I’m back from Ireland and castigating myself for that promise I made to come back a better storyteller. Fluently “talking the craic/crack” is something of which a Yankee like me can only dream. Besides, my best story is probably the story that wasn’t. You know the saying, “a picture paints a thousand words?” Well, this picture (the one above) paints about 600… pictures!
It was our last day in Ireland. We were lolly gagging around on O’Connell Street in Dublin – window shopping, people watching, building gawking – and Jay was messing around with the camera. Somehow he had switched it to the video setting, and he couldn’t get it off. Finally, he decided to stop and work with it until he got it fixed. The luck o’ the Irish was definitely with me because at that moment we were in front of an Eason store (kind of the Barnes and Noble of Ireland, I gathered.) Our location was obviously providential, so I left Jay at his attempts at camera configuration, and I went in to look for that book of Irish folk songs I’d been wanting.
About 15 minutes later (book and CD in hand) I emerged to find Jay still working on the camera. He’d fixed it, all right – he’d lost all of our pictures! “Pray for a camera shop,” he said. Prayers must ascend through the air more expeditiously in Ireland. We walked a short ways, turned the corner and beheld that glorious yellow Kodak sign. The sympathetic clerk within couldn’t help us, but she directed us to a shop on Grafton Street, about a 20 minute walk away.
Jay was visibly anguished, nearly sick over the thought of having lost all our photos. The hike to Grafton Street, a trendy area we’d enjoyed on another (happier) day, was a somber one. I consoled Jay (and myself) by telling him that it would “make a great story… who goes to Ireland for nine days and comes back without any pictures?” I began to mentally write the story about the story. It didn’t make either of us feel any better.
The friendly tech-friendly guys at the Camera Shop on Grafton Street made sure we understood that it would cost us 20 euros, regardless of whether or not they recovered our photos. They told us to come back in four hours and they’d hopefully have something for us to look at. But we’d already experienced how quickly prayers are answered in the Irish air, so we came back in two hours. The guy in the round wire-rimmed glasses popped a disk in their computer. Filling the air of the bustling little shop with our silent prayers, we fixed our gaze on the screen. And there they were! I could have sworn the strains of Handel’s first performance of The Messiah were still lingering in the air that day, for the “Hallelujah Chorus” erupted in my brain.
Thus ends The Story That Wasn’t.