Saturday, August 13, 2022

We need more dogs in trucks

Having never lived through a pandemic before, I imagine there are all kinds of government departments, agencies and whatnot whose job it is to measure economic activity to see if there’s a recovery happening.

Obviously very many businesses and so on have been affected, but how can you tell if a city or a country is back to where it was before? You could look at all kinds of factors: what people are spending, airport traffic, public transport use and so on, but there’s one very obvious vector that tells you pretty much everything you need to know: stag parties and hen parties.

Last night, Dublin city centre was packed. We had dinner reservations for 6pm (I feel this makes me officially old, go in early, get out early, avoid the late night mayhem etc etc), but walking down Camden Street, then Aungier Street, and then onto South Great George’s Street, the city centre was heaving. The good weather played a part I’m sure, people love being in town on a sunny day/evening, but this was more than that.

It was chock-a-block with people. The pavements were packed. Folks enjoying the sunshine, and folks who foolishly thought that because the daytime was really warm, the evening air would be too but it’s still March and there were lots of short shorts and skimpy t-shirts/frocks which, when you’re sitting outside as the sun goes down, don’t give you much protection from the rapidly falling temperature.

Aside from that though, the stags and the hens were out in force.

Oh look, it’s 17 lads dressed as Elvis. Oh look, it’s 19 ladies all wearing t-shirts with jokes and slogans about how much they like mickeys. Oh look, it’s 8 fellas wearing their Eng-er-land away shirts with one lad who is dressed like a cheerleader. Oh look, it’s 27 ladies with balloons tied to them. Oh look, there’s one mortified chap dressed like the gimp from Pulp Fiction but with a window on his bum so everyone can see his bum and his bum is awful and you feel sorry for the poor lady who has to look at the bum for the rest of her life. You hope it isn’t the one wearing the ‘I love a good bum’ t-shirt you saw earlier because she is in for some disappointment. To be fair, in this day and age if you haven’t test driven the bum before you get married, that’s pretty much your own fault.

That is how you know your economy is thriving again. People who come to town, have a pint of Jaeger-bomb for breakfast, drink themselves to the point of coma, then drink some more until they’re sober again, then take to the streets in costumes – all before 2pm. The Department of Stags and Hens is critical to any government.

Another thing we don’t have much of in Dublin are pickup trucks. There are some, but they’re not as prevalent here as they might be in other countries. However, last night there was one parked just off Fade Street, and in the back was a beautiful Golden Retriever. There was no driver in the truck, she was just waiting in the back and welcoming all the pets and love from people who passed by.

Of course, as dog people, we had to stop and say hello and she came over wagging her tail and looking for rubs. Then she said ‘Oh hang on, I have to go and attend to this man over here’ as a Deliveroo cyclist stopped on the other side of the truck, took his phone out and got some selfies with him and the dog. Then she went to the back of the truck where two American ladies showered her with affection and then complained that they had to catch up with their friends because they’d much rather have stayed with the dog all night. Quite what that says about their pals I don’t really know, because they may well have been dicks but this dog was so fantastic you’d pretty much choose her over good people too.

I feel like we need more of this. Free range dogs at various points throughout cities who you can just spend a few minutes with and it makes your evening complete. Dinner was lovely, the food was fantastic, the wine was good, the company was exemplary, but the addition of a dog to the whole experience was perfect.

We came home and took our two German Shepherds out. On the way back to the house we met The Weatherman, a neighbour whose first words are always about what kind of day it is. He literally tells you what you’re experiencing in that very second.

“Cold one today,” he’ll say as you shiver in your big coat. “Sure is,” you reply.

“It’s very warm,” he’ll say as the sun splits the rocks. “You’ve got that right,” you reply.

Last night there was nothing particularly notable about the weather. It had been a lovely day, but given the time of year it was cooler, but not so cold to make a remark about. There was no rain, no snow, no wind. Nothing. It was just evening.

“It’s dark,” he said, as we passed by.

“You’re not wrong there,” I replied.

“Goodnight.”

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