We are in university and we are invincible and we are alphas and betas and Charlie is being snorted off a toilet in the bowels of a sandstone fortress. We drink cheap wine out of necessity and beer out of funnels and the Kool-Aid out of tradition. We are navigating blurred memories and blurred lines and to some they are equally pliable. We need to get something off our chests but we would never dog the boys.
And a trip across Ireland means a front row seat to the physical manifestation of whatever gods there are. It means the greenest grass and crumbling walls and springtime lambs that are old enough to explore the paddock but too young to realise they’ll never get any further. It means travelling through towns with more pubs than people, towns like Ballindooley and Corrandulla, and it means stopping in Galway. It means strolling the Salt Hill Prom in search of a Galway Girl and finding nothing but Americans.
Her name could’ve been Eimear or Sinead or Siobhan. It could’ve been Aoife or Niamh or Cliodhna or Maeve. It could’ve been Bronagh or Caomihe and I prayed that it wouldn’t be Meabhdhgh and it wasn’t.
She had already booked a ticket to Australia when they broke up. They met in Wales and they dated for a while and then he moved to Australia. She was going to see him and live with him but then they broke up and she got gallstones. She said the gallstones weren’t related to the … Continue reading Gallstones are more painful than a broken heart or at least that’s what I’m told
We are marching into shops and asking about carbon pegs and bamboo cutlery and the difference between a Trangia and a Jetboil. We’re walking out with space blankets and flints, parachute chord and hunting knives, water filters and one She-wee each despite none of us being women. We are prepared for everything, even growing a vagina.
My friends and I are talking about Valentine’s Day. We’re arguing about cards and chocolate and capitalism and corporate greed. We’re asking if one rose is enough and if twelve is overkill and what the second-most romantic flower is. The answer is tulips, because there are two of them.
I’ve had them baked, boiled and lathered in butter, stuffed with sour cream and bacon and topped with melted cheddar cheese. There's been baby potatoes, potatoes roasted in duck fat and mashed with cream and deep-fried and dipped in tomato sauce. They’ve been mashed and mixed with spring onions, which isn’t called mash but champ, Champ. They're ruffled, they're hand-cut and they're flavoured with salt and vinegar and cheese and chives and what even is a prawn cocktail?
There are four things a woman should know: how to look like a girl, how to act like a lady, how to think like a man and how to bonk like a rabbit. These aren’t deeply held personal convictions, this is just information conveyed to me by a sign above a toilet. It’s where I get most of my information from and though it’s not necessarily the quickest medium, I’d argue that it’s more reliable than most news sources.
I had no plans to stand in line to see Paris Hilton – not that day, not any day ever – but when I walked past the barricaded area two hours prior to her scheduled appearance a line had already formed. I wondered, was I really going to stand in line for two hours to see Paris Hilton, a person I’ve had no interest in seeing until finding out she was appearing at a chemist? I asked the security guard if it would be busy later. ‘Mate, it’s easy,’ he said. ‘Just line up now, get a photo with a fucking hot chick and then you’re out.’ I couldn’t fault his logistics.
There are a few things that I know to be true. I know that Geoff Dyer is tall. I know he is a creature of habit. I know that his main priority is to find the best cappuccino and croissant in town. Any town. In fact, to call it a ‘main priority’ infers that there are lesser priorities when there simply are none. To locate a town’s best cappuccino and croissant is his calling; his life.