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September 16, 2001 Kilkenny, Ireland

From an email to a Canadian I met in Seville

This morning I awoke the phrase "cash crunch" in my head. A bit of a short-term crisis which for whatever reasons I've not even thought about. Enough for accommodation, no more... my passport's in Dublin, since I left it there in a check-cashing place forgetting to pick up that one last item on the way out of town. Not sure what I want... maybe to get out of Kilkenny maybe associating it with that tragic day. Unknown. But I decided to go out looking for other work. Maybe work for a month, two jobs — the kitchen porter job I'm doing starts at 6 p.m. Maybe go to Edinburgh... but who knows.

At Hibernian [a hotel,] where they weren't really looking to fill the part-time noon position I saw listed at the hostel, they pretty much scooped me up as a breakfast cook/lunch cook. They'll pay 250 pounds per week plus a piece of the tips. Living is cheap here — the 130 pounds or so per month tips should pay the rent.

At Lautrecs, where I'm working now, I've met some grand folks. J, about 40, from Dublin been living here for 8 years, extensively-traveled and speaks languages. M_, been in Kilkenny all her life, mid-30's, probably lesbian. Portly, jovial. Both just precious. We went out for some pool after work Thursday, then back to J_'s place after closing time. Had just a beautiful little "session" with some beers and other natural treats.

I'm sorry to hear the fortunes with women hasn't been fruitful. No luck here, either. I get really depressed about that sometimes.

I went to a coffeeshop the second day here, got a sweet smile. I met her the next day. She's from Wales. It was too busy then, so I went away to return later. When I went back, a coworker said "She's inside. She'll be back out in a bit. Her name's Lindsay." I didn't know what to feel about that, but certainly, I felt, I have to do something.

Wrong. Bad thinking. Faulty logic. Wrong. I walked right into her "I have a boyfriend" trap, and felt pretty shitty about it. Pretty resentful, really. I mean... something's up there, but it ain't nothing that does me any good.

I appreciate your comments about this changing world. I hope indeed that we begin to see some cooperation. I especially like hearing that from the "other side of the pond." I know that here in Europe, the show of solidarity has been overwhelming and impressive. (Friday was a national day of mourning — this town shut down and I mean shut down. One fast food, one small shop. No pubs. No nothing.) One of my fears has been that that little bastard and his puppetmasters will squander the goodwill offered by the civilized world.

This terrorism really requires a concerted and competent meeting of the minds; I'm afraid of the isolationist factions in America — the folks whose man is in the bully pulpit.

I'm worried too about the names we're hearing about again. Henry Kissinger... Newt Gingrich. Newt Gingrich. Henry Kiss-my-assinger. Where in the fuck have they been, shamed into the shadows in times of peace. Gingrich back on TV smiling — smiling. Sure, he's happy. These motherfuckers are licking their lips. William Safire is beating the wardrums like he's glad we have an enemy, any enemy.... And who should appear from the near-grave but Billy Graham. Always bad to see.

I read the other day that 21% of Americans believe we should retaliate immediately, while some 70% believe we ought to wait until we identify the perpetrators.

I fear for my country; I fear they are largely boneheads. Idiots. I find the mourning starting to mix very quickly with a sickening feeling of "wait a minute... why are all those flags so important?" I'm terribly averse to patriotism. This simplistic, proud emotion might be good for some people. It doesn't belong to me, and I find it offensive and truly frightening.

I hope that the U.S. can pry itself open to the rest of the civilized world.

I have to agree, this will play out in fascinating ways. On the bus from Athlone, I wrote the news as it came over the radio. I always like to do that — I did it in the Oklahoma City bombing. I'm not callous, but I can't help it. I find it fascinating to hear the news as it happens, when all the inaccuracies and confusion show the rip in the fabric of journalism and normal thinking. And this is a big story. Damn. There will be some changes in the world.

My friend Tim in Washington state suggested this might not be a good time to be abroad. I don't know. I don't feel like being in the states yet. We'll see how things go. Right now, though, I feel I am where I belong — traveling.

Well I better go. More soon, eh?