Image: Not one of the men I met on my travels. Unfortunately.
So I haven’t written in a while, but that’s because I’ve been pretty busy, so you should be happy for me. Be happy for me, alright? Thanks. In particular, I’ve been meeting with some great people. And also a few special ones.
It all started yesterday morning on the bus to Cork. When I was getting off the bus, I noticed a man who I have seen before, and has previously intrigued me. Its strange – he seems to be always be on my bus, no matter what time I get on. Its not like I’m always getting them 7:30 bus or something, I take the 11am bus and he’s there, I take the 5pm bus and he’s there. But he gets on before me, so he can’t be stalking me. Maybe I’m stalking him and I just don’t realise it. Anyway, he either looks like an aging famous rocker in an artistically shabby designer fur jacket, or a mountain man who has killed and skinned his own rabbits and then sewed them together with the ligaments of a passing deer. He has incredibly tanned skin, with wrinkles as deep as mountain ravines, crazy hair, long, thin, artistic-looking fingers, and is always sitting and reading pages and pages of tightly written curvy words. I tend to spend most of the bus ride trying to stare at him surreptitiously, and yesterday I actually spoke to him. Sure all it was to say ‘thanks so much’, because he let me out before him, but I think its the start of a great friendship. By the end of the year, I may have found out what rock band he used to play in.
After getting off the bus, I walked into the city. Whilst waiting for the lights to change, I was bent over my iPod, which made the pom-poms on the ends of my hat hang away from my body a little. As I was choosing the ‘shuffle’ option, a wrinkled hand stretched out and squeezed one of my pom-poms. I looked up to find a 70 year old man with a red face and orange hair leering down at me. When he saw the look of shock on my face, he muttered, ‘Sorry’, grinned and then ran down the street. It was truly bizarre. I’m not yet sure if he meant to squeeze the pom-pom, knowing it was sleazy, or if it was a total impulse, and he reached and grabbed one without thinking about and then was hugely embarrassed when he realised what he had done (hence the running away).
The reason I went into Cork yesterday was to meet up with a girl I had been in contact with through the internet. There is this thing called ‘Script Frenzy’, which I am attempting this year (see link: http://scriptfrenzy.org/ ). The challenge is to write a 100 page script in the month of April, and the website has forums, which allow you to talk to other people in your area who are attempting to do so as well. So, I had been messaging a fellow Cork girl and we had decided to have a writing ‘meet-up’ in town yesterday, it being the second day of the challenge. I found the cafe pretty easily, and, even though we hadn’t seen any photos of each other or said, ‘I’ll be the girl with the pom-poms on my hat and the trail of old men sneakily following behind’ or anything like that, when I walked in I recognised her immediately: a bespectacled girl sitting in the corner, with a huge laptop and a slightly expectant look on her face. She was very sweet, and we chatted easily about our scripts, which was great. As the afternoon wore on, though, she told me a variety of interesting things about herself, like the medieval fantasy novel she was writing, the fact that she had once paid 500 euro for a Star Trek convention in Germany, the internet role-play games that she was involved in, and that she had given up acting as an 18 year old to continue her medieval fighting lessons. I was torn between the urge to judge her damningly and also to ask more questions and find out more about this parallel medieval/fantasty/sci-fi universe she seemed to be living in that I have had so very little contact with. In the end, it didn’t seem like we had much in common apart from our writing, but it was certainly nice to get out of the house and chat to someone of my own age.
On the way back to the bus stop, I actually did stalk a couple, because they kind of looked like Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack, and anybody who has watched ‘North & South’ with me will know that my obsession with Richard Armitage is only slightly greater than my obsession with Sinead Cusack, and her hilariously fantastic Yorkshire accent (‘Ma sun Mrs. Hayle…’ Translation: ‘My son, Mrs. Hale….’), which I attempt to mimic for the entirety of the movie. Its actually not all that fun to watch ‘North & South’ with me, if you want to follow the storyline, or hear the dialogue. Anyway, there was this couple that kind of looked like craggy versions of Jeremy and Sinead, like, not the made-up-Hollywood versions, but the, ‘we’re just popping down the shops and can’t be bothered looking glamorous’ versions. And, I do know from a very emotional ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ episode that they live somewhere in South-West Ireland, so it wouldn’t be completely out of the realm of possibility that they were out for a day’s shopping in Cork. So, I stalked them going into Marks and Spencers. After observing them from various angles, however, as well as their interaction with the locals and, the fact that they were going into Marks and Spencers (which just seemed too ordinary for fabulous movie stars – surely they don’t have to buy ordinary things like food and drink, surely they just exist on their own fabulousness and only go to the store to buy diamond-encrusted necklaces for their pet swans or something… I mean, that’s the impression I get from tabloid magazines…), I decided it was most likely not them. However, by this point, I had just missed my bus home, and despite a most-movie-like run down the street after it, I had to return to the bus stop and wait for the next one. Thanks a lot, not-Jeremy Irons and not-Sinead Cusack.
So, in the end, I took a chance on a different bus route home, which went a very bumpy and picturesque, and probably extra long route. I think the bus driver knew I was getting on the wrong bus as well, because he gave me an extra big grin when he checked my ticket and thanked me. ‘Ha ha,’ he thought, ‘Another stupid tourist. I’m going to enjoy this.’ However, despite his evil intentions, I am grateful to him for not telling me, as I would have felt obliged to get off the bus if he had said anything, and I kind of wanted to go a different way home and see a bit of the countryside. Accidentally caught buses can provide all sorts of fun and interest, if the bus drivers would not insist on correcting every confused commuter that got on board and telling them the right bus to wait for (I’m reminded of the time in Year 8 or 9 when Nicole Fuller and I got on the 226 to get to my house at the top of Grandview Rd in Newcastle when we had missed the 363 and the 232 and were facing a one hour wait, and we saw the 226 and it said it was going past the John Hunter Hospital and Charlestown and we thought, ‘Well, where else could it go possibly go but past Grandview Rd?’ the answer of course being, ‘everywhere else in Newcastle’. But it was possibly one of the funniest and most exciting bus journeys I have ever had, as we spent most of the ride in slightly hysterical giggles, attempting to guess where the bus would next go, the light steadily getting darker, running into our friend Joel Pietersie’s dad, because, by this time, it was well past 5pm, and then giving us weeks of hilarious stories to tell our friends and years of personal jokes about the 226 and mock-angry, devastatingly funny, shakes of the fists in the air whenever we saw it go past). When I finally got home to Bandon, I thanked the bus driver extra politely, which he didn’t seem to like much. He nodded his head and frowned over the top of his cigarette.
Anyway, I then got dressed and headed out to meet up with a bunch of au pairs from the Bandon area at one of the local pubs.This turned out to be one of the best nights I have had so far. There was me, another Aussie au pair who I met last week, a Swedish au pair, a French one, a Spanish one and an Austrian one (kind of sounds like that start of a joke, really, or some sort of international au pair convention). There was much cackling, discussion of the great accessories people were wearing (such a woman moment), derision of the lack of talent amongst Irish men, and other important issues. I particularly liked the French girl, who had just had a long passage of Oscar Wilde tattooed on to her forearm. She told me she used to be normal until she met me, which I took to be a compliment. She was trying to convince me to get my own tattoo, which I’m still considering…
Anyway, we all have a plan to go out in Cork in two weeks time, which I am very much looking forward to, even though its the weekend my parents will be in Cork, and I don’t know how I’m going to juggle both. Perhaps Dad and Elizabeth would like to go out clubbing with me? Well, now, it was only a suggestion…
That evening we also met the Bananas in Pyjamas, who were for some reason visiting Bandon and who were also, interestingly enough, out for a drink at 9pm on a Saturday night, instead, of say, in a shopping centre, talking to kids at 9am on a Sunday morning (and who also were a lot dirtier than on TV – one grabbed the Spanish au pair’s arse), a very sweet 21 year old, who looked 12, and a very short Irish man who attempted to pick up most of our group one by one, a feat which, most surprisingly, failed on each of us, one after the other.
Well, that’s all the news for today, I’m a bit tuckered out after my ‘big night on the town,’ and haven’t got the energy to tie this all together. Instead I’ll let it peter out and turn in.