I had to go down to the village yesterday.
As I have said here before, I was somewhat erring on the tired side, so I thought that while I was there I would have a mug of strong coffee.
It was very pleasant outside the coffee shop. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and the ice was nearly melting on the footpaths. There was a feeling of Spring in the air.
As I was leaving, I found my way blocked by two elderly women. I know I am getting on in years, but these two were old. One stood firmly in my way and glowered at me.
“Are you Low Cal?” she asked in that terrible accent that sends shivers down my spine. Forget your swallows or your cuckoos – the Americans have arrived!
“They call me Polly Unsaturated” says I as pleasantly as possible while wondering what the fuck she was on about.
“Do you live around here, Polly?” she asked without missing a beat, and in a voice that started dogs barking a quarter of a mile away.
Ah! She was asking if I was local. Fucking Americans.
“I do,” I replied.
“Is this it?” she asked sweeping her hand around to indicate the village. “Are there no more shops than this?”
It was the way she said that last bit that did it. I can take a lot, and had even silently vowed to be nicer to tourists this year, but what the fuck did she expect in a country village? A fucking Walmart on every corner and the gaps filled in with drive through McDonalds?
“That’s all there is,” I said in a take it or leave it kind of way. “It’s just a country village, and that’s the way we like it.”
“I know it’s just a country village!” she barked in unison with the dogs in the distance. “I just expected a bit more.”
Well, fuck her. I bet she comes from Hicksville, Arizona too. She was really pissing me off at this stage.
“Is there any WahDur around here?” she said as if accusing me of murdering someone.
“Water?” I said. I was about to suggest she ask for a glass of the stuff when she ordered her coffee, but realised she meant more than that. “There’s a river under the bridge over there,” I said helpfully.
“I mean real WahDur” she snarled. Fuck me but she was a prime example of womanhood at its worst.
“Go a few miles that way and you’ll come to the sea?”
“Would that be the Addalantic?” she asked suspiciously.
“No. The Irish Sea. It’s smaller but just as wet. If you sail across it you’ll come to Wales.”
“What would I want to go to Wales for? We’ve just come from there.”
“Would you like some real shopping?” I asked. “Somewhere you can buy real, authentic Aran sweaters, and CDs of Riverdance?”
“That would be good,” she muttered, but I could see she was hooked.
I gave her the directions, and left her to turn her coffee sour. Not a fucking word of thanks, or a farewell, or even a ’have a nice day’.
Later they drove past me, following the directions I had given. I waved to them, but they ignored me.
I hope they enjoyed their drive. It’s a beautiful road with incredible scenery. There are no shops or tourist attractions ruining the distant vistas, just endless miles of bogland.
No American has ever come back alive from The Bogs.
I felt good. Summer really is coming.