Another evening, another booked out night in Dublin except for the hostels. Parked the car somewhere close to Smithfield, 6pm, ticket required til seven.Minimum purchase 20 cents.
Still had two 20’s left under the handbrake, orphans abandoned at the Enfield toll. Time to give them a home. Walked up to the ticket machine, a stubborn, disheveled effort, like a fella still drinking three weeks after a wedding. There was graffiti and a splash of random paint and a vague smell of piss or vinegar. One time there was a place for a card but that was blocked so it was cash only now. I pushed in the first 20 cent. It was tentative, unsure, wouldn’t commit, the tiny round shine still peeking out. That’s when the big Times Square newsflash appeared on the screen. Machine out of Order. Just in time for the 20 cent to fall and be lost forever in the disordered, discounted and unacknowledged abyss. Could be worse, coulda been a euro. Time to find tonight’s abode. It wasn’t far. 70 meters according to the phone. Inside, Pride Flags everywhere, calm loud music, pools balls clattering somewhere. Your man behind the counter was in Mayo lately. And did I ever climb the reek, and could he see my license, and here’s your key, and your room’s over there, just through the rainbow forest, and beyond the blue door. Got there, four bed job, well separated, bit like Spacepods on a film. Only one fella here so far, trying to sleep, jetlag, age, some ailment, hard to know. The door was designed to fall closed with a loud angry mix of locks arguing with door frames and grumpy bolts and this made him move, grunt, sigh. Dark interior, thick navy walls, window open, keeping out the microbes. Better go for a walk, no point sitting here in the dark, listening to your man snoring like a dying dog. Then I remembered they said at the counter they do good food, and he recommended the chicken burger at the bar, and all you need is here, and there’s even a pub crawl later if you’re up for it. Went out to the bar, few extras sitting around drinking gammy pints, talking shite about something that happened somewhere and generally making noise with words. The girl at the counter was all smiles and strange hair and piercings and bad news. We’re not doing food today, or tomorrow, but you can buy something outside and bring it in?
Outside, more flags. Restaurants advertising burgers and Mexican stuff. The distant sound of people’s minds screeching, like the brakes on a train about to derail. The badly oiled friction of the internet against reality. All the dopamine running dry, like social warming.
Found a place across the road and took a seat and ordered, this is the life, in the big city, chicken burgers and spacepods and I wonder where would you get a cup of tea. There was a fella with a beard and a huge belly across the way studying the menu like it was a good news article about himself and he wanted to read more and more. The people around him were talking and yapping but he didn’t care, this was it, the big event. Sure it was all happening in Smithfield.