Way back. In San Francisco, I believe. In the figurative shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, I commented somewhat ironically in my journal about how important the very same was as a source of comfort and companionship in the absence of predictable others. While travelling alone. The outlet had gotten me through: jet lag in LA; giddying pleasure in SF; incarceration in Yosemite; I Fought The Law And The Law Won-related post traumatic stress while escaping from California; intoxicating solitude through the US Pacific north-west; contempt in Vancouver; disgust and suffered abuse in Las Vegas; death’s-door sickness in New Orleans; ultimately doomed feelings of love in New York; doomed feelings of love in Brighton; and finally recovering from rejection while fortunately staying with very extended family in London – perhaps the most impersonal and alienating city I’ve ever come across. Vancouver then New York would rate second and third, respectively. For more than two months, it had accepted my inner-most thoughts while I shielded it from rain and maybe theft.
There were times when I left the notepad simply under my hostel pillow while I journeyed during the day or bar-hopped during the night. In such a situation I would often feel guilty; like I’d left my young child at home unattended. My parasitic dependence on my journal was quite clearly indicative of my introversion. It was a friend I could pick up and discard at my convenience. Just like regular socialising, using it as a passive listener to express myself would exhaust me, as is the way of introverts. But I would swig all the more heartily at the bottle of life for the knowledge that I could recycle the energy gloriously onto its non-judgemental paper. And now, in respect of my efforts, at least, dear reader; its service has come full circle. The details it kept mostly hidden (except for my side-story about riding a Dragon through cold wet skies in the north-west USA) have after more than six months almost all been committed to Word Press. And whether you’ve been loving my story or judging it, the next move should you want to make one is yours.
It’s Thursday night, September 5 – two days before a conservative Australian government is swept into power on the back of paranoia and misinformation. A warm, windless early-spring evening. Blues In Hoss’ Flat by The Gene Harris Quartet plays on my phone through the Pandora app. I received a probably taxpayer-funded anti-Greens pamphlet from Brisbane, today, that I spent a 50c stamp on to send back to the Joseph Goebbels admirer who initially sent it. Instead of a Saturday night spent watching Tony Abbott’s impending prime ministership secured over the Telly. And my status as a young progressive in a land of the elderly and bigoted further maligned. I’ll be at the Red Deer Festival, west of Brisbane, with my exuberant pregnant semi-retired geologist half-sister and her resourceful strong-quiet-type husband. And my notes tell me Dublin’s coast in the evening sunlight was “quite enthralling from the air”. It was less-so from the ground. At Los Angeles, the US-Canada border, San Francisco (linking to Las Vegas from Vancouver) and Heathrow, London, at the end of all of my international transitions so far, I had been confronted by angsty or simply unhappy customs officials. Not so in Dublin.
My experience of customs there consisted of almost precisely: “Where did you fly from? For how long are you here? Have a nice stay.” Then a stamped passport. Delightful. I’d later come to the conclusion that the city and country desperately and almost no questions asked needed tourists and their money. I must’ve ordered a drink at Dublin Airport before heading into the city, because I wrote: “One thing I have to remember to find out is why do they give you a receipt for everything – even drinks at a bar – in Dublin, without being asked.” Still haven’t. Found out, that is. Considering the Irish reputation, alcohol is probably tax-deductible regardless of employment purposes. Maybe just for Guinness. That’s just about all I drank. Almost constantly. I caught the Airlink bus south to the, ahem, “city”. Naturally by 4pm it was already dark. I got off about a 15 minute walk south of my west-Rotunda area hostel, and reasoned it was a good tactic for which to familiarise myself with the area straight up. Google maps simply helps you get around, while hard-earned local knowledge helps you at least survive or, at most, have fun. After checking in, I turned right around and set forth for a night out in a city in which family removed by hundreds of years surely lingered amid the lamp-lit, cobblestoned streets.