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post #31
bio: jen

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Little Apples

Recently in a pub in sub-rural Ireland, I learned a new phrase that amused me.

Before I go into the whole epic story, I will just clarify two things. One, yes I was actually in Ireland for two weeks with Boyfriend Colm. Two, I have absolutely no idea where exactly this pub was. I'm told it's in Clough which is not on the map.

So Boyfriend Colm and I were in the pub with his sister. About twenty people were in there, so it was somewhat busy. At the next table over were two couples having a laugh. One woman in particular had a loud laugh, more like a deep bellow that came out on both the inhale and the exhale. She sounded a bit like a seal when she laughed. It was quite a fantastic sound.

The smoking ban in pubs has gone into effect in Ireland. Most of the non-smokers I spoke with thought it was nice to go home without smokey clothes although they now smelled the farty smells more often. The smokers have a bit of a challenge since it rains a lot there, but many pubs are now building little tents with heat lamps near a side entrance. I'm going to predict that in a few years those little tents will become rooms with walls, windows, and ceilings. Besides a third of the pub is usually in there at any given time. And thus the cycle of the smoking section continues.

At one point, the two couples from the next table got up and went into the smoking area. They left their drinks on the table, but no one bothered them. When the couples came back, one of the husbands said he left his box of fags (aka smokes, cigarettes) on the table in the smoking area. After much debate about whether he should go back to fetch them, it was agreed that they would be safe there.

I was amazed. Call me a cynical untrusting city girl, but you never leave things for people to take because people probably will take them. I wish the world was honest, but it's not. However, this pub was not my world, and these people trusted their neighbors and strangers. There's something kind of good in that.

But then the fags got nicked (aka the cigarettes got stolen), and the couples were able to figure out who had them. One of the women wanted to confront the fag thief, but the laughing woman calmed her down.

"Leave him alone. He's not worth it. Little apples." She said.

"But he's smoking them right in front of us. . ."

"Little apples. Little apples." The laughing woman said, and the other woman understood.

But I was confused. The laughing woman turned to me.

"You know what that means, little apples?" She asked.

I shook my head no.

"Apples grow on trees, and sometimes they are small when they fall off the tree, so they're worthless. But it's not a bother. They're just little apples. More will grow next year."

"So what goes around comes around." I pitched in, but I knew I only had part of it.

"We all know what he did. We all know what kind of character he is." She said.

I got it. It's just a small matter. A box of smokes can be let go, but it will be remembered and talked about in the coming days and months. They will continue to trust their neighbors. They just won't trust the smoke stealer.

Meanwhile, Boyfriend Colm offered one of his cigarettes to the guy whose smokes were stolen.

"This isn't one of them funny cigarettes from California, is it?" He asked. Colm assured him that it was just a camel, and the man happily took one.

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