Before you get to thinking that our trip to Ireland was all fantastic and sunshine and rainbows (though it actually was, for the great majority of the time), let me just bring us all down to reality with a sudden jarring bump.
We flew into Belfast, arriving at 9 am, after flying something like eleventy-million hours (this is the price one pays for living on the West Coast of North America. Unless you want to go to Asia. Or Australia. Which are also many, many hours of flight time away, but at least it’s less than for Easterners. Ha!). By the time we exited the plane and cleared customs and caught the bus into the city and found our cleverly hidden hotel, it was near noon, I think. Being near noon, our room was, naturally, not ready, but they allowed us to store our cases at the front desk and told us to go out and explore for a couple of hours.
Keep in mind that we had now been awake for 24 hours at this point, give or take a few.
We headed up Botanical Avenue in search of food – and shade. It was hot! We ate, cooled down, caught our second wind. We were practically in the University District, so we wandered around there. Oh, the beautiful old brick buildings! Oh, the leafy old trees! Oh, the weird Gaelic signposts! Oh, the – speed bump?
I didn’t see the speed bump as I was crossing the street. I tripped and fell over it, hard on my left knee, elbow, and hand. The camera, while still looped around my wrist, slapped against the pavement. I rolled over and lay on my back, giggling. Once again, PG was hovering anxiously above me. “What the hell?!” he said.
“Ow,” I said.
There was some pain, some blood, some bruising, some limping, but nothing serious. The camera – well, the camera didn’t work so well for the rest of the trip. It could take photos just fine, but it would no longer scroll through them and would sometimes turn itself off at odd times. It’s DD’s camera. Now I shall have to buy her a new one, I guess.
THEN, there was the time I was standing at the top of some very old stone steps at the Rock of Cashel. I was once again taking a photo. PG was waiting for me at the bottom of the steps. I took the photo, tucked the camera back in my messenger bag, then went to step onto the grass beside the step. Oops – the grass wasn’t level with the step! I caught myself just in time and ended up looking like a drunk trying to maintain her balance on a perfectly flat stone step. “What the hell?!” said PG, again.
THEN, when we were in Dublin, our very first night, I was starting to get ready for bed. I went to the bathroom and brushed my teeth. As I finished, my toothbrush slipped from my grasp and fell right down the drain of the sink. There was no little grill (or whatever you call it) at the top of the drainpipe. Just a wide pipe straight down to drainpipe hell.
I got mad. How stupid is that??? People drop stuff in the bathroom sink ALL THE TIME, and there’s nothing to catch it??? I stomped out of the bathroom, PG said, “What the hell?!”, then I phoned down to reception. Within the hour, the hotel maintenance man had come by, unscrewed the cover that encompassed the entire bottom of the sink down to the floor, disconnected the pipe, and along with a whole lot of gunk, retrieved my toothbrush. And a spoon. He assured me that this wasn’t the first time this had happened. Evidently. I plugged in the kettle and proceeded to pour copious amounts of boiling water over my toothbrush to disinfect it. I was very careful with that toothbrush for the rest of the trip – and I equally carefully inspected every single sink with which I came into contact, too. PG said, “Why didn’t you just go buy another toothbrush?” Because I got mad, that’s why.
THEN, one night we were in this lovely Italian restaurant in Kinsale (I know – sounds weird, but honestly, sometimes one does get tired of Irish pubs. Besides, they do love their Italian food in Ireland. There are a LOT of Italian restaurants.). We’d just been seated and I leaned down to put my bag on the floor. Somehow, leaning sort-of sideways over the table, I hit the wineglass squarely with my chin. I hit it so hard, I’m actually surprised it didn’t break! Apparently, I jerked my head back rather abruptly and ever-helpful, PG said, “What the hell?!”
“Ow,” I said.
There was some minor throbbing pain, some swelling, some bruising. But again, no serious damage.
So the lessons to be learned here are: walk carefully over speedbumps and stairs, hang onto your toothbrush, and watch those tricky wineglasses.
Oh – and also “What the hell?!” is NOT a helpful thing to say when your significant other has a minor disaster.