The "Goat Sheep Cow" Edition
This travel anecdote might feel something like a New York Times ‘Metropolitan Diary’ entry, hopefully with all the relatability but without the cloying tweeness. Which is redundant, I guess. Or maybe it’s more like Us Magazine’s ‘Stars: Just Like Us!’ but instead more like ‘Other Regular People: Just Like Us!’ Which is non-sensical.
Scene: Small hotel, Dublin, off the beaten path but not ‘funky’ or particularly alternative-y.
Dramatis Personae: Combination straight up tourists but also lots of business trip/working folk. Mix of nationalities, mostly English, some other Europeans. A young woman strides into the breakfast room. Has an odd look on her face, maybe because it was early and she was pre-caffeinated, but also had the energy of a person who was going to do something strange? She comes rapidly to the center of the room, quite near the delicious European breakfast buffet table. I am in close proximity, piling my third plate full of everything from every platter, bowl, and stand on the table.
She kind of sticks her hands out, with a long string-ish thing in between them. Did her Flat White not come fast enough? Is she going to garrote me? This is now attracting some serious “uh oh” glances from the other diners, whether Finns, French or Mid-Westerners. For me, I quickly conjured up my best NYC subway major league eye-avoidance technique as I backed away from the muesli.
Then, wherever she was from, she says in heavily accented and slightly oddly constructed English, “Excuse me!! I’m needing help! I have the presentation due in an hour and my computer is dead. My cord is not going into the wall!” All of a sudden, the crowd is sensing a compatriot more than a threat. Upon closer—and for me, now more caffeinated— inspection, the string thing is recognized to actually be a computer cable.
The urgent request reveals itself: “Does anyone have a charger I could borrow to fit this cable?” In an instant, folks went from the still-slightly averted eye stance to fully engaged. A rush of folks jumped up to help. “What computer? Which version of which charger? What do you need, a power supply or a converter?” In no time flat, a woman runs up to her room and back down with the right fix.
It was amazing how people were so in tune with that feeling of “oh my God my boss is expecting this and I’m screwed.” Everyone has had their version of it. A delight of human spirit, indeed.
In a different display of human spirit, cut to: just about 12 hours later, in the bar area adjacent to said breakfast room. Coming in after a delightful evening of music, there was a moderately full bar, in normally hushed and happy tones except for…no, not just that freaky bad playlist which was still going, but also a man who was like a character out of a movie. Specifically a movie where The Joker was about to kill someone, cackling madly. The gentleman didn’t seem to be murderous, just exceptionally creepy, as the symptoms of his unusual, weird, unnerving, and totally unaddressed (by the waitstaff or any bystanders) condition. We were there for a solid ten or so minutes. And it didn’t let up. Like it was so intense— and completely ignored by the staff and other patrons— maybe it was performance art? We didn’t wait to find out and high-tailed it to the room….
…Where…okay not to go on but I have to…all I can tell you is that we were then in for a couple of more hours of an unnerving, strange, worrisome series of events. From the room next door, there started to be sounds of banging, shrieking, moaning, crying, yelling, and other vocalizations from the room next door. It was like a combination of a porn film, a murder, a strenuous argument, and a building demolition. Mind you, there was only one occupant. Later, the police were called, medical reinforcements brought in, and the guest (who happened to be in the room that I had asked to be in but was denied, but that’s another story for another week, so maybe karma?) was…removed.
During the wee hour discussion of the situation, the Manager swore that this was in fact a different gentleman from the one in the bar. As if this was a good thing, that there were two different freakazoids? (okay I’m sorry if either of them had a serious medical and/or mental condition) It was hard to tell if he appreciated me pointing this out.
Truly, this was beyond the Pale. Fun fact: I am in situ for this reference!.
Well, we are saying goodbye to this lovely boutique hotel/asylum and hightailing it to the second most rainy, cold place we can find before heading home.
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