August 9, 2001

– Asylum seekers?  How would you like all the El Salvadoreans and Hispanics that we have?

– I think as long as someone’s willing to work, that’s fine with me.

– They DON’T.  I work in a school.  They don’t want to work.

– Ah.

– Now, my husband’s a foreigner.  But he’s a Palestinian CHRISTIAN.  And he took the SAT and got a perfect score.  That’s scholastic aptitude.

– Oh, really?

– I heard on your news last night that you only want skilled workers.

– That’s what I hear.

– Just like Germany.  We used to have a very good welfare system.  Well, I mean, we’re not gonna let anybody starve.  But we used to have a very good welfare system.

Well, the 8th came and went without so much as a hiccup.  Didn’t talk to mom and sister, ate too much, didn’t win the lottery (does one ever lose the lottery) and was asleep before 10:00 last night.  A boring, disgraceful sham of a life.  BUT there’s only ONE 5:00 morning after this.  Hooray!

It was cruelly cold this morning.  I know that first thing in the morning and when I free for wake-up weather I’m always roasting.  However, I found myself going fetal in front of Euronews, my legs clamped together and arms hugged around myself in a desperate attempt to conserve heat.  I went to put on my light sweater, but I don’t care for it now that it is stretched and shapeless, so I put on what I thought was overkill with my wool sweater.  The fact that I walked down the hallway without shivering was a sign of my good choice.

– My mother sent all her money to the IRA.  But she never came back.

The racist had returned and I see her as the perfect lost daughter of Erin, brought up on the myth of the Emerald Isle and the IRA.  Clad in a peasant style green print pleated blouse and long celtic knotwork handwoven fringed shawl over her shoulders.  Pale skin, green eyes and red hair – the complete illusion of Ireland.  If Ireland was so great, why did mummy leave?  Why did she NEVER come back?

It’s the myth of Ireland.  Hold on to the tourist route, madam, or you’ll be sorely disappointed.  This is not the enchanted isle of gleam in their eyes leprechauns and Irish stew and happy peasants relaxing with a whiskey and a spirited reel after a day of turf-cutting and Catholicism and the brave young lads of the IRA.  It’s all a lie created by the American children of emigrants who had, through age and rose-colored glasses, forgotten that they had left the enchanted isle for a reason.  The English are a great excuse – nevermind poverty, alcoholism and famine.  A lie created in America by those who have never been here, and amazingly sold back to the Irish themselves where tourist dollars have led them to believe.

The REAL Ireland smokes Marlboro, drinks Carlsberg, Smirnov, Budweiser, wears Levi’s and Doc Martens, listens to Brit Pop and American rap, drives a German or a Japanese car, drinks Coke, goes to McDonald’s, talks nonstop on its cell phone and heartily embraces a Kentucky Fried version of the future.  Surly big-city dwellers in a dinky colonial town.

– Good morning.

– Good morning.  How are  you doin’?

– Dizzy.

– Dizzy?

– Yeah.  Jet-lag’s a bitch.

– Where is that accent from?

– The States.

– The states?  What are you doing here working in a candy shop?

– It was the only job I could get.

– What part of the states?

– Virginia.

– So what are you doing here?

– Just graduated from school, wanted to see the world a bit.

– So you’re working in a candy shop.

– It’s what I could get.

– So this is summer work then?

– Well, I just finished college, so I don’t know what I’m doing.

– All the way from America to work in a sweet shop in a hotel.

– Yep.

– Careful some Irish girl doesn’t get her claws into you.  Watch out some Irish girl doesn’t get her claws into you.

– No problem.

– I’m actually looking for the car park.

– There through the back doors.  By the phone.

Good GOD woman – pull that spandex out from the canyon between your legs and get some pants that FIT.  Wear those much longer and you’ll have to marry them.

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