July 16, 2001

I would be writing outside, perhaps in the relative tranquility of the Garden of Remembrance which I only ever see anymore in the rush to get home.  However, it is raining.  Of course.  It has been sunny and bright all morning and right as I am about to go out to collect my laundry off the line it begins to rain.  Frankly I consider the lack of dryers to be the ultimate sign of the barbarity of this cursed rock.  It’s not like this is the Sahara where a dryer would be a useless extravagance.  I think history has shown that it will rain every twelve seconds here, if not more frequently.  And alas, it takes more than 12 seconds in absence of precipitation for clothes to dry.  It’s a Russian Roulette waiting for your clothes to dry, knowing that there is probably a rain drop in the next chamber but pulling the trigger anyway.  I swear my clothes spend more time outside OFF my body than they do ON my body.  I’m going to go outside this evening after work and find they have created some sort of Lord of the Flies scenario and I will be fighting a tribal war with Declan’s clothes which have been outside for a week.

The beautiful Irish women are ravens – harsh faces with black marble eyes, their hair like feathers down their neck, their heads proud and their movements quickly flicked out from their fit bodies.

But the men are hideous.  Like the fucking prick hotel employee who haunts me like the murder of an Asian prostitute.  He shows up several times a day to support his gangly grotesque body with Lucozade.  His head is like a giant jack o’ lantern that has been bleached and has been sitting out in the sun for a couple of months.  It is round and misshapen, entirely too large for his bony body, with his eyebrows collapsing over his eyes and his mouth nothing more than a mushy slit that makes it even more impossible to understand his deep indecipherable Dublin growling.  He is perhaps the most disheveled bastard I have yet to meet, and his grimy mangled collar is always unbuttoned behind his skewered bowtie which at one time must have been black but which has now been rendered gray by lack of washing and total disgust for his owner.  He perpetually squints through the day in that affected “I am very tired and perpetually overworked” fashion, which only serves to piss me off even more.  He never fails to deliver a disparaging comment about the ease of my job and always remembers to call me a “lazy bastard.”

Yesterday was my most pleasant exchange with him, my little ray of sunshine.

– So what the fuck are you supposed to be then?
– The fuck Paul.
– What, did your parents name you that?  The moment you came out they said, “The Fuck?!”
– No.  MY parents were married for several years before they had me.
– Well, you know what they say – first child is always a mistake.  Thank God I was the second.
– Uh huh.

Then Igor tuned in to the classical music coming from the radio.

– What the fuck are you listening to?
– Classical music.

Then Igor mustered all of the sarcasm and mock horror he held in that grotesque little frame of his and demanded:

– Why?
– Because I like it.  It’s complex.  There’s a reason it’s been around so long.
– Have you ever heard of clubs?

At this point several very good retorts presented themselves.  Unfortunately they were all revealed through the magic of the afterthought.

– Clubs suck.

At which point Igor turned and left in disgust.

I really think he’s trying to be funny and employ that sacred and lauded Irish wit which rides exclusively on the back of sarcasm.  He probably tries very hard to be so brash and rude, finding it very clever and ultimately a sign of how cool he is.  Being as hideous as he is he must feel pressure – terrible pressure – to do something – anything – to ameliorate his shitty lot.  Maybe he can just move to a blind leper colony and finally have the courage to be himself.  However, though I see how hard he is trying to be this monster he has become, and though I do feel a bit of pity for him, it still craps up my day in true Dublin fashion.  I think I’ll just be rude to him from now on and hide all the red Lucozade.  What can he do – get me fired?  And do I care?  He’s just one of those jack-offs from high school who throw in the first punch so that they can laugh at everyone else before everyone else laughs at them.

I think I’m getting depressed again.  Not “bummed out” but depressed.  I haven’t been reading and I haven’t written much.  Just stared at the TV or the wall.  Haven’t bought an Evening Herald in a week.  Less desire to do any of the happy things I do for myself.  I remember what Mrs. Gifford in AP English said about the great geniuses being manic depressive.  That explained why they were essentially life long alcoholics who would periodically churn out a masterpiece in a few days unbroken by sleep and then descend again into their bottles.  Mania fueled the muse.

Maybe if I can keep writing I can escape the depression swing.  Force myself to stay up enough so that the rest has no choice but to pull itself back to the top.  Everyone falls from the trapeze at some point, and that’s why there is a net.  Depression doesn’t necessarily mean melancholia.  I still see beautiful fun things in my life – like seeing the prime minister Bertie Ahern outside across from Fagan’s yesterday – but there is less motivation.  Less desire.  No need to pick up the pen, just a blank stare at the wall.  Thoughts in my head fly buzz the bulb but no tap turn to let them out.  No desire.  I need to keep desire and keep writing and lusting and walking and calling and doing.  I need to keep moving or the cement will harden round my feet and then they can safely dump me in the water.  But at that point I won’t care and my only sound will be a long last resigned sigh that only ends to take the water into my lungs.

And I am NOT going out like that.

Time to go to work!  Let’s see how I hold up.  Only 8 WEEKS.  Remember that.  It’ll be easy.  Most everyone does this all their LIVES.  Angela’s done it at this store alone for 5 years, before that 22 years in a restaurant.  I can make 8 weeks.

“How long have you been open?” asks the German in his spotless dark blue jeans belted over a well-pressed white checked shirt.  A very intentional and tidy casualness, studied almost, down to the well-polished boat shoes of well-polished leather.

“12 days I’ve been here.  How do I know where I’ve been?  I’m 72 years old.  I hardly remember 12 hours ago, much less 12 days.  I got on the plane in Huston at 8 in the morning then had to fly – fly to Newark New Jersey so I didn’t get here until 8 in the morning the next day.  And then they said they didn’t have a room for us.  And all the seats were taken because Robbie was here.  Robbie Williams.  I hate Robbie.  And the bartender didn’t even know how to make lemonade because we none of us drink.  And NO ONE is watching the bags!  Except me, of course, because no one else is.  So our bags are just sitting there in the lobby.  Then at 2 they open up the luggage room down the hall and put our bags in.  Finally we get our rooms and they say they’ll bring the luggage right up.  45 MINUTES LATER [as she narrows her eyes] I call down and say WHERE IS MY LUGGAGE?  And poor little Mary Robinson from the desk over there, she brings the bags up by herself, poor thing.  Now is that any way to treat a person?  I get off the plane at 9 in the morning and not get any help until 6 in the evening?  I’m going to write a letter.  But the guide, John Hood, he made up for it.  All the men on the bus.  I need protection, you see.  I have to fight the men off, you know?”

Michael’s brother came around for the rent.

Rafal: “Some guy came and took money.  I don’t know if we can trust him.”
Me: “We’ll find out soon enough.”


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