That other time I went to the States…


written by John on November 11, 2011

I ain’t no high flyer. On exiting San Francisco Airport – the first thing I found myself doing was driving on the wrong side of the road with a huge motherfucking SUV coming straight at me. Now I KNEW I was supposed to drive on the other side of the road – but the other side of which fucking road? There were about 12! And I picked the wrong one.

Minutes later – I was in the appropriate lane, a bit flustered, having JUST learned to drive and, you know, having JUST narrowly escaped death. But I somehow made it to California in one piece and collapsed onto a hotel bed. It all seemed a grand adventure. Not sure why anyone trusted me to make such a voyage on my own! I sure didn’t. I’d just got my driving license but not sure I should have been awarded a Fully Functioning Mature Adult License just yet. Somehow there’s no test for that.

The next morning, a completely overdressed weirdo from Dublin arrived at the Palm head office in Sunnyvale. I somehow got it into my head that my never-worn weddings/funerals/interviews suit was the way to go.  First guy I met was a cool looking dude in ripped jeans, a punk t-shirt, and some nice tats.

First impressions last. And here was me, looking like a straight-laced office monkey. Self-concious levels multiplied threefold by jetlag and not entirely sure what I was doing here. Or if I was cut out for this new job. Flying Fish out of water! Would you have offered to bring this weirdo out on the town? Me neither – so I ended up on my own every night in a hotel in the middle of nowhere, thinking I would adore the peace and quiet of childless evenings – but just feeling lost and lonely.

Sunnyvale is pretty dead. The local hokey bar across from the hotel was amusing for one night only. There was nothing around for miles. I was going stir crazy by the end of the week,  I made it my mission to do something I would  NEVER usually do – but suddenly seemed like the best idea ever. I was going to find an Irish bar.

Have I ever mentioned I’ve a sense of direction like a tiger has a sense of humour? Three hours after I left the hotel I was wandering around Sunnyvale with a map, grumbling to myself about the whole place, and then I  eventually found this strip of bars and my final destination, Fibbar Magees!

Unfortunately it wasn’t rammed with other out of town Irish lost boys looking to have a bit of banter. It was full of big-jawed american jocks, and one of which was loudly slagging off the Irish as drunks. In a fucking Irish pub! I bit my lip and went to the bar, and with seemingly the only Irish accent in the place, ordered a pint. And the bar girl goes. “Jayziz where’d the fuck have you come from?” – “Phibsborough!”. “Ha deadly, me too!” she goes. “Jimmy, Lorraine, come over here and meet Phibsborough”. At last!

And indeed, one by one, some other lost soldiers sheepishly sauntered in, swung there heads towards the banter and joined the other Aliens on this remote planet.

The next morning I woke to discover someone had written a drunken blog post and then got sick on my laptop, so I removed both, checked out and drove up to San Francisco a day early where there was plenty to eat, drink, and see  before heading back home the next day.

And for some reason, four years later, I decide to replace that drunken blog post with this sober one.


Leave a comment

  • Rosie

    you should have left the old post up too, flesh on the bones of the story!

  • John

    Ha I found it in my drafts notable titled “Rrandomness”

    “So I probably shouldn’t be blogging *THIS* pissed (but if you can type *THIS* than you’re probably not that bad) so I’m in a town in the states on my own all week and altough the tendency is that irish bars are really shit, when you’re in a strange town on your own, far away from home, Irish bars are the best thing ever, specially when you get to talking to the girl from chasing Amy and really have the craic. It can be a great thing this alienation. You get drawn to people, and people get drawn to you. An d you have a b etter craic the you could possibl have planned.”

    (Apparently the bar girl was very like Joey Lauren Adams)

  • Justin

    This story sounds familiar John :)

    • John

      Yeah – thought if it’s worth telling in the pub, it’s worth writing down!