Early this morning I walked around a heavy-partying area of Dublin (south of Liffey river, west of Westmoreland). 20somethings, for the most part. The pubs close sometime around 2 or 2:30 am here, but you wouldn’t know it from all the rowdy pumping energy. In most cities 2 am means things are starting to wind down. Not in Dublin, they’re not.
I’ve long felt a spiritual kinship with Ireland and the Irish. During my initial visit in ’88 (accompanied by wife Maggie and infant son Jett) my first thought was “I could die here.” But I felt a slightly uneasy vibe last night. A somewhat loutish, hair-trigger feeling from some of the guys hanging out in groups in front of pubs and whatnot.
You can usually sense civility in people or a lack of, a current of deference and humility and a basic instinct to be nice or a willingness to take a poke if provoked or fucked with in the slightest way. I was feeling more of the latter last night. Everyone bombed and more than a few on the ornery, rambunctious side.
And then I came upon the strangest, angriest drunken Irishman I’ve ever gotten a whiff of. This guy, 25 or slightly younger, was so stinking and so consumed with rage that he was just standing in front of a Burger King, immobile, looking slightly downward but more or less statue-like, like he’d been carved out of wood or injected with a drug that turned his muscles into stone. “Don’t touch me or come close…fauhhck, man, don’t even look at me,” his body seemed to be saying.
It was eerie. Drunks generally stumble or flail around or lie down or lean against walls. This guy was beyond all that. It was like he was trying to decide who to hit or how to kill himself or what weapon to use.