Saint Patrick’s Day 2015
I’m of Irish ancestry—so close to straight through the generations as to say No Argument. I am proud of that heritage, and class myself in surveys as “Other :: New Zealand Irish Descendant”.
Whenever I’ve lived alone, I’ve privately celebrated Saint Patrick’s day by popping into an Irish bar and having a pint of Guinness with a single malt Irish whiskey chaser. Even the one round was enough to give accord to my ancestors.
In one city, there was a large Irish bar beside a narrow lane. Down the lane and opposite were two one-room specialty bars. Every St. Patrick’s Day the three would combine to apply for council approval to have the lane closed and declared for the evening as private access only. They would combine budgets to cover the cost of organising a band to provide music.
Further up another main road was another Irish bar, smaller than the larger mentioned previously, but big and popular enough to get a license to close the footpath outside and be allowed to have it cordoned off as part of their premises, with part of the road re-defined as a footpath, with the traffic lanes narrowed to allow usual traffic,
One year, I and a friend went to the alley for the evening, expecting crowds, and good craic. We bought our drinks, manoeuvred through the crowd to an outside table from where we could both see & hear the band and watch for friends arriving.
After a while, with the band playing bland pop covers, I grabbed a coaster and wrote on its back.
I pushed through the crowd, stood at stage front, and held up the message to their lead guitarist: “Do you cover The Pogues?”
He shook his head. “No.”
Back at the table, another coaster back: “Do you cover The Corrs?”
He shook his head. “No.”
Back at the table, another coaster back: “Do you cover U2?”
He shook his head. “No.”
Back at the table, another coaster back: “Do you cover ANY fecking Irish Rock?”
He shook his head. “No.”
Back at the table, friend and I were shaking our head in disbelief. Which turned to shock when the band’s singer announced (something like ) “And now, the style preferred by our friends and followers.” And they began to blast us with Reggae!
Fecking Reggae–on St. Patrick’s night?
Within twenty minutes, forty of us (all unknown to each other) had walked away. To where? The Other Irish bar–where Irish–both rock and trad–was pumping out full blast. TXT messages flew back to friends elsewhere. Within an hour, the managers had to call the Police, who (they must have been Irish darlings) moved the footpath barrier out to the middle of the left vehicle lane, and the ‘tween lanes’ cones out to half across the right lane, and asked car owners parked there to move their cars
Now That was great craic!. But was my last St. Patrick’s craic for a while, as I battled a disabling health problem for years.
And today? Me darling daughter invited me to go to a good Irish bar here in Rotorua – Hennessey’s. We popped across the road to SaveMart, and she bought a beautiful flash dress and other fun stuff for the day. I found two scarves at 0-99c each, so set them on the counter. Then I spotted two junk jewellery necklaces. I was looking for a skirt, but…when one has tried on a size-10 one likes, then a size-12 one likes, and neither fits, and no other skirt takes one’s fancy, one changes one’s focus, yeh? I settled for a great green shirt instead.
Back home, we’re into trying combinations till we’re satisfied. We attempt the green nail polish thing, but as I’m not used to applying it, and we found it was a thick, gloopy, slow-drying kind, I removed mine completely. (It’s in the bin now,)
Satisfied at last we were looking as good as we were ever going to, we’re ready to go. Hang on, I need to take my meds first. Remember that little bit of an item, there.
The bar had a competition to win a big ol’ Leprechaun Guinness hat. I’d asked a few days before …
“What do you have to do to win that?”
“Have four Guinnesses.”
“Do halves count?”
“Yeh, we just stamp your card.”
We arrived today at Hennessey’s bar at a wee bitty after two.
“I’ll have a half, and a single malt chaser.”
“Which whiskey, ma’am?”
“Irish of course.” And I made sure he gave me the entry card and stamped it.
Daughter had bumped into some pals, so we sat together. Eyebrows raised when I finished both drinks fairly quickly and went back for round two. The barman informed me the whiskey was a Hennessey’s (tucking that away for future reference).
We moved to sit outside, and before sitting at the table they’d found, I stopped off to chat to the musicians performing just by the door. I joined the others, finished round two, and went back inside for round three.
Daughter’s friends were good company–and not just because everyone is on 17th March. One noticed the single malts were becoming smaller. But, soon, they had places else to go–fair enough.
Daughter ordered some carbohydrates – a plate of chips (fries for US readers). A welcome distraction, as (unlike previous occasions) my head was starting to spin. I finished round threerather more slowly– one has to pause for carbohydrate intake, after all. A head starting to spin may also have been part of the reason for the slow-down, of course.
I made my way–zigzag path– to the comfort rooms. Once the cubicle door closed (but before I could lock it) it really hit me. I wavered and wobbled while reaching Miles for the lock. Then I had to step Metres back to the porcelain. Then I fumbled and flolloped around getting my belt buckle undone.
Then… I slowly folded down to my knees on the floor. Rawther gracefully, considering. (But then, I have to say that.) I backed up to the porcelain, and then had to actually Think about which body parts had to work to get me up and onto it!
I did make it. But when I rose and eventually made to haul up the jeans, that fecking belt had shortened, I swear. It would not fasten. In fact, it popped the little bar of the buckle out onto the floor–not once, but twice. Have you any picture in mind of what a person looks like when they have to rely on the wall and the door catch to gracefully lower themselves to the floor so they can find that fecking bar and then get back up and try again to fasten the belt? Well, too bad you can’t picture it–there are no photos to show you!
I finally decided (is a drunken person even Capable of deciding?) to not even try, so i rolled up the belt and shoved it into my back pocket. (Two attempts–not bad, considering.)
In the meantime, daughter’s outside the cubicle.
“You all right, Mum?”
I explained I was having a bit of trouble. (A Bit!?) She waited then asked again, and I had to admit I’d need her arm so she could walk me out to a table … at which I friend of mine was waiting for me. Earlier, I had spontaneously TXTed her to invite her to join me, and she’d arrived before I’d got a grip on the balance of the world.
As we sat and nattered, I had to confess to daughter I was not going to be able to win the hat, and she had better TXT her Dah (my darling hubby) and ask him to fetch me as I was too drunk to wait till he arrived after work to act as sober driver to get us home. She did that, went to the bar, and bought a fourth Guinness for herself on my card, so I got the hat after all. That’s how sweet she is.
Hubby arrived–a bit more than an hour before he’d planned on joining us and driving us both home. (Do the math if you like–arrival ten past two; departure at ten past five.) Daughter stayed on (more friends had arrived, and she had stuck to the Guinness) and hubby led me out to the car.
At home safely, I managed to make my way to the bedroom (touching gently off opposite walls down the hallway). I was supposed to be sleeping it off, but I kept recalling things to do: putting away outfits tried on before we’d gone out, helping hubby fetch in the dry laundry and folding it, fetching my laptop.. .Now I was a-buzz.
I did nod off, but had risen from the pillow to begin this saga. Hubby (he’s a bit of a darling) brought my dinner to me on the bed. Right now, I feel tired, super-relaxed, and thoroughly pleased with my Saint Patrick’s Day with my daughter
But, next year, no meds before going out to the bar. And pre-book a green nail job for the 16th. And to hell with winning a Leprechaun’s hat!