Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Travels with Hatchet: Sleepless in Dublin

Yet another installment from the Way Back Machine, this is an email about my second trip to Dublin.

July 11, 2000.

Sleepless in Dublin

How are you supposed to know the difference between happenstance and the Universe warning you of something? Even though what might be subtle warnings are occurring, at what point do you consider it to be ENOUGH and that you really SHOULDN'T take that flight? Is the Universe into subtleties or blatant warnings, anyway?

Fact: Must go to Dublin, Ireland for 2 weeks for work.
  • Coincidence or Warning? I start feeling sick - nauseous, headaches, backaches, feverish. I go anyway. I've got a job to do.
  • Coincidence or Warning? As we drive to the airport a traffic jam appears out of no where in the middle of the morning. Not rush hour, not lunch hour, and there's no construction. We turn around and go to the airport on an alternate route.
  • Coincidence or Warning? There's a huge line for the first class check in. Normally there's NEVER a huge line for first class. My boarding time creeps nearer...
  • Coincidence or Warning? On the second leg of my flight, from Atlanta to Shannon, Ireland (Why Atlanta? I dunno, it's a Delta thing.) a guy has a heart attack on board and we have to make an emergency landing in Gander, New Foundland, at night, in the rain.


So I'm here, and I'm exhausted - all of that landing and taking off isn't conducive to sleeping. Now I'm late and I have a meeting on-site. Rush rush rush. Shower. Taxi. Drive drive drive. I arrive at the site and can't think of anyone that the guard can find on-line to let me in. Fortunately someone from the help desk arrived that knew my contact's name and was willing to sign me in. I go to the meeting. On three hours sleep I'm not much of a conversationalist. : ) I have a glassy eyed stare and zone every time I lose concentration. The meeting begins. Words are bandied about. Conversation abounds. Arguments occur, heated words that I don't understand are flung about me. The word "pedantic" goes past. I mentally award the speaker $10. I comment every now and then when I mentally surface from my fog. Like a whale I slowly lumber up from the depths of my inertia and make a comment that seems significant at the time.

I look around the room at the people and notice that the women are all striking. I've decided they must be out of work models. Irish, Italian, Spanish and French. The dark hair, blue eyes and pale pale skin of the Irish. These people don't tan, I think, they just burn. The French and Italians have very expressive faces, eyes, hands. Apparently they've put the entire Italian help desk off in a corner of this huge room because they're too noisy to sit near the others. The men are all ordinary looking except for the Italian. He looks kinda...pouty. Very GQ. I listen to the accents and wonder what others think of mine. Does anyone like the American accent? I haven't got a NY accent, or a Colorado accent, I'm sorta flat, all American. Hard to place.

I'm allowed to nap before dinner. Apparently that was a bad idea because I couldn't sleep that night, or any of the nights that follow. It's daylight here until around 10:30 or 11 at night. My brain has decided that I can't possibly be sleepy if the sun just set 2 hours ago... I only really get to sleep right before the alarm goes off. Why is that? It never seems to fail. : )

On the weekend we go to the Botanical Gardens, the Zoo, Malahide Castle...tourist traps abound. Can you imagine having a house (It wasn't a REAL castle - just a family mansion with turrets on it. Enough like a castle for ME - I imagine the heating bills are enormous.) that had been in your family for 800 years? Can you imagine being able to TRACK your family for 800 years? Everything is so OLD here. There's a pub - the oldest pub in Ireland - that was established in 1198. ELEVEN HUNDRED AND NINETY EIGHT. Damn! The Americas hadn't even been discovered yet...Buildings are older than the entire culture I come from. It boggles the mind. The weather is rather mind boggling as well - it's summertime and yet it's cold. Overcast. Rainy. Sunny. Overcast. Rainy. Sunny. It's consistent in its inconsistency. No wonder the people are all so pale.

All kinds of plants grow here - palm trees and fuchsias are in the same yards as roses and butterfly bushes. There appears to be only one season here - sort of an eternal spring. The only thing that changes is the amount of light. And yet the women run around in light summer weight clothing - the cool ones, the glam ones - prepared to party. I feel cold watching them run around in cute little sandals and those horrid shoes from the 70's with the massive soles. Stylish and hip. Everyone drinks heavily and smokes heavily and parties long and late. How they make it to work coherent the next morning is a mystery.

It's all a mystery to me.


Jennifer H said...

Dublin is high on my list of places I want to visit. (Venice and Dublin share the top spot)

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Dublin is the place I want to go back to as well, with Eric this time!

It's a beautiful city and a fantastic country. It really is as green as the postcards suggest. Water actually falls from the sky. Amazing!

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