This weekend was so packed it could be broken up into lots of little posts. But, let’s start at the very beginning…
I had just gotten back from the Village of the Dead (for those of you who do not understand this reference, scroll down to the last entry). I was going to meet up with Alex, the other intern at the newspaper, and his friends for a trip through the west side of Ireland. Having only been in Dublin (oh yah…and Slane), I was quite excited to experience the countryside.
We decided the best place to meet up would be in the parking lot of our old office, near an apartment complex. It was accessible and I knew the bus route to get there. So I arrived a bit early and sat on the sidewalk, happy to relax after a long Friday of run, run, run.
I’ll admit; I sat there a long time. Maybe forty minutes? My green backpack was crammed full of everything I would need for the weekend, and I was wearing my rain jacket just in case a sporadic storm made an appearance. Sitting on the sidewalk, I watched mothers with strollers walk by, fathers and daughters running out of their apartments for last minute errands, couples getting wine or going on dates. I smiled at them all because it was Friday and everyone was happy!
Well, not everyone apparently. Now just imagine: Me…sitting on a sidewalk with a backpack, smiling or playing with my phone. Is this a threatening image? Do I intimidate people? I think not.
“Excuse me miss…’er you doing okay tere?” An older gentleman was standing near me, on the other side of the apartment complex gate.
“Uh, yes thanks.”
“Whatcha doin’ here for?” he persisted.
“Just sitting.” I said and grabbed my bag, half rolling my eyes. If he was going to talk, I was going to move. There is a general rule with people I see in the city: you can look, but you can’t talk. Smile, nod, or even say hi to me. That’s okay! But if you strike up a conversation and you are under 55, I’m going to have to be careful. At that moment I was enjoying people watching, and didn’t really want to bother with
“Well…’er..yah see, I had gotten some calls bout a girl sitting on da sidewalk…”
Wait me? I stopped fidgeting and looked back in his direction. “Oh?”
“Yah…are you..are you waitin’ fer someting?”
“Yes! Oh yes, sorry. I’m waiting for a friend to pick me up. And we both worked around here so it was just easiest…”
“Oh good good! Fine then…no don’t worry ‘bout movin’ ten miss. I work at the apartment complex, and yah know when I get a call I just got ta check. But cha won’t be causin’ no trouble. People, yah know? Callin’ over anting, usually homeless people…but most tha time, nobody’d do yah any harm.” And with that the man vanished back to his office.
Um. Wait a minute.
Did something just think I was homeless? Excuse me, this rain jacket is nice! And this book bag is only full because I’m leaving for a weekend holiday! Homeless?! Please…I even showered today! And then I silently cursed all of those people I had been smiling at. “Bet it was the mother with the stroller who called,” I thought to myself. “She was in such a rush! Hardly smiled back…”
But I felt a twinge of guilt for being so appalled at the idea of being mistaken for homeless. I know people that live on the streets in the States; I’ve had conversations and dinners with them. They are more than just an emotionless face, or a nuisance to society, ready to be swept under the carpet of urban neighborhoods. At that moment I told myself I would not walk briskly by the homeless people lining the Liffey River without giving them a smile…they at least deserve this small gesture. It would be unsafe to do much more than this when alone, but my mentality needed tweaking.
None the less, the situation was quite humorous. I quickly texted Alex and told him to “HURRY UP” because people think I’m freaking homeless. Then I giggled for a good five minutes, probably scarring more people now because I looked like a laughing lunatic.
And secretly…I hoped that women with the stroller would walk by again and see me laughing by myself
and think “She’s crazy AND homeless!”
Ha! So what if I was!
Here are a few pics from the weekend...they are all on Facebook, but I feel weird writing a blog with no pictures:
In the car...
On the beach...
The Ring of Kerry - this is a circle you drive through County Kerry for scenic moutains and beachs
The town of Galway - One of my favorite places in Ireland I think.
More Galway. See that beautiful sky? This was right before it lashed (POURED) on us. And maybe within 7 minutes...the sun changed its mind and came back out.
Oh thank you Ireland ;)
More from last weekend to come...