The Return of the Jew-di (WORDPLAY!) And, Eyjaffjollajokull.
i saw this pony at midnight, on an island with a population of 150 people. consequently, i’m 96% sure that this pony is actually a ghost.
I’m back, derogatory term for women in the plural form that equates human women with female canines and generally denotes a lack of respect! (I’m making an effort to clean up my language, because apparently my grandma is reading this, guys. Jesus slow and gentle love-makin’ Christ.)
Despite the protestations of my dedicated fan base (re: my mother sending me frantic text messages asking if I was dead because she hadn’t seen me write anything about cupcakes or penises on my blog for a few weeks), I have resisted the hot and throbbing temptation of Verbal Japtitude bloggage for a little over a month now. The reasons for this sabbatical are fairly straightforward: I had a lovemakin’ play about Tiger Woods to write, otherwise I fail my lovemakin’ class, and I only had three lovemakin’ weeks to write it. And when I wasn’t hunched over in front of my MacBook with my eyes glazed over, watching Tiger Woods’ apology speech about 900 times in a row, I was busy making up for lost drinking time by getting wasted at 3 in the afternoon with my classmates on a writers’ retreat in the Wicklow Mountains. Or obsessively tracking Icelandic volcano eruptions on Cnn.com. Or, as of a few days ago, re-watching every single episode of “The Wonder Years” on MegaVideo whilst lying in bed and devouring economy-sized bags of sea salt and vinegar crisps in one sitting.
(So, just to put your mind at ease, Mom: your daughter EJ might be a slovenly, slothful, gluttonous degenerate. She might be a waste of light and energy and matter and sea salt and vinegar potato chips. But she is not, I repeat, not dead. Although to be perfectly honest, spiritually speaking, she might as well be.)
I have a little less than three weeks left in Ireland. You [re: my mother, and others who may/may not harbor concerns about the status of my mortality] might be wondering if I’m having a super awesome time doing super awesome things and hanging out with super awesome people. You might be wondering if I’m feeling somewhat ambivalent about the inevitable conclusion of all this Super Awesomeness [TM]. You might be wondering if my cultural consciousness has been raised by my time spent abroad, or if there is anything that I am looking forward to doing when I return to the States. In the interest of appealing to this ambiguous “you,” I will address these rhetorical queries:
(The answers are yes, yes, maybe, and pizza. I am looking forward to eating pizza. When the best pizza you’ve had in six months was a 3-euro slice at a pizzeria in Galway, you know that your standards for food have plummeted considerably. When I’m back in New York, the one thing that I am truly looking forward to is going to Joe’s or Sal and Carmine’s or Totonno’s and bringing my standards back up again. And seeing my loved ones again would be nice, too. I mean. I GUESS.)
The reasons why I’m sad to be leaving are difficult to articulate. Dublin is a cool city, but I don’t think that I’m sad about leaving Ireland. Although I could probably fill a textbook with things that I love about Dublin (the corned beef hash at Gruel, the Liffey on a sunny day, and the fact that the population primarily consists of surprisingly eloquent alcoholics), I could probably fill a somewhat smaller, novella-sized book with things that I hate about Dublin (the inexplicable popularity of chip butty, the junkies who regularly defecate on the Liffey boardwalk, and the fact that the population primarily consists of surprisingly eloquent anti-Semites.)
Like New York, Dublin is a city that prides itself on the misery of its constituents, a misery that is fed further by high unemployment rates and astronomical housing costs and a serious city-wide drug problem and the popularity of the afore-mentioned chip butty, and I will be happy to leave Dublin for my hometown, a city with the same problems but infinitely better food. (Seriously, Ireland: fries slathered in mayonnaise between two pieces of white bread? I would rather eat a well-seasoned tampon [preferably unused].)
My ambivalence over leaving Dublin has little to do with the possibility of missing my friends, either. While I have become fairly close with a bunch of people in my program, most of them live in New York for a good part of the year, and I fully intend on doing the same things with them back in the States that we did back in Ireland (namely, getting drunk, choreographing songs from “Hairspray”, and trying to incite swans to murder each other.)
Although I’m sure that I will be nostalgic for these activities during my first few weeks back home, the one thing that I will truly miss about living abroad is the independence that comes along with it. And for someone like me, someone stupid and impractical and entirely dependent on the superior intellect and practicality of others, that kind of independence is a hard thing to get back after you’ve relinquished it.
Ever since the summer of fourth grade, when I first left for sleepaway camp (or, as I liked to call it then, “Dante’s version of the Inferno, revised to include expensive orthodontia and rolled-up Soffe shorts”), I have lived on my own, for varying periods of time and capacities, for over ten years. These brief periods of independence were met with various degrees of success; for every summer that I called my parents crying because I didn’t get the lead in “Guys and Dolls,” there has been a summer or even a semester where I was having so much fun that I didn’t call my parents at all.
But regardless of how much fun I was having at any of these places, there was always the thought at the back of my mind that soon I wouldn’t have to worry about running out of hot water in the shower or doing my laundry or feeling lonely or eating disgusting food; soon I wouldn’t have to worry about all the things that you worry about when there’s no one around to take care of these things for you, because soon I would be back home.
Ever since I first moved into my apartment in Dublin, this thought has not once crossed my mind. Chasing after water bugs, eating food that’s basically inedible, even loneliness: these have all become minor nuisances rather than concerns, and they are nuisances that are easily remedied (mostly by eating more bad food.) I don’t necessarily derive joy from taking care of myself, but there is an element of pleasure in knowing that I can. A little wave of satisfaction that comes from something breaking or busting or spilling, from knowing that you have a problem and there’s no friend or boyfriend or parent or R.A. around to help you solve it, from leaving the dirty dishes in the sink for a few extra hours, just because you want to; from walking home alone at 3 in the morning on a shadowy street, just because you can.
Dublin is not my home. A tiny, two-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan is my home. But for the past four months, I’ve made this city my Manhattan. I’ve made the Liffey the promenade by the East River, Gruel the Barking Dog on 77th and York, Spar the deli across the street, and the abrasive homeless guy outside of Spar the somewhat less abrasive homeless guy who hangs out by the handball courts in John Jay Park. I made the unfamiliar familiar (albeit a slightly shittier version of the familiar), because I had the freedom to do so, because I could. And I will miss that freedom. I will miss it a lot.
(Which is why if it weren’t for my parents and my boyfriend, I would secretly be wishing for these stupid Icelandic volcanos to keep erupting so I could buy myself a little more time here. Just keep doin’ your thang, Eyjaffjollajokull. Don’t let tha hatas bring you down.)
I don’t know if my newfound sense of self-reliance is a product of living alone for the first time after a moderately strict and sheltered childhood. I don’t know if it’s the result of being spoiled (which I am), or lazy (which I DEFINITELY am), or growing up (eh. The jury’s still out on that one.) I don’t know if it’s worth commenting upon or writing about, and I’m sure that I’m showing my privilege by waxing poetically about being forced to clean my kitchen sink for the very first time. To which I say this:
Give me a fucking break. At least I’ve started thinking seriously about something other than cookies and Justin Bieber’s hair for once. What. The fuck. Ever.