As I write this post, it is the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day.
It is late in a cold, dreary, rainy afternoon - not unlike a typical late winter/early spring afternoon in Ireland itself.
I am at The Writers Room of Boston, housed on State Street, within shouting distance of any number of Irish pubs.
And I do mean shouting distance.
I have been here since one, and the streets are thronged with marauding bands of bar-hoppers, wearin' o the green, and getting pissed, as the Irish would say. Not satisfied to merely hear their bellowing through the streets, I just looked out to see the leader of one team waving a large Irish flag - in front of cars trying to make their way through the widening puddles on State Street.
Kiss Me, I'm Irish and all that, but Oy!
I don't expect everyone to celebrate The Day on their knees, praying to St. Patrick to drive the snakes out of their lives. Celebrate away, my friendeens! Have fun at MacFadden's, Kitty O'Shea's, The Black Rose, The Purple Shamrock, The Green Dragon, Mr. Dooley's, Jose McIntyre's (known colloquially as 'Spics and Micks' - ah, the wit...), Hennessey's, The Irish Times, Sherlock's, Coogan's Bluff, J.J. Foley's, The Littlest Bar, Ned Devine's, The Kinsale.... (Just how many cheesily-framed pictures of James Joyce and William Butler Yeats lie within?)
Here I'm going from memory to tick off the list of Irish bars within a couple of minutes walk of where I sit (Irish) stewing. I'm sure there are plenty more - more than you can shake a shillelagh at.
I look out yet again.
Now there's a young colleen in a truly hideous green dress that looks like an extra's costume from Finian's Rainbow doing a clumsy step dance in the middle of the street.
Ah, darlin', it's pourin' out and you'll be catchin' your death. (But probably not soon enough.)
Now the sodden - in more ways than one - young amadáns are chanting "USA! USA!" Followed by a girls-only chorus of the Dropkick Murphy's Shipping Up to Boston.
I want to throw open the windows and shout 'hold your whist, ye fecks.'
I am not an enemy of The Drink. Nor of having a good time. Nor of celebrating St. Patrick's Day.
But O'Jeez O'Louise.
All that commotion out in the street makes me want to swear off soda bread and start going by my middle name.
Nonetheless, Happy St. Patrick's Day.
Links to a couple of posts from Paddy's Days past: