June 15, 2001

In the Garden of Remembrance.  I like it here as it is calm and empty.  It’s like all war memorials worldwide – benches for reflection, big curved backdrop to the particular cast statue that commemorates the particular loss of life.  There is a really lovely reflecting pool facing the Children of Lir statue in the shape of a cross with a mosaic motif of broken shields, swords and spears.  This is really one of my favorite spots.  It seems this is also a great place for lunch.  There is a lovely, tranquil, repeated wave element – on the little fences, the borders of the pool, mosaic-ed inside the pool at the base of the sculpture.

It’s doing rather well at calming me down as I start to get very upset about being alone and lost in this foreign land.

All that stuff is metaphorical, of course.  Dublin is FAR too small to get lost in (“far” relates to great distance, and yet it can be applied to “small.”  How interesting is the English language.)  Plus my roommates are very nice.  However, I know they need their space so I try to leave them alone if possible.  As much as I just want to talk to them constantly and feel like I’m more than just a transient drifting through town sans love, sans friends, sans life.

The garden has been invaded by schoolgirls – little red ones this time as opposed to the blue ones in the computer lab the other day.  It is 1:00 – I wonder if they come every day.  All quiet moments of reflection are interrupted by little Catholic school girls.  The story of my life.  All miniature versions of women spinning me around right when I think I’ve got it.

Though it’s not as if I wasn’t expecting it, it is rather amazing how pervasive Catholicism is in this country.  Little Catholic school children waiting for the bus, on the bus, in the park, on the streets.  Churches and cathedrals everywhere.  Went to St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral today and mass was in session – I didn’t know mass was all through the week.  Abortion and divorce also weigh heavily on the Irish consciousness.

I am almost afraid to look to the left to get a proper look at the two Russian girls next to me.  They seem beautiful – they sound, smell, and just sort of feel beautiful.  Is it better to be comforted by one’s own illusion or dare to be amazed by the beauty of reality?  Ah, but if they were ugly I’d have nothing.  At least now I have a half of something and I want, so desperately, to have anything!

I think I’ll keep my eyes on my notebook.

Today has been an alright day so far.  Good tempered with bad.  I have a horrible developing blister on my left foot making it rather unpleasant to walk.  Which is, in my placelessness, all I do after all.  There was also a rather nasty bit of wind a rain this afternoon in a place with little shelter.  I ended up hiding in a semi-doorway of a building to eat my little turkey, ham and stuffing sandwich.  I love the phenomenon of the stuffing sandwich.

I am quite glad I gambled to look.  They are beautiful without that dark eyed scowl that ruins the face of Eastern European women.  I have understood a grand total of two words – смотри and интересно – so I suppose my two years of half-hearted dedication to the language was not entirely in vain.

Three good things so far – welfare, a sign and a job.

After much searching I finally found the Social Welfare Office on LOWER Gardiner Street after a short bit of confusion as a small bit of it overlooking Mountjoy square is named for the square it faces.  Just out of the middle of nowhere it changes and just as easily reverts.

It was not a very painful process, it was not very busy, and it couldn’t have taken me fifteen minutes start to finish.  What my young clerk lacked in enthusiasm and volume was certainly made up for in patience and clarity.  It’s a bit difficult getting used to the legal-ese of a new system.  I need to return 2 weeks from today to pick up the PPS#.  I can only hope it goes as smoothly next time.

I got out of that so far ahead of my projected schedule – I was done before 11 and I hadn’t my appointment until 12:30 – that I wandered some until I worked my way to the Custom House Quay which is one of my other favorite places to reflect.  Public benches and few people – all the ingredients necessary.  When I sat on the bench I’d chosen, right across from me was spraypainted “Paul” in nice, clear letters.  Perhaps due to my short visit to St. Mary’s I decided to take it as a sign and it did wonders to calm me as I experienced my hourly panic attack.

I got to thinking about women as I looked through the pictures in my bag, and was about to write but that nasty rain started up.  I pulled up my collar, pulled on my hat and went in search of shelter.

I was, of course, afraid of going to the Coffee Beanery about that job, but I was quite pleasantly relieved when there.  The boss is a chatty homosexual named Paul with an eyebrow ring, shirt open to midchest, and sharp teeth.  Any suspicions were allayed by the rainbow flag inside his office.  Did I say office?  I meant alcove for fridge with two chairs and a desk on which someone had decided to attach a door just to make things difficult.  Anyway, he said he’d pay entirely in cash as he didn’t care for taxes and half his employees were “foreign nationals.”  I am to work three days a week from 11AM to 4PM at either of the two cafes, northside and southside, depending on the day and, I imagine, his whim.  I need to buy a black pair of pants, and it’s a good thing I brought my ONE plain black t-shirt, though he said he might arrange one for me.  He said give it a week, see how it goes.  I could start as early as Monday – I just need to call and see tomorrow.  He seems a very fair sort and when I told him I’d no food experience he wasn’t put off but told me it was very relaxed and not too awful to get a handle on.  Hooray!

So I guess I need to go figure out my size and buy a black pair of pants.  I so soon return to the world of comparison shopping, fresh with the skills and knowledge acquired during my bedding adventure.  Plus it doesn’t hurt that there was a very pretty girl working there.  Hope does, after all, spring eternal.  Though I must say, I am not that deeply carnally motivated right now.  I sort of want someone who will touch me and give me back my humanity, because it is that touch that makes us human.  Otherwise we might as well be robots, for whom the touch of metal on metal, or plastic on plastic, yields no result and no comfort.  There can be no simulation of the human soul without the need and pleasure of touch.

But I do want someone for myself, to be mine, to see and talk to and touch and to find comfort.  Because though everyone so far has been rather nice, I still feel so alone. I don’t want my loneliness to be confused with love.

Off I go.

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3 thoughts on “June 15, 2001

  1. Mr. Dunford, I find comfort in your writing, an enlightening way to start my weekday mornings!!! I shall take the last sentence of this blog entry as my quote for the day, “I don’t want my loneliness to be confused with love”.

  2. Word. A particularly poignant piece. I especially enjoyed all the drama around the look – I think that’s definitely you should weave into a larger narrative.

  3. After reading this post I want to visit that Garden of Remembrance! I find it very interesting that you felt the same way I did when I moved to the U.S. I thought it was the language, but I guess it has more to do with geography and feelings. I can really relate to what you write about how it is the touch of someone that makes us human. Great post, very inspiring.

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