The ticket read “your flight arrives two days after it leaves.” It was a bittersweet reality, but for such a dirt cheap flight, there had to be a catch. I was annoyed at former companions though, because I’d have 11 hours to kill in Boston with nothing to do, and some people like to be raging assholes and burn bridges down for no reason; thus, killing vague connections I had there. Ah well, I’d later learn on the flight that all I wanted to do was sleep, but it would have been nice to at least have a couch on some friend-of-a-friend’s house rather than the airport floor. So I saw Boston from the air, and that was it.
But entering Ireland at 6:00 am is pleasant. Otherwise stringent airline workers have readied themselves for the day but have not yet been taxed by hordes of people, so they’re still friendly and their hearts show through. And besides… it’s Ireland, the country is full of sass and kindness especially if you earn their respect (which, as an American, is a challenge).
In the States, we are cruel to each other. Don’t get me wrong, one can find a warm heart around every corner but judgmental eyes outnumber the fairer ones. We are obsessed with image, even if that image is that we don’t fit in anywhere. I guess we get the mentality that we are best, and by we, we actually mean me. But a stroll through Ireland shows a place where tradition and evolution, the truest immovable object and unstoppable force, coexist. There are no stereotypes, only rivalries, often ancient, which can ultimately be overlooked completely or solved with brawls at the pub. How refreshing to see people who are not obsessed with cliches, but instead with ideals, traditions, and fine whiskey. The idea is burned in my mind by a young woman with bleached white hair, thick eye makeup, and a trendy knit who was so excited that we both loved hiking… serious hiking.
Which leads me to point out an obvious truth: America is deeply hated by every other county. I’m sure our self entitlement has something to do with it, but when asked by friends back home it’s most easily explained with the answer: “because we invented the acronym YOLO.” Traveling as I do, I see it and I feel it. I can take the hate, because it’s genuine, but what makes me sick is people and countries that act kind to my face, stereotyping me as rich, only to turn around and stab me in the back if the chance arrises… it’s what drove me mad in Cozumel, a lack of authenticity. But here, I’m openly hated by some (initially), and I’m content with that (though I’ve yet to fail at turning their opinion). But the Irish are honest, and their hair is red because their hearts are full of fire. I earned the compliment from a local that I am “the only American he’s ever enjoyed,” and then mocks me in the worst Alabaman impression I’ve ever heard (…I’ve never even been to the South).