Episode 50 – A Sinking Ship

I’m sitting in my parked car. The rain is tip-tapping with a soft, punchy, metallic sound and the engine is purring with just the faintest vibration like one of those massage chairs in airports on a low setting. The heat is on so the windows are steaming up – unfortunately, there is no Rose-shaped hand print on the back pane and I’m very much alone: no Jack Dawson for me.

When I was doing my Leaving Cert French oral exam, I made up a boyfriend called Leo and went on to describe in my pre-degree Français qu’il avait les yeux bleus et les cheveux blonds et qu’il voulait être artiste. That was how popular “Titanic” was in nineteen ninety eight. I made my actual boyfriend (coincidentally, blonde hair and blue eyes) come with me two out of the four times I saw it in the movie theatre and I saved a full page newspaper ad for it and framed it. It still hangs in my hall.

But I’m not a romantic.

I think it was the class segregation and injustice; the emerging feminism of Rose; the breakdown of the old establishment patriarchy and the unwitting optimism, ignorant to the horror of the next six years, presented in the film that appealed to me. I’m not the daughter of a History teacher for nothing.

It’s lovely here, in my car. No dogs. No humans. I should go inside. I will, when I’ve had a break from non-vehicular traffic.

I’m just back from The New Yorker’s. I finally met her baby doll properly, having briefly cooed over her at the airport (airports are a theme today) in a chance meeting the day ElsaDaughter and I arrived back from our summer in Texas with My American Mom and The Smartest Man in America and all my cousins. The New Yorker was there in Arrivals to pick up her sister, with her mom, and I was a manic mess of grubby jet lag. I was already fed up coming back to the cold after seven weeks of endless sunshine – I thrive in the heat, as do my freckles – but throw into that mix that nobody was there to meet us. I thought someone would want to pick us up after two months away. Is that selfish and spoiled? I expected John Knox and after much pay phone slamming (my phone went on strike as soon as we hit Irish soil – it probably had had enough after fifty odd days of roaming), we realised that we were on our own, with I might add, no money. One of our cards wouldn’t work: the one that had the last of our holiday spends in its account, and, of course, we had no working phone to go online to transfer enough for a taxi. Guess who saved the day? My Lady, The Queen’s Mother, as usual.

I remember a tiny sliver of romanticism in me (since eradicated) that hoped that Berger, aka Quarter Pounder, might show up. But, of course, now I know he was busy telling me fibs about parties and shacking up with She Doesn’t Know What She’s Let Herself In For.

Anyhoo. Posh always says “Anyhoo”. I miss Posh. I haven’t seen her in two weeks.

So yeah. I had to drive past the back of the airport today to get to The New Yorker’s. I was so tempted to stop and park up beside the Plane Spotters (is that less anoraky than Train Spotters, being a Plane Spotter? I hated that movie. Baby on the ceiling. Baby dying. I was traumatised. I watched it with Posh and her big brother at three in the morning, pissed. I think I was showing off my knickers to some boy while watching: flaunting my little short skirt. No wonder The Thing That Happened happened to me, wha?!)

Anyway, I’m tangentalisifying very frequently today.

My head is busier than an air traffic control tower. I don’t know how they do that. I wouldn’t be able to concen… I was thinking I’d love to be in America for Christmas. Just for one Christmas, ship the whole Irish branch over to join up the dots with the Irish-American branch of this tree I call family. I really miss them all. Really. It must be foregrounded in my consciousness from The New Yorker’s Christmas Eve itinerary. How magical is that? To fly home to a city where Christmas is King (come on, think “Home Alone 2”) with your wee doll on her first Christmas on the most optimistic day of the year, unless you’re a character in “Fairytale of New York”, that is.

Titanic was sailing to New York. They should’ve got the plane instead. No icebergs in the sky.

I read a book about Charles Linbergh’s wife during the summer. In America, as it happens. And I finished it on the plane. He was a real prick.

I’m glad I went visiting today. I’ve been a poor excuse of a pal to many these last months. I’m ticking off my Making Amends List as I go. Bear with me.

All this historical referencing reminds me of my longing for a different era. I’m pretty sure I was born in the wrong decade, not century: I wouldn’t want to miss out on the suffragette antics.

I just had a guy suggest a drink in January… Eh, it’s December 16th? I don’t think I’ll hold out for that, thanks. I’m thirsty now.

I think I should have been born in 1910 and grown up with a Suffragette mother and come of age in the late twenties: the new edginess of thirties’ style and the opportunities afforded to women during War Time (I’m not for a second belittling the terror of living through a war) when all the men were off fighting, greatly appeals to me. The collective sense of determination and community is all too rare these days, unless it involves a smartphone and a bucket of ice.

I would also love to go back to a time when my brain was not constantly in search of screen stimulation and instant knowledge and I would learn how to dance a waltz as a matter of course.

And if all the boys looked like Captain America…

On that note, my battery is about to die. I should go in and charge my phone. I need to google something.

DR 💋

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