Those of us who compulsively read guide books about where we’re going and where we are, read this sensible lesson: “Don’t tell the Irish that you’re Irish too, just because your ancestors were from Ireland.”
Free upgrades are one of life’s little rewards, cherished and remembered. First class. Room with a view. Bigger car.
Unless you’re in Ireland. If you’re renting a car in Ireland, a free upgrade can be a burden.
We got a free upgrade.
One fine Irish afternoon, sitting in a Kinsale pub, I asked the bartender if there are any local beers. “Oh, yes!” interrupted the fellow occupying the stool to my right. “Have a pint of Blacks,” he said. “I got properly pissed on it last night.” The bartender never had a chance to reply.
We’ve been contemplating Grand Larceny lately.
How’s this: We could take an out-of-state debit card into a California Safeway, buy $400 worth of whiskey (and maybe get $100 cash back), then sell the whiskey out on the streets. After that, hit another Safeway. Then another. Maybe a Walmart too. And a Walgreen’s. (In California, all these stores sell liquor.)
We made a speedy exit from Dublin. It was Saturday, May 19th, and we needed to get to the Club House Hotel in Kilkenny in time for The Wedding. I had booked the hotel only after the front desk assured us that we could watch the festivities in their bar. Previous research had revealed that the wedding would not be on every single pub TV in Ireland, because, well, soccer.
Let’s get one thing straight: a “league” is a not a measure of depth. A league is equal to three miles. As Jules Verne would have it, twenty thousand leagues was a measure of horizontal distance under the sea, a journey that would’ve gone on longer had Kirk Douglas not interfered.
“I wish you a good vacation. Take advantage of it, and take good care of yourselves. Most of all be wise about not taking on too many challenges.” Such was the advice from our host Sandrine Gailliot-Sopena in an email sent following our tour of Paris aboard her tiny electric scooters.
Box 5 was always reserved for the Opera Ghost. If management dared to sell it to the public, dire consequences ensued. A stagehand murdered in a deep basement. An 8-ton chandelier falling on an innocent patron. A great soprano who suddenly can only croak. The Ghost had the Paris Opera in its clutches, a possible curse always at the ready.