Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Kissing Charles Aznavour

The woman is kissing Charles Aznavour on the wrong street in Dublin. She is much younger than he and he seems to be accepting her admiration with benign patience.

It is early morning and I wait politely for her to conclude.

She has asked me for directions to a conference venue.

She and a male companion, not Chuck the singer, are on a street parallel to where they should be and have declared themselves to be lost, to me.

I know where they should be and begin to say so when passion overtakes the woman who takes leave of Monsieur Aznavour now that I have become her guide.

The third person in the relationship tells me they are enroute to a very important conference where a great many important people will gather to hear more important people speak to them about a matter of great importance.

I lose interest when he tells me his own area of interest is in the nuclear field. He waits for a suitably admiring reaction from me; but I am heading home from a session with a physiotherapist for a damaged small finger on my left hand.

My finger hurts from a leap from a high wall and the consequent treatment and I could care less about nuclear.

To no response, I tell him the 18th century building we are standing beside was once a city hospital. I tell him where he is going, The Royal Hospital at Kilmainham, is modelled after 
Les Invalides in Paris, to no response.

By now, Charles is peeling the woman away from his presence.

She smiles shyly at me as if I am party to a great secret; but I now see it is not Charles Aznavour at all, but someone else.

I don't know who he is and wonder if he is French at all, or, just someone she mistook for another.

 I wonder who she thinks I am, as I take leave of them to catch my bus home. 


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Saturday, March 9, 2013

One coin is like another

I watch the cashier and calculate my change so I can casually check it while lifting my purchase with my other hand.I tire of being shortchanged by underpaid till jockeys supplementing their rent by imposing a thief's levy on unsuspecting shoppers.

Before me, an older woman waits after the till is closed. She has a few pastries in a bag.

"Was there anything else, Madame," asks the suddenly wary sales assistant.

She says she handed over three two-euro coins totalling six euro; but received change from a fiver.

The man opens the till and stares at the tumbled coins and notes of many transaction. He says yes you are right, I have your other euro here in my hand for you. Did you want anything else?

She shakes her sorrowful head and walks to a table to clutch her paper bag and await the arrival of someone else, who seems in no hurry to appear.

The same thing has happened to me, thrice, in different places in the past few weeks. All challenged by me, all apologised for as a mistake.

If it was a mistake, why did they not mistakenly give me too much change?

On my way out, I think to bond with the pastry buyer; but she flicks her wrist and produces a two-euro coin secreted by her in her coat. She had handed over not three coins, but two, to a value of four euro and received change of five.

She is in short, a thief, and the till jockey is not only an honest human but is now short of his employers' takings.

Do the police know who she is, or should I lock her in and ring them, I wonder?

I do neither; but watch out for pickpocketing grannies on my way home.

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