16 March 2007

Apocalypse Ireland.

Earlier this week came shocking news that the consumption of Guiness is in fairly steep decline in Ireland. Now, apropos of St. Patrick's Day, National Revieiw Online justifies its existence with a symposium on the crisis:

It was a summer night and we talked and walked for a good while, and she answered that yes, the grass really was that green. The Guinness? “Better back home than here.” And I could just taste it: creamy-topped brown-black Irish Guinness pulled long and slow in a dark thatchy pub. Lip-licking perfect, and not too many steps later I thought it was nice when she asked about my America, a place where we agreed a true Guinness pint was not to be found. “Been yet to California?” “Work in any of these buildings here we’re passin’?” Soon enough we were discussing my living situation, which back then was occasionally at my parents’ house and the rest of the time was elsewhere. I noted that when I was back home in Queens that I slept on the floor in my old bedroom, which had been taken over by my younger brothers who had stolen the beds. “No bed, but I make do,” and as I said this I felt the strong simple Irishman inside me emerge. But I had fouled, apparently badly, and the mythical Irish beauty (when you didn’t look) beside me altered in haunting way.

“You Americans are always complainin’ bout sumthin’, aren’t yeh?” snipped the Hag. “Be thankful y’have space enough for sleepin’ at all.” That savor in my mouth — brought on by the imagined perfectness of the perfect pint in Ireland — vanished. I was a Joycian creature lost in the night, tasting the hollow dryness of anguish and anger.



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