Thursday, February 07, 2008

Irish eyes are smiling...

P1020962.JPG, originally uploaded by naturalcourse.

Today I flew to Ireland on an Irish Airline. Yet it was staffed by Polish and Portugese, and the meeting I flew there to have was with an Englishman who worked for an American company. Where were all the leprechauns?

Well, there was one in the loos at Dublin airport. All of four foot tall, she was a tiny little thing but definitely in her 40s or 50s. And Irish. Well, if she'd had a beard she definitely would have been a leprechaun.

And there were more national stereotypes too, in the receptionist at the business I visited and the cab drivers and the airport security staff.

Why stereotypes? Well, they were all simply lovely.

Coming from London I'm used to cab drivers offering up either get a dismal grunt (if you're lucky) or a fascist diatribe about immigrants (if you're not) and the average receptionist is spending far too much time being cool to actually be actively nice to you.

But in Dublin they beam at you with genuine pleasure. And the how are yous are not mere habit or tip-seeking - they actually want to know. And then they beam some more. They wish you a pleasant day.

And they mean it.

Later on, I got back to Gatwick and got on the train back up to town. It was rush hour and I secured one of those little padded perches they now have in between the fast diminishing rows of real seats - the sort that's there to kid you that it's okay to be standing because your bottom still has a seat cushion behind it - albeit a vertical one.

At Clapham a man got on carrying two papers - The Guardian and one of the Free papers. He stuck the free paper above us on the luggage rack, a few inches out of my reach. I smiled and asked him if he was finished with it. He nodded curtly. So I stepped forward to pick it up. At which point he deftly manouevered his bottom on to the padded perch momentarily vacated by mine.

I wasn't quite sure what to do. A man had just stolen my semi-seat, albeit after donating me his paper. But that had been free in the first place!

But that's London for you. In Dublin they smile and wish you well. In London they'll steal the seat from under your arse.

1 comment:

georgie said...

Yes, I think you're right.

That's London for you.

I remember standing on a tube station in London years ago and a man threw himself in front of an incoming train.

Shouting out the most deathly cry as he prepared to die.

My jaw slapped down to my chest and I gasped in horror.

The people standing on the station with me didn't move or flinch or react in any way.

Except one young man who turned his head quickly towards me saying: 'did you see that?' as I nodded my head in shock.

And that was a long time ago.

Yes, girl, you gotta go and follow your dream.


Your timing is right.

I approve of R as I've said before.

Your final clue was the place where that dumb hippo of yours lives (pardon me):

Lake Victoria.

Ah yes, Lake Victoria ... where's that, I thought ?

Lake Victoria is where AM's dream lies, that's where .....