Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Bags Are Packed, I'm Ready To Go

I am not ready to go. Not even a little bit.

So yesterday I was fucking around on Facebook and I have this friend request from someone who has absolutely no cause to try and friend me. We were best friends for a while when I was eight or so; she stole my Puppy In My Pocket toys. Then the group of girls she started running round with in secondary school beat me up once for being a "hippy", and basically caused me a great deal of misery in my teenage years and even today, I see them and I feel fear.

There is no way in hell I would ever accept a friend request. Why would I want any kind of contact with you? You still look like a skank, you dropped out of school and can't even construct a simple sentence.."loves her friends so much use no who u r" "ring me wen ya cn i msd al ur fekn cals" wow. And I looked at pictures of her and her friends and thought OH NO! I HAVE TO GO BACK TO A TOWN AND A COUNTRY FULL OF WANKERS LIKE THESE!

They are unspeakably ugly, they have thug like faces because they are thugs. They wear baseball caps and golden earrings and strange fluorescent sports clothing. They hang out in their grotty council estate homes and drink buckfast. Sometimes they take themselves into the streets or to the bars and cause everyone else misery. This is what my town is like. This is what my country is like. Full of idiotic wankers.

I met the Northern Irish student who was on the same program as me two years ago. He had come back for a visit. I went over to say hello to him. He asked me whereabouts in Northern Ireland I was from. I said, Bangor. He turned himself sidewards to me and chuckled, let out a deep breath slowly, then chuckled more. I asked him where he was from and he laughed again, "Just outside Newry, love." I said that didn't matter and shouldn't stop us being friends, I introduced my best friend Daniel, who is a FIJI and he just laughed again. "FIJI..ha!" and turned his back. This is why I hate Northern Ireland. He presumed straight off that I am Protestant because of where I live, and following that assumption decided not to speak to me.

Daniel was shocked. I have obviously spoken to him about some Northern Irish things before but he couldn't believe things could be that bad. He said he had never seen such animosity before. I told him that's why I wanted to stay here.

America has great flaws. Great flaws but there are so many places where people live freely, where people can be who they want and mix with all sorts of different people who are also living how they want. This campus is one of those pockets in Indiana. This is a very gay campus. Same sex hook-ups happen all the time. Even I have gone for it a few times. There are gay couples holding hands around campus. We have an annual drag show of quality student performances. There are transgender students, openly transgender, totally accepted by the community and totally open about their experiences. The PRIDE organisation participates in campus activities on the same level as the Greeks. I love this freedom. Indiana isn't like this, Evansville isn't like this. But this little community is.

People at home do not accept anything that deviates from the traditional yob-like figure that has come to represent us as a nation and a mentality. We hate the Other Side. Whatever the Other Side may be, we hate it. We hate it, we abuse it in the streets, we throw things at it, we spit on it, we set fire to it, we bomb and shoot and kill. The Protestants or Catholics on the Other Side of the Peace Lines, the English or the Irish on the Other Side of the Borders. The Police on the Other Side of Justice. The Government on the Other Side of Stability. The people of Different Colours and Languages and Religions from the Other Side of the World. People who Hold Down Jobs, who Have Enough Pride and Self-Respect To Work For The Things They Want on the Other Side of the Poverty Line. People who are Educated on the Other Side of the Social Hierarchy.

This hatred makes them blind, makes them lash out and hurt. The Other Side fears the Other Side. At home I often feel fear and I didn't realise until I came here. The way I grew up wasn't right, and no-one here can possibly understand that, I didn't even understand it until I got away from it. I haven't been able to put my finger on quite why this place feels different and why this place feels good but I have just this minute come to understand. It's The Absence of Fear.

I love you, America.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Winter Break

So Winter Break was pretty insane.

There was much to be seen and I sure made up for the time spent in Evansville surrounded by this fairly reserved bunch of people. It was nice to be amongst Europeans again, it was nice to be amongst Americans in big cities with more open, European style lifestyles. It was nice to feel the kind of passion that is impossible to get with boys from the Mid West. It was nice to have one simple brush of another's skin bring about the spark that causes a lightning storm.

Coming back to Evansville I was completely bummed out for the first two days. Damn I was down. But standing outside my dorm that second night, smoking a cigarette then coming back to my room, I realised: This place feels like home.

I don't know what it is exactly yet. Maybe it's how I have changed, in ways I don't even realise yet, that's making me not want to go back home and confront the memories of who I used to be. Because no matter what changes I have been through this year, I have still changed so much since I left school, and it's so hard to think there are people who still remember me for something different to who I really am. Here I can be who I want to be, and I have no regrets from here yet.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Last night was Daniel's 21st. First trip to a bar in America.
Too many hilarious things happened.

We went with his momma and friend Ashley to a bar named Boatsies. Sitting at the bar were older men, glazed eyes, rough faces, baseball caps and beers. Sitting at various tables, playing pool, standing at the juke box were younger people. Men with something dark in their eyes. Women with bleached hair and sunken cheeks. They all stared as we walked in. Newcomers.

The Lonely Planet Guide to the USA offers this introduction to the state of Indiana;
"As Chicago newspaperman Mike Royko once wrote: 'In Indiana, a real good time consists of putting on bib overalls and a cap bearing the name of a farm equipment company and sauntering to a gas station to sit around and gossip about how Elmer couldn't get his pick-up truck started that morning.' Royko was exaggerating but, er, not terribly far off the mark in describing this farm-filled state"

We managed to befriend some of the people. I think Ashley and Daniel may have been at school with a few. My Felon Friend, Keith, came over because his friend had bet him $10 he didn't have the balls to ask the Irish Girl to dance. Daniel screamed Cultural Experience at me. His friend came over and set $5 on our table. Ruby told him off, said her 'daughter' was worth more. He returned with the Car Bombs. His girlfriend works in the local supermarket. She knew Daniel and bought him a shot. There were endless bottles of beer, pitchers of beer, Jaegerbombs....Irish Car Bombs.

Ashley had asked me earlier in the evening if we had Irish Car Bombs in Ireland. I had never even heard of them. I said I could not imagine it as history isn't yet history. I still remember the Omagh Bomb. 29 people were killed. Over 200 were injured. When my mother first moved to Northern Ireland, car bombs were such a constant threat that in city centres, one was not allowed to leave a car unattended. Car Bombs aren't funny. When I think of the history of my country, I almost cry. It has all been so tragic. I told them my uncle had died in a car bomb so the drink tasted like death. It wasn't a very funny thing to say. No one understands my situation. Northern Ireland is a little pocket of uniqueness. And not in a good way.

They asked us back to the After Party. It was at the girl from the supermarket and $5 man's house. It was a nice house. They had a hot tub in the back. They all drove, we walked. I don't remember the walk there but I think it only took like 10 minutes. The walk back home took about an hour. A guy there had a bottle of cherry vodka. There was much shot taking. Daniel stopped being able to stand. He needed to use the bathroom, I took him and held him up in front of the toilet. This took a lot of strength. I held his penis to aim it in the toilet, he was peeing all over these poor people's bathroom. We carried him home but it was snowy and icy and he kept falling over. Hard. He died today. Supreme Death.

I videoed the whole walk home; Daniel is a dick.

Irish Car Bombs

Chatting with a fella named Keith in one of Clinton, Indiana's fine drinking establishments...

"I would love to go to Ireland, I'd love to go anywhere else...but I can't. I can't go anywhere."
"Why not?"
"I'm a felon."
"Oh really, what did you do?"
"Fighting, more fighting, possession.."
"Why'd you do all that? Let me guess...there's fuck all else to do round here?"
"You got it."

These people were nice. These people who could not leave this little toxic bubble for whatever reason, legal restrictions or just a resignation to a life that won't expand much further than a few miles down the highway were thrilled to meet someone from another place. They bought me Irish Car Bombs to make me feel at home, they bought Ruby Irish Car Bombs because they thought she was my mother, they drank them with me so they could share in a new experience. Just like travelling alongside me to a land far beyond the county line, far beyond the state line. A land that might as well be in another galaxy, it lies so unreachable.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I'll Bring You Flowers In The Pouring Rain

I'm lying in bed in Clinton, Indiana. It has just turned midnight here, it's Christmas Day. I think I am on Eastern Time. In my home town, which according to Google is 3750 miles away, on GMT, I can imagine countless families already opening their presents.

I read a quote last night:

"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family, all wrapped up in each other."

I don't want to think about whether my mother will cry this Christmas, because I am not there, not wrapped up in my family. No one ever asked me to come home.

I read another quote:

"Christmas - that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or a day of prayer, but it will always be a day of remembrance - a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved"

I am full of regrets, I have hurt so many people so far on my journey through life. I was cold and I had locked myself up. I like to think I am trying to be a better person all the time. I like to think I am honest, I like to think I keep my word, I like to think I do not let anybody down, I like to think I am more open. But now I am getting hurt like those people I have hurt before. Christmas is about love though. I don't believe in the religious aspect anymore, but I enjoy the love that it symbolises. I enjoy the message, keep on giving, keep the warmth. Any pain I am going through is probably just something a bit like karma. I will keep on trying to better myself. Like Scrooge.

I will honour Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all through the year. I will live in the Past, the Present and the Future. The spirits of all three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Small Town Suffocation

so i'm spending Christmas in a town called Clinton, its in Indiana, population 5000ish.

It certainly seems to have nothing to do in it.

The first night I arrived it was snowing, I went for a walk, it was beautiful. My host took me for a drive around, every building is different, thrown together from planks of wood, american flags flying, porches with little chairs at the fronts, randomly sitting on the grass, no fences or walls to mark the properties boundaries, but I have no doubt that each person knows precisely which blades of grass belong to them and which to their neighbours.

Some of the properties look like junkyards, some are uninhabited, burnt-out or falling down, some just look like they are. The main street is full of recently empty buildings. America is in a recession. There are potholes in the streets, there are potholes in the very few sidewalks. Only one street seems to have streetlights, the rest may have an occasional one on the corner of certain blocks.

The streets are full of SUVs, full of liquor stores, but empty of people.

On the wall in Dairy Queen was a notice. It warned that in the state of Indiana it is illegal to purchase more than 3g of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine within a seven day period. These drugs are found in many common cold remedies and are used to make meth. "Help us make Vermillion County a Meth Free Zone" was the plea from the Sheriff.

Kids in America smoke weed and take pills, they do meth. I have met countless who do this. Some of my friends here do this. If they would just take them all and put them in pubs, give them a few beers, give them somewhere to go, something to do, a place to meet others....well I can't help but think that they'd be a lot better off.

My host is not twenty one for another 5 days. My host does not wish to leave the house. I have never felt so alone and trapped my entire life. I have nowhere to go and I want to escape. It's been two days. And I know I have a way out in a weeks time. I am escaping to Boston, to Virginia, to New York, finally to Evansville.

If I had grown up here, in a run down town, with no job and nothing to do, well who's to blame me if I find my escape in substances....this is the Midwest, with the nations biggest meth problem, this is Wabash Valley, from Terre Haute down to Evansville, where its King. There ain't no other way out.

I am full of sadness.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The General Public is an Idiot

So anyone who has ever had a job where they have had to deal with the general public in any way will know how completely and utterly retarded many people are.

The problems they seem to encounter when ordering a cup of coffee makes one wonder how these people are able to dress themselves in the morning.
The absolute rage these people get themselves into when something goes wrong...makes one wonder how easy these people's lives must be if getting 2 sugars in their coffee instead of 3 is the worst thing going on.

Indiana customers are 10 million times worse than Norn Iron customers. They bother me immensely but at the same time their complete and utter idiocy brings so much joy to my life...

Are a latte and a mocha latte different from each other?
No Ma'am we just give them different names for funsies...

Are a white chocolate mocha and a mocha different from each other?