All the hotels in Dublin were gone. Gone. Stone gone. Not a hope, sold out, and forget it, Micky. Go somewhere else. Shopped around, booking websites, Air B&B, standby rooms, all gone, gone, gone. There’s one or two places out of reach, maybe. How’s 250 euro a night? Will that do?
You’re sound, thanks.
Eventually ended up getting a hostel. Back to the roots, the good old days on the road. Sure it’ll be grand. It was a six bed dorm with a fella that couldn’t stop blinking. He had an accent like Billy Bob Thornton and he was after a long flight from somewhere. Omaha, Ohio, Oregon, Dakota, one of them. He was up for talking shite, about life, and travel, and Ireland. And isn’t Dublin a nice city? And does it really rain as much as they say in Ireland?
There was a stir across the way. A sort of a creak of the metal frames of the beds and then a blond strand of hair came out over the pillow. You might be expecting some sort of a Swedish bombshell, somehow staying in a cheap hostel, but no, it was a blue-eyed lad with airpods and an opened book that he didn’t really seem to be reading. It was like he was waiting for something, some sign, or a phone call. Had the look of a lad on Annual Leave from a UFO cult but now he was bored and wanted to get back to work. Maybe there was a convention down the road. Some place with balloons shaped like alien’s heads and lads with beards selling DVD’s of extraterrestrial autopsies. Billy Bob Said: ‘I was thinking of going to Galway, too.’
I went downstairs, through a horde of Spanish students, all loud and jumpy. Two other men were at the lift, had the temporary look of confused Ukrainians, still getting used to things, it was all a mystery now. The lift, the Spanish kids, the sweet smell of sweat and leather and vague piss. I said: ‘How’s things?’
And walked out.
There was a bus stop outside. About 25 people were waiting for the 46 something. They all looked around, frozen for a second, their eyes like cyborgs cameras fixated on this apparition from the hole in the hostel wall. Time herself forgot her purpose, struggled against gravity to keep the world moving. That woman in the white jacket and her hair tied tight and her big kryptonite stare like diamonds impossibly embedded in her pale severe skull. The moment passed, the curiosity waned in tandem with the arrival of the green dragonian bus. It heaved up like a tired ass, snottering and hissing, and spreading her gills like the doors of a trojan horse, and all the commuting Greeks hopped off, hopped on, disappeared into phones and the monoxide fumes and the loud tick tock of the big yellow indicator.
Went around the corner, Temple Bar, sun dipping, traffic calming, people smoking their problems, their impatience, their time, as they waited for the next great moment, only ever a moment away, through the nicotine clouds and dwindling day and the soft hint of the conquering twilight. Big shtuff.