Tribe of the Ring Fort

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Crayons for sale

Again, the events portrayed in this entry took place in, and were written about, in Listowel, Kerry, Ireland, in early 2006. I was unemployed in a new country and freaking a bit at the time. (note: that is only a partial alibi for the last sentence below.)

Susannah [@ 5.65 y.o. at the time] has started this thing where she puts a bunch of her crayons in a clear stiff-plastic bag with a pink fur fringe, and walks around the empty Not Us neighborhood crying out “Crayons for sale! Ten cents!” She comes to me to ask permission, I grant it, and off she goes into the grey.
This triggers a multiple emotional experience.
• A wave of pride and admiration that she thinks this up and executes it rather than complaining to me that she has no one to play with.
• A wave of anger that she has no one to play with.
• A wave of self-recrimination that I’ve taken her from a near-ideal (so it was to me) neighborhood in Montpelier Vermont USA packed with her peers, and put her here.
The visceral feeling these all lump into is a bit of nausea and a pain in my heart. I cry a little.

The local gym in Listowel, late-winter 2006

Group of smokers always clustered at the front door. You can rarely enter without inhaling second-hand smoke.
Then you pass the candy and soda counter: shelves of crisps and wheelies and hot fries and onion-ring-like snacks. Then up the stairs to your workout area and workout.

Susannah, early 2006

It is Groundhog Day, 2008, today. The event described here took place in, and was documented in, early 2006, in the Not Us house in the Not Us Irish town. The character represented in this story resembles exactly Susannah McPhee at age 5 2/3 or thereabouts:

Sung and spoken in a sing-song while skipping around the sitting room
“Her leg got blown up, got blown up…
cuz she’s got a leg infection, leg infection…”
(now speaking) “Come here [doll name which I forget], yes, this is the medicine.”

The Immigrant Experience, through the Irish looking glass

Hello there...

Here's something I (Barry McPhee) wrote on 1/11/2006 (that's 11/01/2006 if you're American):

It is among the central group of topics within Irish society currently: how should/must Ireland react to its waves of immigrants, and what IS Ireland right now as a result of it? So, I’ve been taking periodic stabs at classifying us on the immigrant spectrum:
• We are a hybrid immigrant/citizen mix
• We may be resented for leaving our American jobs to come here to compete for Irish jobs along with the Poles (it’s the Poles who’ve attained dubious distinction here of being the archetypical wage-undercutting, job-stealing immigrant).
• We are competing for low- to mid-level white collar jobs…is this subtype an issue? Can’t tell yet.
Meanwhile, consensus among the locals seems to be “why would they come from America to LISTOWEL for God’s sake??? They must be mad!”

More on this topic as it, and our perception of it, develop.