Last weekend at the local library book sale, I picked up a copy of The Islandman by Tomás O’Crohan. According to the back, O’Crohan lived from 1856 to 1937 on the Great Blasket Island off the coast of Ireland, and this book was his memoir. On the cover of the book was a photograph of him as an old man smiling. I was intrigued and could use a little dose of masculinity after hanging out with the ladies (who also live on islands, ahah!) from A Fortunate Age, so I parted with my fifty cents.
The memoir itself is fast moving. Tom doesn’t dwell on much and he’s all about getting the work done, getting the fish in, getting the turf down the mountain (harder than one might think when one is constantly interrupted by a poet). He doesn’t dwell too much on his wife who dies or his children who die, but he does love his family deeply.
As I was reading it, I was struck by how much he gives the scope of his universe. While other family members go to America or to mainland Ireland, he stays where he is. Times change. Bigger boats come into the Bay of Dingle, but he seems to ride everything like someone who’s ridden a lot of ocean waves. He just keeps on and on.
While I was reading the book, I noticed that someone had made some notes in the back of the book. First, there were lists of pros and cons. The first list was called Italy. The pros of Italy were food and more experience. The cons were $, stress, hassle. Next to Italy was the list for Scotland. The pro was new place entirely and the cons were $, stress, hassle. Next list was for Ireland. There were no pros for Ireland. The cons were boredom, $. Next was a list called going home early. The pros were save $, can leave for LA earlier. The cons were possibility of missing out on something here, the discomfort.
Obviously the former reader of my book had made it back to LA at some point because the book made into the library book sale pile.
Then, a few pages later, the former reader of my book had written a dialogue between a man and a woman. He or she didn’t put in character names, but who is who quickly became evident. Here is a relic from someone’s Ireland adventure in a fortunate age:
You want to have a one night stand with me don’t you?
Jesus, you’re paranoid.
(pause, looks her over and at his watch)
Do you have a girlfriend?
Are you good?
Are you a good lay?
How long do you last?
How long do you last?
You are a liar.
No I’m serious.
Liar. Be honest or no deal.
10 minutes max.
But I can go again usually 10 min later.
That’s more interesting. How many times?
2-3. Once – 4.
Do you go down?
I asked first.
If I like her and she hasn’t just gone running or has her period, shit like that.
Do you like me?
. . .Yes.
Do you cuddle?
Do you talk during or after?
Do you need to smoke after?
On a scale of 1-10, 10 being most important, how intent are you on me cumming?
9. 10 the second time.
Do you like dirty tlak.
No not really.
Is your back hairy?
No! Are your legs hairy?
My turn. Do you get clingy the next morning?
Do you have any fucked up father/brother issues that are going to result in me feeding you Kleenex all night?
No but that’s a pretty picture.
Do you have any hang-ups or no entry areas.
I don’t take it in the ass.
I’m betting you don’t either – so why should I?
PAUSE – They both stared at each other with devilish grins.
Without a word she puts out her cigarette. He extends his arm and they go off comfortably.