October 14, 2018
I decided this morning that I would indulge myself.
Next to playing golf, the one thing I enjoy in this world is lingering in a bookstore. So with the aid of my trusty Google and Google Maps, I set out on a Leopold Bloom like quest to visit the best bookstores in Dublin.
They are listed right here on the “Lovin Dublin” website. You’ve got your Winding Stair just across the River Liffey, Dubray Books on Grafton, Hodges Figgis on Dawson Street, and Ulysses Rare Books. How fun is this going to be?
So excited was I at the prospect, I forgot the silent commandment observed by all sixty year old guys, “Thou shall not leave anywhere without first stopping at the bathroom.”
No matter. No time to waste.
I set out and quickly discovered in the predawn light that, this being Ireland, and it being Sunday, and no one up other than me and the gulls (the gulls and I?) I had several hours to kill. So I made my way down the River Liffey, crossed the Ha’Penny Bridge, and turned toward Trinity College, with my ultimate destination St. Stephen’s Green. I’ll catch the park in the dawn light. Good photo ops.
As I approached the Bank of Ireland facade, I looked up to see a statue of Thomas Moore. That’s when it all began.
For starters, this isn’t Sir Thomas More of “A Man for All Seasons “; this is a nineteenth century Irish songwriter. I wasn’t quite sure who he was so I whipped out my phone and looked him up. Hmmm, interesting.
As I turned to make my way for the Green, I looked down and discovered this plaque in the pavement:
Hmmmm, I thought, A typical Joycian allusion in Ullyses. What the hell; let’s look that up too. I’ve got lots of time.
I Googled that phrase and learned that Joyce was indicting Moore for selling out to the British and suggesting that a statue of the sell-out was fittingly placed above a public urinal. You might have thought the reference to a urinal might have triggered a reminder, but ohhhhhh no. While the subliminal seed was planted in the rising waters of my subconscious, my high and dry conscious self was focued on getting to the park in time to catch the dawn light.
So I walked up to St. Steven’s Green and was, just as I expected, spellbound by the morning light reflecting the fall colors in the duck pond. I was so intent on capturing the reflection with my iPhone, that I again forgot I needed to pee.
No sooner had I left the duck pond than I came across a map of the park and discovered that there was a bust of ol’ Joyce somewhere in the park at what was labeled”No 12″. The trouble was , the park sign didn’t have one of those “YOU ARE HERE” labels and, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out where I was and where No. 12 was. You should know I am spatially challenged.
Apparently, while I’m hell bent on finding the bust of Joyce, unbeknownst to me, my bladder was just hell bent on busting, period. When I finally found him, I messed around making a fool of myself trying to get a picture of Jim with me over his shoulder or me with Jim over my shoulder. None of which came out looking anything other than just stupid, so I settled for this traditional mug shot perspective:
My search now complete, my focus relaxed, I suddenly became conscious of what my subconcious had been desperately trying to tell me, “YOU NEED TO GO, as in NOW”
Now your Stephens Green is a beautiful park. It’s got your ponds, bandstands, groomed flower beds; it even has a man similar to the old woman in Mary Poppins who attracts pigeons to perch on his outstretched arms with birdseed. All of which I learned while skipping around the park desperately discovering that the one thing your Stephen’s Green doesn’t have is a public restroom.
Exit stage left.
I scooted down Grafton Street, no doubt prompting comment from several passerbys (“that old guy has certainly got a spring in his step this morning, doesn’t he honey?”), a couple of times hopped in place when forced to stop at a pedestrian traffic signal (“just running in place to stay loose”), and finally rushed into that great American salvation . . . a Starbucks.
A large tea, a croissant . . . and “oh, do you have a restroom?”