Friday 3 August 2007

There's sanity beside Killala Bay, Co. Mayo,and madness in Green Bay, Wisconsin!

Daylight robbery cartoon

Fleeing the madness that has been Galway City for the past few weeks, I head for north Mayo, where I lived for three happy years.
My god, it's empty.
The road from Crossmolina to Killala takes in sweeping Big Sky vistas, and I feel more relaxed with every empty-road mile that goes by.
Stopping at the lisheen to visit a much-missed friend, I see another car drive up.
A stranger? Somebody to invade my new-found space?
No, lovely, it's a close friend. We hug, part, and I am alone again.
Even though I lived within it, I have forgotten the power of this silence. There is no noise, save for the wind, the rain, the crows in the trees.
If it's not too Irish a suggestion from an Englishman, compared to the melée of Quay Street or the chaos of the Headford Road roundabout, these noises offer a heavenly silence.
North Mayo is Ireland's, and very possibly Europe's best kept secret, and I want it left that way.
So hear me now. Upon finishing this colyoom, you will forget you ever read about it.
Driving straight through the village and on, out westwards, I pass the houses of all the people I want to visit later, and head straight for the nearest beach.
Pulling into the car park, I notice straight away that this beach has changed once again. The long stretch of sand to my left has gone, doubtless washed away in a brutal summer storm. Where footprints sat glowing there now lie bruising boulders, bladder and wrack, dead jellyfish and molluscs a-million.
Looking far across the bay, I can see the sand that was once here now lines an extended shore of Bartragh island.
Some day the beach will return.
Right now all I want to do is get out of the car and cavort, waddle and stumble in ecstasy at my return.
Out of sight of everyone, I head off to the wormcast meadows of soaking sand stretching out to the lowest of tide lines.
Suddenly, overloaded with the memories of so many afternoons and so many walks, just here, just me alone with my thoughts and forty shades of grey, my heart fails to cope, and yikes, I'm leaking from the eyes.
As if to harden myself, I turn around so that I am facing the westerly wind, which whips my face with wet lashes.
Up above on the clifftop is the long thin house, where windows are open... and yes, an alarm is ringing.
Ringing ringing; a pointlessly ringing burglar alarm ringing, where no burglar has ever trod, taking over all I can hear, mocking our species.
Is that the best we can do?
Does that boring ugly noise represent the sum total of our contribution to this wondrous universe?
All around me nature is gently permanently splendidly doing its thing. Out there in the grey blue green waters of the bay, I have seen dolphins leaping, Brent geese resting and seals lazing, yet what do we have to offer the scene? A noise that serves no purpose.
50 yards further on, and the noise has gone. The wind picks up, and I hide under my jacket's hood. Waves build and crash in the distance. Gulls screech and dive, plummeting into the ocean to spear their dinner.
Inside my hood I can hear the rain on the outside; my heart pumping after the exertions of my rock-hopping efforts; my breathing.
I can hear my breathing.
Smiling smugly, I feel so happy I could weep again - but I don't.
No need.
I have arrived at my place.
For a second, I think of the crowds back home. Right at this moment, there's many-a punter and a shed load of workers who'd give a limb to be here, listening to the sound of their own breath.
That was then, and now it's all over. Sure, the last few weeks of August are busy enough, but from here on in, it only becomes easier.
Pretty soon you'll be sending the kids back to school, cutting your credit cards in half again, and wondering just what the hell happened to your summer.
This isn't about the weather, but rather whether you can locate your brain after all that madness.
Last week this colyoom was guilty of a cruel and cold deception. I promised you a Race Week Survival Guide, to help you anchor your addled brains when you felt you were losing it.
But there was no kit. I lied, and mea culpa, vot can I tellya?
Only that I hope you and your sanity fared better than one Steve Warrichaiet, from the USA's cheese-head country, way up there in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Steve was so disgustingly drunk when he drove home that after he ran over a 41 year-old woman, he left her, seriously injured, at the roadside.
On the same journey, he managed to hit another victim, who became stuck up against his windscreen.
Incredibly, Steve failed to notice the person dying on his bonnet, and parked up his car in his garage.
Police later arrested Warrichaiet, after extricating his second victim from his car's bodywork.
The point of this story, here and now?
Well, while I like to think that Double Vision's readers are an eclectic, often hysterical, sometimes incapable bunch, I do prefer to believe that each and every one of us, regardless of how much we have drunk or taken, would know if we had a dead person on our car when we got home at night.
Come on now, I'm hardly raising the bar very high; not exactly setting unachievable standards of behaviour to which we should aspire.
I know, I know, we've just made it through Race Week, and I should be gentle with you.
Does diddums want a patty on the backy, does he? Ahhhh... there there.
Oh alright then. Never mind all that getting previous with the wife's sister in the champagne tent, or your stirring it up with Hubbie and Daddy at the track.
Forget that you were a drunken bitch and he was an unfaithful bastard.
Forgive yourself for pilfering the hotel ashtray and get over how good you felt when you were being mean to your kids.
Well done, already! At least you're a preferable driver, drinker and an all-round better human being than Steve Warrichaiet!

©Charlie Adley

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