A History Of Great Mistakes


The luck of the Irish – pt 1
March 1, 2009, 11:46 pm
Filed under: Dublin | Tags: , , , , ,

Huddled next to the fire, I sat in a nameless pub over the Liffey on the bad side of Dublin.

I looked around me.

There wasn’t a single person I’d known for more than a day nearby. And there appeared to be an ever increasing crowd of people who were focusing on me, convinced that I was an Englishman on their land, drinking their beer and talking to their women. I’d spent the last hour trying to convince them that I was Welsh, but I didn’t get the impression that they were buying it.

Didn’t help that I’d occasionally slip into my brummie accent either.

A sound of smashing glass came from outside. Somewhere in the background of Dublin a corner shop was getting turned over. Everyone cheered as the Guarda ran down the street past the window.

Everyone, that is, except me.

It was Wednesday night, I’d been in Ireland since Saturday, and I had no idea where I was or how to get back to the hostel we were staying in.

This wasn’t what I’d had in mind when I’d said yes to a holiday with Lewis and Gez a month before.

It had been roughly a year since my ill-fated date with Sky, and life had just about managed to get itself back to normality.

Which, in other words, meant that I was stressed out of my mind at work, and still single.

To make myself feel better about my lack of a personal life, I’d take each opportunity I could to chat with attractive customers. And I’d take particular care and attention with one customer, a waitress from Totally Thai, a local Asian eatery. Good heavens was she a picture of loveliness. I could have spent hours staring at her smile.

My ogling from afar was frequent, and incredibly pathetic. I hung on her every word, but I couldn’t muster up more than a few bites of conversation with her. She taught me how to greet people in Thai (khok un khrap – almost certainly not spelled correctly, but close), and brightened up my day on more than one occasion.

But, she was out of my league (or so I thought back then), I’d had another failed date with a girl who was very pretty (but more in touch with God than dating), and a very small part of me was still hung up on Sky.

To cap it all off – it had been well over a year since I’d been laid. A painful fact that wasn’t helped by regularly hearing about how well Lewis was doing at Cardiff University.

I’m not sure if it was the Indiana Jones link in people’s minds, or just that Lewis stepped his game up into overdrive after sixth form – but man alive was he swimming in women when they found out he was training to become an archeologist.

Each and every week I was hearing about someone else that he was dating.

He was an utter bastard, and I was incredibly jealous.

My plan of ‘not going to university to avoid wasting my time’ had backfired completely into making me waste my life. It was an incredibly low period for me.

On a hot Tuesday summer night much like any other at the time, mid waitress thought and internet porn browsing, I got an unexpected call from Lewis.

“Hello mate! How’s you?” said Lewis, obviously beaming down the telephone line.

I looked at the discarded pizza boxes, crusty socks and flickering desk lamp around me. ‘Life is terrible mate – I’m thinking of jumping off a cliff somewhere, or emigrating’ I thought.

“Yeah, not too bad” I said, deciding to not burden him with my thoughts. “Everything alright with you? Been awhile since I’ve heard from you and Gez…!”

“Indeed!” said Lewis, still beaming “That, my friend, is because we have come up with a plan. How do you fancy a holiday? Just the thr–”

“God yes!” I said, cutting him off mid-word.

Lewis laughed. “Well, I guess that’s settled then! Gez is thinking of somewhere cheap, maybe somewhere like Spain, Greece, or somewhere else like that. What do you think?”

I’d never been abroad before. Well, unless you counted Wales, in which case I’d been abroad for four years of my life. “I don’t have a passport mate…!” I said, putting a slight dampener on the conversation.

There was a brief pause. “Mate – I can sort that. We can get you a passport in a few weeks. Well, that is if you’d be up for a holiday abroad…”

My bank account had taken a right royal beating over the past few months. A misfired attempt at learning to drive and building a nice gaming computer had both eaten away whatever savings I’d squirreled away, and I was close to penniless. But, I did work at a bank. And I had just the other week been offered a staff credit card. Which was gold. And I did like the sound of having a gold card… “Mate – I’m up for it” I said, thinking ‘to hell with it’.

“That’s all I needed – leave it with me and I’ll get all the balls rolling! In the meantime, get yourself a passport application, and get in touch with my Dad, he’ll vouch for you, and then you can get yourself on a fast-track…!”

“It’s a deal!” I replied.

Lewis said that “time was of the essence”, wished me well and hung up.

‘I’m going abroad! With my mates!’ I thought as I closed down the porn window and opened up a holiday search engine. ‘This is going to be great!’

Lewis, Gez and I arranged a good week that worked for all of us via text the following morning, and I booked a week off in the afternoon. I grabbed a passport application the next day, and sent it off to Lewis’ father for a reference. Within two weeks, I had my passport, my credit card, and a theoretical expenditure limit in my head.

My mood picked up at work, and whenever my favourite Thai waitress would come in, I’d even find some time to drop the odd flirt into my conversations with her.

And from time to time, to my surprise, she’d drop the odd one or two back into her conversations with me.

These were happy times.

But with a week to go before ‘our big adventure’ neither Gez or I had heard from Lewis.

We were both starting to think our grand plan may have just been a pipe dream…

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Having pretty much lived in Dublin for 3 years, what the B*****y B******s were you doing in an establishment where the ‘A’ is on that map?!?!?!!!!!

Comment by SIYLMT

Erm… ‘All will be revealed shortly’… 😳

On a slightly different note – guess that I must have got that little map marker pretty much spot on…!

Comment by Pete




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