Saturday 2 February 2008

The Prom is my mental reed bed, filtering pearls from the pooh!

Apologies to Dionne Warwick, but if you see me walking down the Prom, walk on by ... just walk on byyyyy ....
Upon meeting a fellow walker, Prom etiquette requires only that you perform one or two of the following three social tricks: raise a hand; a smile; a “Howya!” or somesuch greeting with the minimum possible syllables.
There need be neither a slowing of pace nor change of direction.
There need be no prolonged staring into the other person’s eyes up ahead. That’s not being grumpy or unfriendly. That’s pure health and safety measures, that is missis, wot wiv all the squelched dog turds strewn over the concrete like swarms of World War Two Nazi U-boats in the North Atlantic .
Don’t go getting the hump if I don’t stop to chat. Of course I still like you, but I’m doing my thing, and despite appearances to the contrary, a chunk of that is going on beyond my physical realm.
While my eyes might look vacant as I stride along, inside my brainbox a steady trickle of what some might consider ‘thoughts’ are throwing off their duvets and brushing their teeth.
Y’see, while you find doing the normal day to day life thang relatively easy, I struggle through it, often feeling like a stranger in a strange land.
I love people. They fascinate me and amuse me and educate me.
But being with them: that’s the tricky bit.
Even though I might appear personable, polite and on occasion almost entertaining, I am able to socialise only in short bursts.
I love to sit and drink cups of tea in kitchens and whiskies in pubs whilst swapping ideas, listening and learning.
But, and here is my problem: while I’m doing that, I’m running out of steam.
Thankfully, the universe has awarded me a fantastically simple way of recharging. All I need to do is to step out into the natural wold and be alone. The babble of chatter stops and at last I can hear my brain ticking over.
Sometimes, to achieve anything resembling sanity, I need to sit on a rock and watch the tide turn, but most days I can combine my mental massage with a physical workout, and there I am, lost to the world, off with the faeries, stomping like an armoured bear in trackies and t-shirt down the Prom.
In the past I have lived alone for long periods, far from a crowd, and did occasionally attain what felt like a higher level of appreciation.
But now, living in the city, the best I can hope for is survival. A million miles from any meditative Nirvana, my daily Prom walk is my mental reed bed, helping me to filter the cookies from the crap; the pearls of potential wisdom from the pooh that life shits upon us.
Prosaic indeed are my thoughts, as I try to count my breathing, 2-3-4, and use my abdomen, 2-3-4, as a bellows.
On my left I see the hole where the Prom Hotel used to be. Representing as it did the last old and stylish facade west of the Eglington Hotel, I mourn its passing. Now our eyes are left with nowt but bland modern blocks, void of anything vaguely approaching character or style.
Walk on. Look over the bay, to Clare, to the Burren, and breath out, relax.
Destroyed by progress. That’s what my mum’s friend says.
So what’s the story with our roads in Galway?
If I can believe what I read in the papers - including this Noble Rag - and project myself a couple of years into the future, then it will be almost impossible to drive from Salthill to the Dublin Road.
Were present plans to go ahead, they will be digging up Bishop O’Donnell and Seamus Quirke Roads in the Westside; they will be demolishing and rebuilding the Headford Road Shopping Centre, and introducing an underpass/overpass/intergalactical wormhole/ time tunnel at the Headford Road Roundabout; College Road will by then have turned into a bus lane, from town to Monivea Road, via Moneenageisha Cross, making Lough Atalia Road defunct as a way to leave town.
Brilliant! Every arterial road in the city will be jammed or unavailable, and I haven’t even mentioned the fifth bridge and by-pass bollocks, because we already know that the only thing Ring Roads do is artificially stretch city boundaries, bringing yet more cars and more houses built on precious green field and pristine bog,.
So yes, mundane and strange thoughts as I walk, but nothing very enlightening.
Then again, how easy is it to feel wise in the this modern world, wherein Mary Harney lectures us on our obligations to fight obesity and the Pope admonishes his worshippers for having too much money.
Woh! Just when I was about to spoil the walk altogether by leaving my sanity behind, I see the craziest crossbreed dog up ahead.

He’s got a big black body perched on tall thin legs, which lollop and flail around underneath him. The poor wee creature is a Labrador/Lurcher cross, and although he’s horribly cute, I don’t fancy that many bitches will fancy him back.
Mind you, last week I saw a Corgi crossed with a German Shepherd.
Since you ask, it had a low long Corgi body with an enormous German Shepherd head, as spooky a poochy concoction as I’ve seen in many a year.
Like “Go on, punk! Call me a lap dog and vee vill see vot happens!”
Shame humans can’t do that.
I’m thinking Bertie’s body would look so much better with Cate Blanchett’s head on it. How about Dubya’s head and Marilyn Monroe’s body?
Or Dubya’s body and Marilyn Manson's ‘s head?
Or just no Dubya ?
Now I’m past Grattan Road and heading back home, sweating like a ...what is the politically correct option ...hmmm ...sweating like a very sweaty person. I
Being physical is important if I want to stave off death long enough to enjoy the full fried breakfast I’ll need to eat because of the appetite I’ve built up doing this walk.
Got to love that fine manly logic ! It leads to eggs, bacon, bangers and beans, but oh, who’s that waving at me? I have no idea, but they seem to know me!
Walk on do-dooo dup-dup......
Sorry Ronan mate! Lungs pumping and eyes wide open, but mouth and brain in no way connected

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