Wednesday, July 13, 2011

An International Incident: The Time I Punched an Old Woman in Ireland

NOT my victim
 They say the the most embarrassing times in your life become the best stories.  Here goes...

I took a drunken backpack escapade with a good friend of mine to Ireland for two weeks.  We both had travelled internationally before, but his is the first time it was outside of school, or some family vacation.  We were alone to drink, smoke and generally enjoy ourselves. 

But as anyone that has traveled with someone knows, you quickly get on each other's nerves.  the reason is that you have only each other, and are in an unfamiliar world surrounded by strangers.  the problem is exacerbated when he two people involved are deliberate assholes.

After about a week's time we found ourselves in Cork, in the southern tip of Ireland.  We loved the place we stayed, the Kinlay house, a student's hostel with reasonable prices, great atmosphere, and close to several pubs.  Every morning we left the place, we traveled the same direction to town.  On the third morning of this, I became quite forceful with my companion regarding the direction to town, and we had both had enough of each other's bullshit.  I wanted to go another direction. 

To truly appreciate the moment you have to get some details:  The both of us are stupid hungover.  We usually were every morning there.  This is also early, since it is a real pain in the ass to sleep in a hostel.  I had snoring Italians all around me, and if you think a roman nose can produce a snoring ruckus, you should consider the stench.  Bathing to Europeans is a suggestion, at best.  And I am certain that the high garlic content of their food contributes to a Chernobyl-level crotchrot smell.  This means I did not sleep well.  to those that know me, this is no surprise.  I have been a mild insomniac since I was very young, and routinely operate of 4 hours of sleep or less.  This is only compounded when you are 9 hours off of your circadian rhythm. 

In fact, it was so early in the morning that there seemed to be no one in the streets to tell these two brash Americans to shut the fuck up and stop arguing.  The streets were empty to my estimation, and I was free to angrily gesture all I wanted without fear of accidentally punching an old woman in the face.  My clenched fist bounced off of something.  Something soft and warm.  Upon turning around I was horrified to see an old woman, just tall enough to be in clear path of my hand, holding her face with an expression of fear.

Now, I may be an asshole, but I was mortified.  I immediately apologized, but she understandably wanted nothing to do with me anymore.  She quickly shuffled by and we beat a hasty retreat in the opposite direction.  I was certain I would end up in some kind of trouble, either with the law or some pack of pikeys that spoke better with their fists than their tongues.  But I never heard anything from it.  I wonder if there was any long-term damage.  I am a big dude and I connected pretty good.

It took a few years to be comfortable to tell that story.  Popular knowledge lies on this matter, though.  I cannot laugh about this to this day, but I sure can get others to.

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