This has nothing to do with castles. Or tombs. Or even dead folks, for that matter. In fact, it relates to only about forty-five minutes of our Dublin trip, but it was a very important forty-five minutes, because during this time I had lunch and set a young man on the path to destruction.
Oh, yeah, and I met two very important people. Well, technically I had already met them, because we had been in the same class for a while now. But there is a difference between knowing who someone is, and meeting them. These two particular people were Cait, who hailed from Michigan (and, incidentally, ended up going to Knowth instead of Newgrange, due to the one-ticket-short fiasco), and Ben, who had about the biggest naturally blond pseudo-fro any guy could possibly have.
If you recall, before I left on this trip, I had been searching for a new place to stay, as my short lease was about to end (on Sunday) and I was having trouble finding a new apartment. Mary, that kindly elder woman who was a knight in knitted sweaters for international students, thought she had found a place for me on Friday, and I finally got confirmation early in the morning, before we tromped around the Viking Village (Saturday). While I was relieved to have an apartment to move into the next day, I was also jittery, because it meant now I was living with new people (again). Hopefully these people would not be as set on regularly smoking marijuana where the smell could seep into the furniture. I had mentioned my concerns to Leili and a few others, but there was little to do other than cross our fingers and hope.
The topic came up at lunch, however, as Ben, Cait, Leili and I discussed flatmates. Cait mentioned someone new was moving into her apartment soon.
“Yeah, there’s three of us in there now,” she said, “and we have one spare room. Our landlord just emailed us to say our fourth person is moving in tomorrow.”
“Do you know who it is?” Ben asked.
“Nope,” Cait replied shortly. “We don’t even know if it is a guy or a girl.”
“I know how that feels,” I replied. “I’m moving into a new apartment tomorrow, and I don’t know any of the people I’m moving in with, either.”
We continued discussing apartments, the fact that I was getting three new flat mates and the Cait was getting a fourth flatmate, and what it might be like to meet these new people while Leili stared at us like we were idiots.
“Guys,” she finally interrupted. “Where are your apartments?”
“Oh, up on Bandon Road.”
“Really? So is mine.”
“That’s great! We’ll be neighbors, then!”
Poor Leili. She was just about ready to slam her head into her soup. She finally had to come out and tell us straight up that we were going to be living together.
“No, because our new roommate’s name is [Name],” Cait said.
And then it clicked. You see, I do not go by my first name. In fact, I was often confused when people called me by my first name as a child, because everyone I knew called me by my middle name, so I legitimately did not know it was my name.
We all shared a good laugh, and Cait and I began comparing notes on likes and dislikes, and finding out more about our potential future of living together. Tomas joined us halfway through, and we shared our good news with him as dessert and coffee (wonderful coffee) arrived. Ben pushed his coffee aside.
“You don’t like coffee?” One of us asked.
“I’ve actually never tried it,” Ben explained. “When I was in high school, my science teacher covered it with drugs and addictive substances, so I never drank any. I just always kind of thought of it as a gateway drug, but I might try some today. I’m really tired.”
If you’re wondering why he was tired, Ben had the bad luck of rooming with the Back Bus Peoples the night before, as well as playing his violin for us at the pub. He actually did try the coffee, as the rest of us wondered how, exactly, he had managed to live so long without using some. He pronounced the taste decent, and even went as far as ordering a second cup before we departed. Then, when we were standing outside waiting for our bus, it happened.
“Ok, guys,” Ben said. “I think I’m ready to try cocaine now.”
And that is the story of how I found my new flatmate and contributed to the corruption of today’s youth.