5.16 The Irish Gentleman


"There's a lot of activity going on around you," the psychic said. This would be the first, and still the only time, my podcast co-host and co-producer have done an interview together. We arranged to speak with a psychic, and since I've never gotten a reading, I offered to volunteer myself. I'm inherently skeptical about this kind of thing, but am also quite fascinated by it. There's no big reason why I've never gotten a reading, many times late at night, walking down the street - probably after a few drinks - I’ve seen the neon signs of palm readers and psychics and thought I should do this at some point. And then I'd think, I just don’t want to know. Whatever was going to happen was going to happen. The psychic said many interesting things, but a curious comment caught my attention: she told me I'd be going to Ireland at some point over the next year and something very important was going to happen to me there. Didn't think much of it, Ireland wasn't in the cards, wasn't a place I planned to visit. Absolutely no reason to head to Ireland.

Fast forward a few months and an opportunity to attend a conference popped up. At the end of the proposition, I asked where the conference was and of course the answer came back: Dublin. Paused, in that pause was the memory of the psychic. Something important is going to happen to you there. Now, as outlined above, the skeptic in me reasoned this coincidence away as just that: a coincidence. But another part of me, one that tries to listen to what the world whispers to you, that side said pretty much right away: sure, let's do it.

But now, as I'm getting ready to go, I'm wondering if I'm expecting too much. Decided to write out a few scenarios, so when these don't happen, I won't be too disappointed.

Maybe I'll fall in love. Maybe. I've been on many airplanes and always tried to board as quickly as possible. Not for any reason like to make sure there's room for my bag in the overhead compartment. Want to be sitting in my row with an empty seat, anticipating every single woman that comes walking down the aisle will sit next to me, we'll strike up a conversation and we'll realize we were destined to find each other. Always disappointed.

Continually disappointed. In the book I'm working on, I wrote a lot about my past relationships and how I fucked most of them up. Not in a self-pitying way, or at least I hope not, more in a way to help me understand the mistakes I made. You know, to help me grow and evolve as a human being. During the editing of the book, I've had to re-visit some of these past relationships and instead of feeling bad or sad, really I just came to appreciate these people more. The weird thing over the past few weeks was that the person I missed the most, the one I never really reconciled with, never really had any closure with, through some glitch in the Matrix, she started showing up in my LinkedIn feed. We're not connected through any social media platform, don't even have any mutual friends anymore. Yet, there she was, almost as though since I'd been thinking about her, she appeared.

I've just sort of given up on following in love, feel it's a misused word. Not being cynical, just realistic as I've come to understand that it just ain't for everyone. Time is getting short and one of the few places the word love still holds meaning is with my friends. Friends who use the word liberally, but seem to have a different inflection in that word than I'm used to. So, I'm trying to get used to a different kind of love, let go of the kind of love that I SHOULD have and instead embrace the kind that is offering itself.

But that flight to Ireland will be different. I'll be sitting there, empty seat beside me as usual. Everyone will slowly get on the plane, doors almost closing. I think maybe at least I'll have no one sitting beside me, I can stretch out. Then a woman comes panting down the aisle. She almost missed the plane and plops done beside me. We strike up a conversation, find out we have much on common. Did I mention she was beautiful? We're supposed to be sleeping on the overnight flight, but we talk the entire time.

The plane lands, we collect our bags and part ways. And I'm walking away and I think, What the hell am I doing? Run through the airport, find her. We spend the next ten days together, rent a car, drive out the city, stay in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. When it's time to go, we do actually part ways because we have no choice, but something in me had changed, that thing where just above I said I'd given up on a certain kind of love, that entire concept shatters and even though I'd never see this person again, well, I found myself profoundly okay with that.

Maybe something else will happen. Maybe one night I'll be at a local pub drinking some Guinness. It'll get late, too late and I'm not paying attention. Some guys will jump me, kick the shit outta me, steal everything, all my identification. The police will be no help and I'm lost and alone in Ireland. Walk out of the city cause I have no choice and I keep walking until I'm delirious. And then yes, you knew it was coming, the first of two stereotypical comments about Ireland: I'll come across a leprechaun. But there's no pot of gold, no lucky charms, just an angry and bitter leprechaun. But his bitterness is a test because leprechauns are the Buddhas of Ireland and there was much I needed to learn. Spend years walking up and down green rolling hills, my hair grows long, the beard I've never grown comes in, gets long. And one day walking along a dirt road, the leprechaun explaining to me the concept of impermanence, something clicks in my brain, grab him by the neck and shove me to the ground and tell him to shut up. Beside him on the ground is a four leaf clover (second stereotypical comment). I’m gentle with it and know its importance.

The first thing I do when I reach the city is cut my hair into a stylish mullet, trim my beard down to a wide handlebar, adopt the style of a top hat, tails and a cane like a true Irish gentleman. Pin the four leaf clover to my lapel. Simply walk around the streets tipping my hat respectively at elderly men and hold doors open for pretty ladies. My job is to walk around, have people wonder what the hell I actually do, but what I really do is know that leprechauns do exist, that stone gargoyles come alive at night and words are merely words that hold little meaning, the real meaning living inside the small gesture of a tip of the hat or a smile in the street to a stranger or coming to the understanding that all expectations are just bull shit.

And maybe nothing will happen in Ireland.