I love the Irish. I first realised how much I loved the Irish the summer preceding my second year of University. I moved into the student house I was to reside in that year looking forward to a quiet summer filled with activities like reading, enjoying the garden and seeing The Man who had recently graduated and moved back to The Big Smoke.
My future housemate informed me by phone that an Irish friend of hers would be subletting her room over the summer and my heart sank a little at the thought of someone else being around the MASSIVE HOUSE.
Fast forward a couple of days later and it’s like I was living some sort of drug and alcohol fuelled, linguistic school, housewife by day, coming of age summer novel. I’m sure there is one out there. I learned new phrases like ‘your man’, which does not in fact mean a man ‘belonging’ to you (not that I condone slavery) it just means a man. This was initially confusing for me when Irish would say ‘there’s your man’ and I would look for The Man who I knew to be in London.
Irish and I initially bonded over a love of red wine. At the start of the summer, being lazy so and so’s we left our first empty bottle of red wine at the end of our VERY long, bar length countertop. Jokingly we said ‘we should just leave them here and see how far we get by the end of the summer’. By the end of the summer wine bottles were spilling off of the ends, trailing down the floor and into the Conservatory.
Irish was finishing off her Masters so by day I would groggily recover, do a bit of cleaning (hence the housewife) possibly get in a few bottles of red and eagerly await for the key to turn in the lock (just like a housewife).
The Man would come down and visit me every couple of weekends. Because I’m the kind of person who shows love by buying food and drink supplies for people I would buy a couple of bottles of wine for us. By the time The Man arrived though, Irish and I would inevitably have already finished them and be merrily rolling around the house. The Man also got a lot of panicked ‘I think I’m going to die, I’ve gone too far with substances’ calls. It’s really a massive credit to him that he never hung up on me or dodged my calls.
I have a lot of stories that I could tell about this period of life but potentially should retain them rather than placing them all over the Internet. I will just say that by the end of the summer I’d lost weight, was considerably poorer, was on a path towards AA/NA (but in a fun way, this is not a thoughtful how I had to turn sober story) and was constantly exhausted. It was the best summer.
I was thinking about Irish recently as I went to an Irish friend’s barbeque. Irish 2 shares many similarities with Irish housemate. This is not the beginning of a vaguely racist rant on how all-Irish people love potatoes (although I have to say she made KILLER POTATOES at the bbq) but they do love Irish stuff a lot (Clonakilty sausages) which I have now converted to (because of their insanely high salt content, fucking delicious).
Irish people basically seem a lot prouder of their stuff than we are. Honestly we were all force fed Irish sausages and promised that they would change our lives. That’s such a high and confident bar to set. If it was me, a prototypically English person I would probably start out with something which devolved rapidly from ‘you should totally have a sausage, they are really nice’ to …’but only if you want to of course, I mean, they are ok, I could see they wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste and obviously I don’t want you to have one if you don’t want one and they probably aren’t that good anyways actually….’
Irish people are also really good at kindly and smilingly making you drink. It’s not normally hard to convince me to drink but the insidious way it is done gets your trashed so fast that you suddenly realise you really have to slow down otherwise your night will soon be over. It’s so hard to say no to a smiling petite blonde woman who just wants you to have fun and accept her hospitality though. I’ve honestly never really experienced drinking peer pressure before in quite the dangerously, lovely way that Irish 1 and 2 share.
On the standard Monday morning ‘how was your weekend’ chatter my boss asked me what I did over the weekend. I replied ‘ I went to an Irish barbecue’. The boss queried ‘what exactly is an Irish barbecue and how does it differ from an English barbecue?’
I gave him a look and said ‘cause it was hosted by an Irish person of course.’ I genuinely felt that summed things up.