their goodness, their guinness

… whack fol the daddy o … there’s whiskey in the jar …

If you’ve ever wondered about that photo up at the top of the page (assuming I haven’t changed it and it is still a picture of some guys drinking), there is a very short story about it.

This is the photo I'm referring to. I added a randomizer to the header, so this should help this post make sense.

I was in Ireland, with some friends and their band, on tour. The only show played outside of Dublin was in Cork, which is a few hours drive to the south-west of the capital. We arrived late in the afternoon, and went to the pub, The Lobby, to set up. After doing that, we took a quick wander around the neighborhood. It was beautiful — the pub sat on the intersection on one side of a bridge. Across the street was a big old bank, lit up with yellow lights shining up the facade of vertical columns. The sun was going down over the mountains, and the lights were reflecting off the river. And somewhere, thousands of miles away, the world was going about its business.

While we waited, a couple of us wandered in to the little bar next door, and found the only seat to be a small piece of wood sitting atop three kegs, immediately behind the bar, under the stairs, next to the narrow hall that led to the bathrooms. I had my camera with me to take some shots of the show later on, but lifted it up for some unknown reason, turned off the flash to avoid pissing anyone off in this dark little room, and snapped. The picture above is the end result.

I don’t know anyone in the photo, they were all regulars, and no-one stopped to wonder why this guy was taking their picture. But, to me, it perfectly captures the feeling in that little pub that night, and a feeling that has bubbled up in many little pubs just like it that I’ve wandered into over the course of my life. It’s a welcoming feeling, a comforting feeling. There is a warmth to it, one that is hard to match. In that room, on that night, I was lucky enough to find myself in just the right place.

And then I got drunk and got lost on the walk home.

motoring madness

… beep beep … beep beep … yeah …

I was driving home the other night and while sitting at a red light, the driver behind me starting randomly honking his horn. I looked in the mirror and the guy wasn’t even looking in my direction. I tried to work out why he might have been doing it, but had no idea — the light was still red, there was nowhere for me to go, my lights were on, no indicator flashing. I was stumped, and he seemed focused on something on his passenger seat anyway.

When the light changed, we took off, and the random honking continued for a little bit and then stopped. At the next light, it started up again, but now he was in the lane next to me. I turned off that road, cut through some back streets to make a stop at an ATM, and when I pulled back on to a main road closer to home, I hit another red light. All of a sudden, this honking starts again, I look up and there is the same car.

At that moment, it dawned on me that it wasn’t the driver (who had both hands on the top of the steering wheel), his car had Tourette’s!

escalator etiquette

… feel my head touch my face … two steps back you’re in my space …

When you get on an escalator, can you stand on the step right behind someone or do you have to leave an empty step?

If you stand on the step right behind them, are you tailgating? Are you sending a message to them, asking them to move to the side so that you can pass? Are you just being rude? If they don’t move, are they being rude?

tat for ticket

… lovely Rita … meter maid … where would I be without you? …

Have you ever got a parking ticket? Have you ever begged a parking inspector to not ticket your car, only to have them give it to you anyway?

I’ve been the lucky winner of three parking tickets in my life. I don’t remember why I got the first one, but it was back in Melbourne — think it might have been an expired meter. I got the second one for parking on a street that turns to permit-only after 7pm — there are far too many permit-only streets in L.A. The third one was a beauty. I parked in a spot with a meter four minutes before the meters turned off for the evening. I didn’t have any change in my pocket and thought to myself, “Four minutes? No-one will give me a ticket for that.” Sure enough, the ticket was time-stamped 5:59pm, one measly minute before 6!! The judge agreed it was silly and I didn’t have to pay that one. But, I can still hear the evil laughter spewing from the parking inspector as he slid the ticket under my wiper, thinking what a funny guy he was and how much he loved his job.

Today, I got a little sweet revenge.

A couple of months ago, I was driving on a street in my neighborhood when I saw one of those cars with “parking enforcement” emblazoned on it. It was parked on the side of the road, under a tree, nicely shaded. As I got closer, I realized there was someone in the driver’s seat, laid back, taking a nap. It was 9:30am, so I don’t think he was on his lunch break. I decided that even though it was my tax dollars he was snoring away, I would show a little mercy, give him the benefit of the doubt and let him sleep off whatever he’d gotten up to the night before. I figured that showing him the courtesy that he has probably denied so many others was a friendly gesture.

When I drove past the same spot late this afternoon and the same guy was in the same spot catching another forty winks, I decided it was time for a little action. The nice lady at the City Department of Transportation happily took down the license plate and said she would investigate. She even understood why I might not want to give her my name — apparently, there is no “blue wall” as far as parking inspectors go.

It might have been petty, and I might have felt like a snitch for a moment or two, but that passed quick. I figure that karma balanced itself out just that little bit more, and I’m glad I could help.