Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Escape to Freedom
Escape to Freedom
Martin emailed me an invitation to a Goulash Party! It was to be in his village twenty kilometers south of Frankfurt.
I thought about it for a few minutes, as I hadn’t been out of the country for ages, it was, tempting.
My finances were tight but I thought that I could just about make it. If I stayed in for the next two weeks and avoided driving the car anywhere, I could save some money.
So I booked the ticket, even that one step lifted my mood. I’d spent the last few months trying to make a success of my Art Gallery. With little or no sales I once again had to accept my lot and close the Gallery. I needed a lift, an escape from the drudgery of day to day optimism, that never fulfilled my optimistic expectations.
Sitting on my table was a notice from the Department of Transport. The notice was to inform me that my driving license was due to expire. It came over two weeks ago but as with everything that requires you to spend money, if it’s not required straight away, you can ignore it!
Well I couldn’t ignore it for much longer as my license would have expired by the time I returned from Germany. I went and got the required photographs down at the local pharmacy. She took two to three shots and showed them to me, I told her I looked like I was drunk! She laughed and of course I laughted then and still laughing, she took another picture. I now looked as if I’d taken another pint in between, so I gave up and choose the first one!
With the thirty five euro fee I also had to enclose my current license which was confusing to me as it stated on the application form that it was illegal to drive without a license! Was I meant to stay at home for a week and wait for the license to arrive? This would fit into the financial plan for the Goulash Party but still…?
With License Application on its way and driving illegally back home, I was thinking about the expiry date on the license as I had got both my license and passport around the same time.
When I got in I checked my passport, it was out of date on the 17th, the day after I’d booked to fly. Fuuuuck, fuuuuuck and fuck it! I always feel you have to say, Fuck it, at least three times for it to have any sort of impact, then you may want to say it one more time a little later before you can clear your cursing thoughts to the actual dilemma.
I checked the Passport Office online and saw that I could get a passport within three working days but for this privilege I would have to pay €170.00! For fuck’s sake, that’s my entire budget for the Goulash Party!
I could see no other way around it other than chancing it. I’d read some postings on various sites over the same issue and some said, Yeh you’ll be ok as it’s really only an Identity Card as we are all within Europe. Another said, You are a disorganised dumbass for not checking your passport before booking. Well fuck you, who ever you are!
So I managed to convince myself that there would be no problem going, I wanted it so bad, just to go there and have some fun, meet my friends who cares about coming back? I’d have had my fun, my escape and they were hardly going to stop me returning to my own country were they?
I really needed this break, my days were becoming longer, I was spending more and more time in my prison cell, up in my cramped attic bedroom. I’ve wasted hours away checking Facebook for any form of life beyond my slowly shrinking world. On Facebook I’d look for interesting postings, something that would require a witty Comment, no point in agreeing with their posting or adding something that made sense, sure everyone did that!
On a picture with everything out of focus, so lopsided that you got sick looking at it, comments were, Oh Brilliant photo of you honey, I Soooo Love that picture, You look great! Ahh for fucks sake! I’d have to leave a smartass comment on that like, I’m so impressed with your ability to take a picture while you fell down the stairs, amazing!
Eventually the day of departure was only one day away. I took the 7.30am bus to Galway (the only feckin’ bus there is!)
I was fairly knackered that morning, man’s best friend next door had spent most of the night barking out coded messages to his friends across the mountains.
The bus drove from a darkness to a most glorious sunrise. I was sometimes wide awake and other times fast asleep and through it all the bus rocked and rolled closer to Galway city. At times it felt as if we’d gone off the road and were now finding our way across rocky fields. Were we on land, sea or road? It was hard to tell, we just kept on rocking and rolling along.
When we eventually stopped and we staggered off the bus, my legs felt like the time I’d spent a week crossing the Bay of Biscay, so we must have being on sea somewhere between Carna and Galway!
In a chilly Galway city, I caught what I thought was the Citylink bus to Dublin, halfway across the country I realised I wasn’t on a Citylink bus at all! I was on the Go bus, well it was going in the right direction so who cares?!
Through dozes and snores I woke up as the bus was easing its way into Dublin’s traffic.
I could have booked a flight for that afternoon but I’m not fond of making train connections in the dark and in Germany I’d three trains to take. They say you should always try the things that you don’t want to do or try the things you fear. I regretted after booking the flight that I hadn’t done that, it could have led to other adventures in Germany. I’ve got off at the wrong stop before on my way there, it makes you more confident when you know you can find your way, the situation forces you to reach out to people and get help, it makes you connect more with your new environment.
It was a long day in Dublin, I spent some of it in Trinity College’s sunlight, sitting on benches watching the wenches! I just said that ‘cause it rhymes!:)
There were fine specimens of the female form, all shapes and sizes, small, tiny and tall. All nationalities were there, everyone relaxed and like me enjoying the sunshine in the cool crisp air.
When the sun went behind a cloud and stayed there, it became really cool again, so it was time to move. I caught the Dart out to Seapoint where my sister lived. My near 92 year old Aunt lived there as well.
I spent some time chatting to my Aunt or more to the point I sat there watching the telly and replying, Yes, Yes, No, Yes, Yes….. lack of sleep doesn’t induce in depth conversations!
I sent my friend Bren a text asking him if he wanted to go for a pint. We’ve known each other since we were around 1 years old and we meet up every now and then, have a pint and a laugh. He doesn’t believe my life and the situations I find myself in. Bren says I should write a book. Every time I send him an email, he’ll reply, Put that in the book as well!
Bren replied that he’d love to go but that he was in Santander, great!
So I went to bed early, I was in bed at 9.00pm and asleep soon after that. After a few different dreams of which I remembered none I woke up. I reckoned it must have been about 2.00am, it was 11.00pm!
Went downstairs and made some hot chocolate, had that, then made another, drank that and then just to be on the safe sleep side, I had a small whiskey!
I went back to bed and woke up every bloody hour!
When the alarm went off at 3.30 am I was already awake waiting for it to go off!
Had a shower, made a sandwich, grabbed a banana and apple and off I went.
Driving misty rain greeted me on the doorstep, brilliant! Though I didn’t seem to get that wet, I’d shelter from the tall houses and trees that line the road down to the Aircoach Stop at Knox’s Memorial Building.
There was no one else there, the occasional car passed by and I looked at the austere looking Knox’s building, it had a plaque on the wall saying it was built in 1908. That was 8 years before the uprising.
A few minutes passed before a man came around the corner. He said hello and asked was I going to the airport? Then he laughtd as he realised it was a stupid question! He was returning to England having come over for a school reunion. I asked him did he think his friends had changed? he said some had and others were still the same. We talked of desperate Ireland, shops closing and how we seemed just to accept our lot. There was no talk of any bankers going to jail. He told me he’d a friend who was an Independent TD and his friend too was hoping there would be some kind of backlash against the measures imposed by our own government and Brussels.
I told him on Facebook some people had posted real strong words. There was a lot of anger out there. I myself felt it. Our Government is not fighting for its own people. He said, Maybe it just needs a catalyst?
There we were, the two of us, strangers, discussing a possible revolution a few steps outside the building that was built 8 years before the last revolution.
As often as I travel in the early hours of the morning, I’m always surprised to see so many other people are up and about, like it was the thing to be doing.
Inside the airport building at Terminal 2, I checked the screens for the Check in desk. I dropped my bag on the weighing ramp and handed in my passport.
She typed in my details and then said, Your passport is out of date for your return journey, you can’t travel.
And that was it, my Escape to Freedom was Cancelled.