Tuesday, June 3, 2008

St. Pat's

Leaving St. Patrick's Cathedral (where we learn, among other things, that Jonathan Swift was not just a legendary early writer who gave us "Gulliver's Travels," but a real man, the Dean of the the church, no less), I meet Geraldine.
Fiftyish, bouncy, informed, opinionated, a riot.
Geraldine has recently returned from Manhattan - actually her cousin's in Brooklyn. She is part of an architectural gang that strives to protect Dublin heritage. She is furious about the wholesale destruction of great swatches of the inner city. The Smithfield area, where I am living and which gives me the serious willies, is one her also unfavorite places.
As I leave her brief but delightful company, pressing on the Beatty Library, which holds great treasures of book publishing and major word religions, I am reminded that for days I have wondering about something.
Do people who live in great cities of history - Dublin, Rome, London, so many more around the world - do these people, dashing from pillar to post, do they think about some special responsibility they might have? Can they sense the energy that is held in the stones beneath and above them?
Probably most do not. Most of us are simply trying to eat or get laid. How noble of us.
Dublin is a dirty, messy city. There are garbage bins everywhere, every few feet it seems, and they have baby blue plastic bags in them. Nevertheless, the many drunks and countless boors simply chuck the wrappers and bags and bottles in the street hwere they stand, or teeter.
After only a few days, I had the most uncharitable thought. "No wonder Joyce left."

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