Home page

Contemporaneous notes

Timewise in Europe

Timewise files



Contemporaneous notes, 2002

I called my parents on New Years Eve, for the first time since I was in Spain. My friend and "drunken coach" E_ convinced me I have to call my parents, even if I don't feel like it--"They're your parents." Truth is, I've been feeling a heaviness of remorse about the years I've stayed in poor contact with Mom and Dad, who really are dear sweet people.

— January 2, 2002 Kilkenny

I've met some good people here and I'm going to stay in Kilkenny for a while. Very nice community. My only difficulty now really is that I need to make some money. Folks are buying me pints and getting me high--good folks, as I said, and I'm feeling guilty. Got to pick up a few quid. (Shit; what are they called informally now--we've converted to the Euro.)

— 11 January, 2002

Yeah, the holidays sucked a bit for me too. Again, part of it I think is just too much of what other people think it's supposed to be like. Oh well. New Year's was nice--if only because plans (going to the nightclub, especially) didn't work out. It turned out to be like a normal, good night out with the "lads"--a non-gender-specific term, at least in Kilkenny. — 11 January 2002

I've been very fortunate, too--above all, of course--to have met some people here who are my friends, and who have been supportive and helpful. I've made it through a lean winter, none the worse for wear. I'm doing well.

— 2 February 2002

As you know, I quit my dishwashing job at Lautrec's to be a cook at the new place Moody Cool's ("Moodey Cool's" on the misspelled sign out front.) What a joke. My hours dwindled; the last weekend I worked, I worked 3-1/2 hours. The next weekend, Simon said he didn't have any hours for me; there wasn't enough business. He sat up off the floor of the upstairs dining area, obviously recovering from an unmerciful hangover. The next day I saw Noel, who'd not showed up for three weeks. He said he'd worked the night before. So I went and told Simon what a dickhead I thought he was.

Out of work. I looked rather intensively for weeks. Met J_ on the streets on many occasions; he looking for work as well. J_ got a job through a friend, working security at a department store in Market Cross shopping center, here within the old city walls.

I found a job at Cafe Sol. It seemed a neat job. Neat people there; but when J_ called me told me to come down to Heaton's, (I'd submitted an application on his suggestion) the job change was a given. A good kitchen job? Fuck that....

I'm in the middle of a weekend, and that's a strange and wonderful thing.

— 17 February 2002

I just got another job. Would you believe it's my 7th job in Ireland, if you don't count that 1 day's trial at Pordylo's here in Kilkenny.

— 17 February 2002

You mentioned a realization that The Truth begins to seem less unique (I think Roy Phillips would disuade me from using a qualified use of the word "unique.") I remember a sort of a loss with the onset of that feeling....

...

Yes I smoked a bit after work and before I came here.

Anyhow, I don't like to rule things out if they have not been shown to be wrong. But there's some of this shit that's just too much for words. Ah, well, religion....

The Irish can actually be quite devastating toward the Catholic church. Of course, with the humor of a people whose humor is legendary--who've needed that humor in their history... It's hard to tell how deep runs the sympathy to the Church's underlying premises. This country is arse-wise over religion, in it's politics. No doubt about that; no doubt at all.

I've heard some rude jokes about members of the clergy that I wouldn't even repeat in secular company.

— 25 February 2002

Top of page,

Contemporaneous notes 2002


_______________

March 2002

Went out on an unmerciful piss* the other night. Not used to having evenings off; J_ and I went for an early pint at Syd's Pub. And, well, it turned into an all-evening affair. We met M_ and G_, went up to J_'s house after Syd's closed. Smoked a bit there. Anyhow I showed up for work in none-too good repair. I was fortunate that it blew over nicely enough. It's Ireland. Blew over is right, too--colleague Yvonne said she could smell the drink on me.

...

Today is a lovely cool but sunny Saturday. No plans; got some things I want to pick up around town. Might go to the castle park. Brilliant place. It's about a half-hour's walk around inside the perimeter of the medieval stone wall that surrounds the 50 acre grounds. Entry is free and restricted only by daylight hours; the perimeter is wooded, the large center a rolling lawn.

Missed my birthday party

Friday was my birthday but J_ got the word out that it was Thursday. All the folks were drinking Thursday night. They all went to the late club Langton's in fact.

By Friday, everybody was hurting. M_ was "in bits," and J_ was "dying." I was fine. There wasn't a big initiative to get me out on my birthday. E_ tried, but I wasn't in the humor. Seldom am, to go to a late club. Funny that I sort of missed my birthday party--or it missed me.

— 3 March 2002

The Irish department store is different than the American. Oh, they got the same shit; and it looks the same old way. But nobody expects me to walk up to them and say "may I help you?" And, really, people are very patient waiting in line....

There's this cool woman there named Y_ (pregnant and married, so perfectly platonic if you see what I mean) who works at Heaton's. She's mad; we like each other a lot. She gets a lot of the humor in some of my more aggitated comments. Very helpful. Anyhow, she's been serving as the interim union shop [steward] since another woman quit. Today, she was telling folks that without a shop [steward,] the employees haven't a leg to stand on in a particular dispute. I said "I'll do it," sort of joking. But Y_ caught it and wondered if I would. She suggested I talk to J_, as he's done such a thing. Who knows. It could be interesting.

— 4 March 2002

Anyhow. Got some good sleep last night. The night before I was out a bit late. Went to Syd's for some pints and pool with J_. Went up to his place after for a smoke. We were laughing it up until four o'clock snuck upon us. No big loss, just a bit tired at work.

It's a Saturday and sunny too. I don't know what I will do with my day. I'm not used to my new schedule. I'll probably go for a liesurely walk, maybe down the river a bit. Probably go out to Syd's this evening, but skip the nightclub.

...

The abortion referendum went down yesterday. That was an opportunity to set the clock backward, and it deserved to fail much more sorely than it did, in my opinion. It would have eliminated the threat of suicide as an allowable danger to a woman's life. In other words, it would have made the law more restrictive. I'm glad it failed.

— 9 March 2002

Manufactured bands are big in Ireland....

A woman standing down below gave the international sign for "do you have a lighter." I went for one in my pocket, but saw one on the table, and handed it to her. She lit her cigarette, and kept the lighter. I thought I saw her stick it in her cigarette pack. I asked her about it and she ignored me. I was not going to let it pass....

— 16 March 2002

...But I Didn't push the girl....

_________

There's a stereotype of the Irish that they drink a lot. I have to say, I can't refute this bias....

— 17 March 2002, St. Patrick's Day

_________

Weather today is gray and rainy. It's Irish. It's Saint Patrick's Day.

— 17 March 2002, Kilkenny

_________

It's Holy Thursday, the day commemorating the day before three days before Easter....

— 28 March 2002, Kilkenny

Top of page,

Contemporaneous notes 2002


_______________

April 2002

J_,

No; I think you're right; Jesus didn't really awake from a coma on Easter Sunday, or any other day that Easter supposedly commemorates. He died on the Friday that Good Friday commemorates (strange they call it that) and he didn't wake back up or come back to life nor nothin'.

This weekend in the Irish Times, there was an article entitled "Did Jesus really rise from the dead?" It wasn't a brilliant article, but I thought it notable that such a piece would be in the newspaper. There were the arguments supporting both positions. (Needless to say there wasn't much in the "yes" column to sway a reasonably logical person.) There's hope for these Catholic bastards--actually, the degree of examination of religious matters is encouraging here. God knows they need it.
...

Yesterday, four of us went out to Kells Priory, a monk's communal dwelling from the medieval times. That was neat. Being Easter day, the place was virtually devoid of people. We hiked all over the site, climbed the main square tower house, sat on the walls. Damn impressive place. Little scary, going up into the main tower, crossing from a renovation scaffolding about 20 feet up, across a mossy stone ledge. Worth the trip though. We went up into what seemed might have been a dining area, and tried to figure out how the old wooden structure would have fit into the stone that remains. E_ "skinned up;" rolled a joint. It was a good little trip out of town.
...

p.s. It's a bank holiday today. Paid day off. Stranger and stranger, this life out of the kitchens.

— 1 April 2002, Kilkenny

_________

I'm going to go to Dublin this next week and pick up a computer. I got out this morning, as per plan, and got a "Buy and Sell" classified newspaper. The first number that I called turned out to be the best, and I called the other attractive ones to be sure of rounding it out; but I rang the other guy back just after I took a break for some food, a cup of tea, think about it....

— 13 April 2002, Kilkenny Anyhow I got this computer for a hundred euros from a well-to-do young family man in Ashbourne, about ten miles out of Dublin, out in the country. I tried to organize a trip with E_ driving G_'s car, with J_ navigating. A lot of variables, and E_ scuppered out a little bit, on Tuesday night. He'd not really committed, but I had a word to him about it anyway just because he likes to be contested.

But it was really my operation; nobody should know how important this is to me anyhow. Turn things the way they do, it was a natural for me to go get the thing myself. So I went and got it on the bus. People talked about it, too, and I liked that. I met K_ when I was getting off the bus near my flat—I told him what I had done, and he says "I know; everybody knows." Tickled me, as the Edwards' say.

— 22 April 2002, Kilkenny

Top of page,

Contemporaneous notes 2002


_______________

May 2002

P_,

I'm not online, but carry the goods between home and cybercafe—which is across the street.

Anyhow. Please let me know where you are. I know you're on planet Earth, because civilian travel beyond isn't feasible yet. Other than that, I don't think anything would surprise me. So lay it on me.

— 12 May 2002, Kilkenny

_________

Well, there goes all the goodwill that America gained on September 11th. We just entered the 1/4-finals in the World Cup.

— early Summer 2002.

_________

"No shit Sherlock:" Missile offense, Worldcom, and the dollar — a news mosaic

— June 2002, Kilkenny

_________

Top of page,

Contemporaneous notes 2002


_______________

July 2002

I am writing on a computer in my flat and carrying files on disk to the internet café across the street, here in
Kilkenny Ireland. — July 2002
It was one of those email moments that you'd only understand if you had to use public access and got some hard news—you go about your business, and you don't really think about what you've just read. Not until later.

— 4 July 2002, Kilkenny

_________

C_,

I fucked up my back a good one and spent some time in bed. I'm better, but I can't pay the rent this week. K_, the guy who I sublet from, was a prick when I talked to him yesterday.

K_ told me he wants all the money, that part of it won't do. More I thought about that, the more I realized well then, fuck him. He'll wait until I get it. Fuck it; if he could treat me with respect, I'd run all over town to borrow the fucker and give it to him now. Dick.

— 13 July 2002, Kilkenny

_________

J_,

I went to an osteopath today and he took a knot out to my back that was fucking me up in a big way. My god, what a relief.

Jesus I was worried too. I'm like a pig in shit here in Kilkenny and I don't need anything jamming my buzz--anything like being unemployed and unemployable, for example. That was worse than the pain, just worrying about what the fuck is going to happen.

Oh, Jasus I feel better. Ima be back to work tomorrow and everything. The pain is fading quickly. It's a good feeling.

I'm working at Heaton's, a small shopping-mall retail store, stocking the gents' department and working the cash register--wearing a tie and clocking it down 9-6 M-F. Strange but true.... Pay's dick, but fuck it. It's a dawdle, and the folks down there are cool enough--mostly a bunch of Irish women. Not bad at all.

I've met some excellent people here in Kilkenny, and consider five people to be my friends. That's a lot of fucking friends in one town, in my opinion. And, bein' that these are Irish friends, we get to see each other a lot, because we're frequently out for pints.

— 16 July 2002, Kilkenny

_________

I went to an osteopath today, and it's probably the best thing I've done for myself in a while. I finally had to do something, because I had become debilitated. The problem recurred yesterday at work, and although I made it through the day, I was pretty crippled and in pain at the end of it.

— 16 July 2002, Kilkenny

_________

Oddly enough—and I like to speak of this in the respectful low tones that one uses to avoid conjuring any kind of a jinx—I'm working legally now, though I'm not quite sure how.

— 16 July 2002, Kilkenny

_________

I've been working almost exclusively at the cash register last week and this week. It's the fuckin sale that all stores have at this time of year in Ireland. Jesus. Busy. And all this talk of the economy and tourism down and all--our shop is up considerably from last year. I spend almost all day on the cash register. It's been "wrecking my head."

— 29 July 2002, Kilkenny

Top of page,

Contemporaneous notes 2002


_______________

October, 2002

A_,

I've been stuck, trying to think of something to say to express a feeling that you and I have in common--this pacifism, if you'd call it that; this wish for peace.

I cannot catalogue or address all of the ways that I find the idea of a proposed American war on Iraq to be wrong. And, if I may be so bold, I think that the burden of proof ought to be upon those who argue that war is necessary. Arguments against war seem in a way to be a pandering engagement of an inhumane discussion.

Civilian death is murder, and unnecessary war is a crime against humanity.

— 14 October 2002, Kilkenny

Top of page,

Contemporaneous notes 2002


_______________

November 2002

_________

Wow, am I sore. I worked today dragging Christmas trees. My friend Glen got me the job, and today was my first day. I'm going to sleep well tonight.

— 28 November 2002, Kilkenny

Contact