July 9, 2001

[START OF NOTEBOOK TWO]

I held the little globe by its stainless steel ear as its last drops of tea dripped from its runny nose into my cup.

Tried to book a ferry today to France.  Went to USIT Now and got tagged and waited 45 minutes to see an agent.  Sat next to a gaggle of ridiculous vapid American coeds babbling about Paris and how Dublin was so backward because no one knew how to mix a Long Island Iced Tea.  I think Dublin is backwards, but not for any such ridiculous reasons!  There was also the German girl with glasses pleaded the other end of her mobile phone for accommodation – at least for her computer.

“No, please.  I really need this.  Otherwise I live in hostel.  What?  No.  I am in terrible humor right now.  Why?  I am with an idiot, I have no money, I’m pregnant and I am being thrown out of my place.”

It’s good to know that that’s not my life.  Some people have it pretty tough.  And then, somehow, she laughed.  I don’t know if it was a joke or her own peace with her incredible situation.  People have amazing strength and resilience, especially in dire and unenviable situations.  I guess when life gets stripped bare like that there’s nothing to do but see how ridiculous it all is actually and laugh.

Or have a psychotic break and use a rifle and a watchtower to practice a little Darwinian unnatural selection.

Anyway, I get up to the counter (when I enter the store they were on B150.  I was B106.  Yeah.  Lots of time with the stupid girls.)  My agent is Veronique, at least that is who I imagine her to be if I correctly match the accent to the name posted on the stapler.  My plan was, of course, perfect and practicable – which is why it was doomed to failure.  I could leave here tomorrow for Cherbourg and return on Friday from Rosslare – excusing myself for a good week to recoup and let the theatre festival director ruminate over how to get me a killer job here in Dublin’s theatre scene.  Wouldn’t be gone too long or too quickly pressed to run from Cherbourg to Rouen to Caen to Mt. St. Michel to Rosslare in one big blur of France where my memory would be surprised by my photographs.  There were NO bookings available from Rosslare.  ALL MONTH!  She was a bit incredulous.  She called over her supervisor who had that incredible implacable managerial blind and unquestioning fate in whatever found its way onto the screen of the computer.  Nothing seemed odd or unusual to the woman with loose linen clothes designed to hide her sagging body with wrinkled cloth and a heavily moled constellation of a face – whatever the computer said was law.  Handed down from the mount incised on tablets of sacred stone.  No information has any value attached to it – it either is on that screen or not.  Very easy way to live – full in faith.  The next ferry I could get out would have been from Cherbourg again – on the 25th!  I told her, my little French silver ring wearing spiky bleached blond of a travel agent, that I couldn’t possibly stay that long.

She said she could just book me to get there and maybe it was a glitch in the system that wouldn’t take booking in advance and I could just book something while I was there.  I told her I didn’t want to get stuck.  She said, “It’s better to be stuck in France than stuck here, don’t you think?”  I said, “I certainly hope so.  But thanks, I’ll try again later.”  And I made my leave and trucked my way back to Drumcondra under some self-created illusion of urgency.

Well, it’s midnight so it’s Tuesday so I wasn’t cast in that play.  What a surprise.  Still pleased I auditioned.

Back to theatre, talked to the director of the theatre festival today.  Went by the Fringe Festival’s offices above the Viper Room on the quays southside and we went out around the corner to Café Gertrude and had a chat about me and my dreams of theatre and all.  He had a large latte and I a cappuccino – his generous treat.  He was very nice to talk to and not intimidating.  He is an American so we communicated easily.  He, to make a long, rambling, slightly condescending sermon into a Reader’s Digest snippet, told me to get a job in food service in the mornings so that people won’t feel bad to use me as free slave labor (what other sort is there?) in the afternoons and evenings.  Besides, he believes in the self-made man, struggling to put yourself through college by working at the Diner sort of kill yourself work ethic.  He disdains of the great flux of interns who parents support them until the get actual paying jobs – for there are no entry-level jobs anymore.  Not when there are ranks of interns ready to work for free and have mom and dad foot the bill.

He seemed very young to have such old-fashioned great American work ethic ideas.  But it’s probably what he did and he is proud of that tradition and feels he benefited from it.  He also fancies himself a great judge of character, which seems to be part and parcel with the whole manager mindset and lifestyle.  I imagine in manager school your final is simply the presentation of a film of a person eating, from which the little managers-to-be must divine their whole life story from the way they hold their forks and how much noise they make when they drink.  An errant slurp means they are wholly unsuited to work in a bookshop.  By golly, it occurs to me!  That coffee wasn’t a pleasant way to meet in a low stress/expectation environment!  I was being given the evil eye!  The basic managerial test!  Gads, what does it mean when I eat the foam off the cappuccino halfway like a thick Styrofoam soup and then stir the rest into the coffee?!  Probably that I’m a narcoleptic foot-fetishist who is two working days away from vomiting on a customer.  High risk!  Red flags!

Anyway, he kept saying things like “What I’m getting from you” and “What my sense of you is.”  Don’t analyze me, man.  You can’t possibly have figured it out yet – I am frought with paradox and confusion, so don’t judge this crazy little book by its cover, mister!  That crooked front tooth of yours may have swung open forwards like a drawbridge leaving a gap in your dental crenellations and battlements, but that does not make you the King of Insight Castle!

But he was very nice and we went back to the office where I met one of the 3 hot women I’ve met in Dublin (but she did look tall!) and then I bid them farewell.  We spent an hour and a quarter chatting – I am very grateful he took time out of his day to chat with me.  After all, Ireland is about who you know.  No one gives a damn for you unless you know someone they know.  Connection.  And you don’t get past the uncaring, unemplowered, uninterested Cerebrus hell-guardian gate keepers without a name in your arsenal.  Sending in your CV cold is like feeding it to a duck – they may smile as you feed it to them but it just comes out shit in the end.

I do hope he’ll send off my CV to his contacts and send me some people to get in touch with.  Though my similar hopes from that fucked at the design place were dashed on Dublin’s uncaring rocks of rejection.  And now, feeling like it will be of a purpose as it will look good as I pursue theatre, I have a renewed interest in finding a shit job.  Tomorrow will be another pavement-pounding day of fruitless CV dissemination.

Saw Black Books finally tonight.  Very funny.  Why are addled alcoholic misanthropists so appealing to me?  I don’t like to drink but it’s nearly 2/3 there!

I related, briefly, the Beanery story when asked if I was working.  He smiled knowingly and said, “Yes.  I know that place.  I tried to get a cup of coffee there once.”

I hope secretly that the inability to book for France after I was actually there card in hand after waiting ¾ of an hour when I could have left at any point to flee the obnoxious girls or the possibility of actually doing something spontaneous was a sign.  As I become more and more superstitious, out of a need for faith and comfort, though not desperate enough to be born again, I look for signs to reassure me.  Trying to see behind the scenes, catch the Cliff’s Notes for the universe and discern the pattern of cosmic arrows pointing me where I need to go.  The arrows of fate.  Like in bits of graffiti that catch my eye – “Paul” “Everyone has a part to play.”  Or even the bits of horoscope the days I break down and ignore my oath to never read that astrological crap as it is all self-fulfilling prophesy.  The days when it says that everything is about to work out.  Rationally I know that it was written without any input from me or my life, and is addressed to the millions of other Gemini out there, black, white, yellow, red, old, young, girl, boy, stupid, smart, jailed, free, but my hope is that the days I break down to read it are they days I’m supposed to and that everything, as the little blurb says, will be all right.  Almost a worse situation than just being a horoscope reader in the first place.  But oh well.  I realize I’m grasping at straws but I just want a little comfort and hope.  That’s why I pay £3 a day to check email for 1 hour and I take graffiti to heart and occasionally break down to read the horoscope.  I have to believe in something that there’s some plan.  That I’ll be okay.  That it will work out.

At least I’m not voodoo chanting for the death of my enemies.

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