderous!

I should just not drink because I think about sex.  At Handel’s Bar I just phased out for a good hour and thought about the chemistry, the anatomy, the physics and the images of sex.  It will rot my brain.