Ireland Part 3: Bath Salts, Heartbreak and Hipsters

19 Nov

Gin Rummie can suck my dick as it has proven to be a cheaters game and a cruel, sadistic tool of evil.  My fellow travelers are ruthless sadists hell-bent on laughing as each deal digs me deeper into a pit of insanity.  I lead the youngest in our group by sixty points, which would be great, if he hadn’t missed the first three games.  I am a disgrace, but I would rather be a loser in Ireland than the Pharaoh of Clifton Park—which I’m working on also.  We started the card game the first night and will continue keeping a running score until the group split up later on in the trip.  I will never be in the lead, and the game will never cease to be a source of heartache and regret.  Just a miserable fucking card game.  This was taken word for word from my journal.  Just raw emotion.

I snorted bath salt. I am not so much proud of this act as I am extremely prideful in the memory and retelling of the act. It takes a special mood to snort bath salt. I would argue one would have to be in a foreign land, I would continue to say one would need to be riding an irresistible wave of willing-suspension-of-reasonable-thinking. I was in Ireland and we bought the crazy powder the second day in Dublin. We were looking for a weed substitute but as is always the case, there simply is no substitute for the magical plant. So, we bought fake coke at the insistence of the burnt out, rail thin, clerk behind the counter of a head shop we spotted from the train. The man could not have weighed more than 120 lbs and the bags under his eyes could hold a couple bowling balls.  Shoddy tattoos peeked out from around his shirts deep V-neck and dripped down his arm like running pools of ink. He told us the phony coke would burn through the nose and that we should instead, roll up a wide straw and inhale the powder, a thought that did not sit well with me.  Call me old-fashion but anything that can’t be absorbed through my nose just shouldn’t be in my body. Period. We asked the clerk what was in the powder, because besides the words ‘bath salt’ in small-print on the back of the package, there were no ingredients or hints as to what was actually in the little baggy. His answer was ominous but strangely satisfying.

“You’ll be fine, but if I knew what was in it, I wouldn’t be able to sell it to ye.”

Fair enough, we thought. This was Ireland, who were we to question a professional headshop clerk. We bought two grams and set out for a bar for some rich, almost-creamy, Guinness and to continue our optimistic pursuit of strange and wonderful Celtic Vag.

We returned to a bar we had bought lunch at earlier in the day. It was starting to fill-up so we went out to the patio with a couple pitchers of a strange brew. Posted up on a table on the warm night we each took turns disappearing into the restroom to ingest the cocaine substitute.  The night and the location could not have been more perfect.  We had claimed a table on the edge of the patio overlooking a back-alley square where cooks and workers from four different buildings congregated to smoke.  The temperature was cool but not cold and younger and better looking women were settling on the patio by the minute.  And the bath salt was an incredible success. I do not partake in the real thing but I would say this shit was as good as any Colombian export. We were jazzed, and we were drunk.  Our conversations began taking deeper and more profound routes.  We went from figuring out what we would do the next day to what we thought the fundamental err of man could be.  Each topic brought on a passion that could only manifest through the ingestion of dangerous chemicals.

At one point during the night, my buddies all scampered off to the bathroom to snort bath salt, leaving me alone– and twitchy—while I attempted to eye-seduce a woman sitting at the table opposite myself.   I have many characteristics that could be considered ‘quirks’ one of the most frustrating of these personality anomalies is my reluctance to hit-on girls in front of my friends or peers.  I cannot help but feel like a shmuck as I feed lines to some half-interested floozy.  This is most likely due to the fact then when I see other Men doing the same, I think they look pathetic and one thing I am not, is a hypocrite. All that said, I still enjoy female company from time to time so as is the case in life, timing is everything.  With my friends out of the picture for the most difficult opening-sequence of the mating ritual, I decided I should make contact while I was still alone.

She had long, deep-brown hair with light-blue, almost grey eyes and some freckles that only added to her appeal. She  was wearing a plaid shirt and lowcut, tight jeans. An aura of gentle stoicism radiated from her half-smirked lips and inscrutable eyes.  She was sitting with four other people: two good-looking girls (both blonde), one horrible monster (she carried a sort of perma-scowl and her eyes always threatened physical violence) and, finally, some hipster-looking dirtbag whom I took a disliking to immediately. My Brown-Haired Beauty looked over at me and I made little effort to hide my interest. She made a silly face, to which I responded with a far sillier and far more intense distortion of my face.  I knew at once I had gone too far with my silly face.  There was nothing silly about it, it must have looked horrifying and grotesque…but the result was positive. She laughed sweetly and took out a pack of cigarettes, holding them up to me, shaking them slowly back and forth and looking questioningly.  The smirk never left her lips. I don’t smoke cigarettes because they don’t have any effect on me, but I had just snorted bath salt so what the hell?

I walked over and snagged a cig. She lit hers, then mine, took a drag and looked into my soul.

“American?” She asked, as was the practice of every single person we encountered. To my surprise, and disappointment, she spoke with a strained French accent.

“Yeah, that obvious, eh? And you are French?” I asked while trying to keep my voice from shaking with bath-salt induced adrenaline.

“Yes, I am here for work. I have been here for a year living in Dublin.” She smiled, and then introduced me to the rest of the table.

They were all French and they were all on some kind of work-abroad program. The sole male in the group—the hipster–was my mistress’ ex-boyfriend and her three friends were not interested in me whatsoever. I reinforced the immediate disliking to her ex-boyfriend and went out of my way to box him out of our conversation, like a forward after a free-throw.

“I apologize for my lack of French. I should know more.” I said shamefully, once again pretending it was only the two of us at the table.

“No, no, see, the rest of the World, we all only take English. You can choose to take Spanish or German or Chinese. We only take English.” She explained emphatically as the two blondes rolled their eyes and the Gargoyle hissed something at the Hipster.

By this time, the rest of my group was returning, and they were wide-eyed and bushy-tailed;  bath salt seeping from their pores.  We all started talking and pairing off, some more successfully than others. At one point, my lady had left with the ex-boyfriend, who appeared to be huffing and puffing about something.  She returned rolling her eyes and sitting closer to me than she had before.

“He is so dramatic. I cannot take him.” She said exasperated.

I loved her, and she would be my wife.

“Life is too short for Drama. It is a virus in life that is easily cured by careful avoidance.” I said, with the strange chemicals in the salt coursing through my veins and filling my head with philosophical thoughts and the confidence to verbalize them. “We need to surround ourselves with laughter.”

Her head sunk–not what I had expected nor desired–and she looked rather depressed. She was also pretty drunk.

“You know what I always wanted to do?” She asked, looking up at me. ” I always wanted to be cheer leading coach, Isn’t that silly?” She pierced me with her big, blue puppy eyes ( If she were a puppy she would be a Husky puppy, because those dogs are fucking gorgeous).

Here it was again; a person whose people have infinitely more culture and history on the verge of tears talking about another of America’s contributions to the world; cheerleading.  Music, Movies, TV and Cheerleading were the four things I had heard talked about positively in reference to America.  And mind you these are intelligent people.  This girl had qualified for her current internship through years of schooling and spoke three languages and yet her dream was to be a cheerleading coach!

I couldn’t help the staggered look that swept over my face and she immediately picked up on it.

“It just seems we are too serious sometimes, the French,” she continued, “I wish I had a prom and got to throw my hat in the air when I graduated like in the movies…” Her eyes peered now over a gorgeous smile.

“And I wish America were not so Ameri-centric and cared more about education…” I interrupted in my typical self-deprecating way.

She stopped me, “but who cares? Why be so serious? Life is too short and fun is so important.  We are all doing OK? No? Why worry so much?”

I didn’t have an answer for her.  I guess the grass truly is always greener on the other side.  The culture and civility that I admired in many European nations provided only angst among the educated youth of those nations.  Just as those educated in America tend to look down on the shallow contributions we provide to the world.  History textbooks need not worry about America until the very last chapters, for this I feel strangely ashamed.  But our dominance of global pop-culture seems to be significant enough to warrant the respect of many intelligent Europeans.  Of course I am speaking in generalities, as the U.S. of course has had a profound impact on the history of the World just as pop-culture stars come from all over the globe.  However, so far, the people I had spoken to loved Hollywood and were barely interested in answering my questions about their history and culture.

Often my attempts to get a feel for Irish life were shot down in this manner;

At some point the filthy hipster arrived at our table and leaned over and tapped Molly—I had decided to name my plaid beauty, Molly–on the shoulder.  Clearly he had had enough of me flirting with his one-time love interest.  With a snarky smile in my direction he whispered something in her ear and motioned for her to come outside.  When she returned, she returned alone and visibly upset.

It wasn’t to be for me and strange French-Irish girl. Before she disappeared she showed me a song on her i-pod and there, on the porch of a bar who’s name I will never remember we clasped hands, shared the ear phones and danced for a few enchanting minutes to a Greek techno song I would absolutely despise under any other circumstances.  Even during this intimate moment I knew something had been said outside the bar that ruined her night.  She put on a brave smile for me the couple times we made eye-contact during the dance, but the fun was over.  Something dramatic had happened and once again she was left longing for the frivolous and emotionless.  I don’t know where she went after our dance but I will always hate her ex-boyfriend for being such a slobbering pussy, and bringing down such a beautiful spirit.

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