Skip to main content

luck of the irish?


i like st. patrick's day. i like the fact that there is a holiday that celebrates celtic-ness and drunkeness at once (you could argue they were pretty close to begin with). in fact, it's probably second only to halloween as my favourite publicly recognised holiday.

so every year, i have to have my little ritual and that ritual involves visiting a pub and partaking of the cheer. i've made attempts at watching parades in various cities, but i've more recently given up that practice because a) eight out of ten times, it's freezing cold and/ or snowing in canada on march 17th and b) the parades seem to consist entirely of trucks carrying people who are as drunk as i would be, if i weren't freezing my tush off watching them. so i've backed off the parade in recent years.

however, a visit to the pub, the longer the better, is still an important thing for me.

next year, however, i'm going to have to plan things a little better.

first of all, i didn't get to go out to the pub until evening, whereas i have always fancied getting a head start in the late afternoon and languishing as the hours pass. second, i figured i would try a new place, which always carries some attendant risks, even with something as straightforward as a pub. with st. patrick's day so ubiquitous, you wouldn't think there'd be a lot of deviation from the theme. however, as soon as we arrived and got past the dollar-store cardboard leprechaun at the door, it was obvious that i was wrong (and i hate being wrong).

the pub was populated entirely by people who were probably paying for their drinks by signing over their old-age security cheques to the barmaid and one crew of college-age types determined to have fun. there was a distinct lack of any form of conversation, a situation which seems antithetical to the whole notion of st. paddy's. after all, the irish are the original b.s. artists. they are known for talking. witness the ritual of kissing the blarney stone.

those who were there were, for the most part, watching the hockey game. (again, not very irish, but i was also in the company of a fan whose only condition for going out was that we be somewhere that was showing the game. and watching some sort of sport seemed to be at least somewhat irish.) so it wasn't exactly the sort of social scene you associate with the culture. in fact, the crowd seemed downright depressed. (leafs fans)

also, the music playing was all wrong, although it didn't seem to bother any of the other patrons. there is nothing irish about "paradise city" or "cat's in the cradle". i'm not normally a huge fan of celtic folk music, but even i know when it suits the mood.

it didn't get any better with the food. we each ordered a drink, allowing me time to digest the loaf of bread packed into every glass of guinness. when we hailed the waitress to order our meals, she brought us the bill. we probably should have taken her suggestion and moved on, but we insisted on ordering. i got a fish and chips, which was about the only thing that looked even mildly like the food i'm used to seeing in pubs. well, i suppose there was also bangers and mash on the menu, which is what my sidekick ordered. the waitress came back a few minutes later to ask if we wanted fries or salad with our dinners. let me think. i ordered fish and chips, not fish and salad, so which do you think i'm expecting with my dinner, imbecile? and i need not mention that if she couldn't grasp that fish and chips should be served with chips, she was utterly lost on the bangers and mash. it went something like:

"do you want fries or salad?"

"neither. i just want the mashed potatoes."

"i think that's extra."

"that's what the 'mash' is. i just want the potatoes that come with the meal."

"so you want fries?"

"no."

"ok, you want salad."

i guess it was a st. patrick's miracle that his dinner arrived about twenty minutes later with mashed potato, but without either fries or salad. unfortunately, it also had those ratty little things known as "breakfast sausages" that come frozen and that were enough to turn me off sausage entirely when i was a child. and the beans that were served with it were heinz, straight from the can...

even more unfortunately, my own dinner didn't arrive until about a half hour later. a pile of freezer fries with a couple of decent pieces of fish. and to top it off, i was told, having had one guinness and one cider (i can't fit more than one guinness in me in a single sitting), that i had cleaned them out of cider and would have to change to plain, non-irish beer.

not a st. patrick's i'll remember with much fondness, but perhaps it's a lesson in being (very distantly) irish. after all, the irish are a people whose strength is always shown in their ability to get crapped on and find a way to shake it off and keep smiling. guinness makes it all better.

Comments

Well my dear, we shall have better dinning experiences very soon. And if my plan holds, I'll probably be on a leave of absence.
I didn't do anything Irish myself, it was just a typical Saturday.
James H. said…
I spent the afternoon ripping the Broken Flag box to .wav files, but I did have 'Rum, Sodomy and the Lash' on later, does that count?
flora_mundi said…
with all due respect to lux interior, i could eat stuff off the sidewalk that tasted better, but i know that things will get MUCH better now.

the pogues are the very essence of st. pat's and, hey, broken flag stuff can get pretty angry, and nobody's angrier than the irish...

as long as you're here, why not read more?

long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …

making faces :: i could maybe not buy this one thing

i've been into makeup on some level for a long time- much longer than i've been writing about it, for certain. even as a young woman, i loved the feeling of i got from applying a deep-hued lipstick and some mascara. it took years for me to figure out eyeshadow, and even longer for me to appreciate blush. but at this point, i think we can agree that i'm pretty much into the whole gamut. [except liquid and super-matte lipsticks, and most very sparkly eyeshadows. but that's because they're painful for me to wear.]

the thing about spending a long time collecting and holding onto just about everything is that you accumulate quite a stash. lately, i'm trying to force myself to think about what i already have before laying down money for something new. most recently, i found myself drawn to the modern renaissance palette from anastasia. me and a lot of people. by the time i started thinking about it, it was already sold out in my local sephora and online. i signed up…

...and my cup size is none of your damn business

this story, about a man who got a female coworker to trade email accounts with him for two weeks to see if he could see a difference in customer reactions, has been making the rounds on social media and beyond in the last week or so. earlier today, i posted it on my personal facebook page about it, and realised that i had a lot more that i wanted to share than made sense for a facebook post. so i've come here to rant.

a couple of things to start:

1. i've had some really good job experiences in my life. i'm both lucky and unlucky that the best of them came early on, but even in more recent years, i worked at a couple of places that treated workers, all workers, with respect. that respect can be expressed in different ways, but believe me, you know it when it's there. so i want to make it clear that #notallworkplaces fit the pattern i'm about to describe.

2. i am really, really, really grateful to martin r. schneider, who thought up and did this experiment, not just …