Someone once told me that I embody Duality. At the time I had to ask what that meant. On Saturday, I rather proved it. I walked into the house the proud owner of French perfume and camping gear.
The Professor was in town to see me. He’s been leading students around on their summer study programs in France and Italy and need a break, so he came to hang out for a completely ordinary weekend in Dublin. He came bearing Swiss chocolate and French perfume. Why can’t all men do that? Why don’t all men know to do that? He’s very good at gifts, admittedly. About a million years ago he gave me my first pair of crystal wine glasses. He’d been antiquing with his sisters over Christmas and saw them, thinking they needed to go to a good home and the only one he knew who drank wine was me. And we weren’t speaking to one another. We had dated, we split, we weren’t speaking. He decided it was a good peace offering. So he called and presented me with antique crystal wine glasses and it worked; we were fast friends until he married and disappeared. Alright, it wasn’t that simple, but it’s ancient history.
He got back in touch with me, via the blog of all things, about a year ago. Someone told him about it and we started emailing one another. At Christmas, he picked me up from my sisters house and we drove back to Dallas together, catching up in the 5 hour drive. So when he said he was going to be on the trip, I had only one response: you gonna get to travel/where should I meet you? But instead, he met me in Dublin. It was exactly as he’d asked; an ordinary weekend. Except that I was buying camping gear for a music festival this weekend.
He arrived late on Friday, owing to the bomb scare in London, where he was visiting a friend. We had a drink together and agreed to meet the next morning to visit Glendalough. When I woke it was pouring down rain and I remembered it was the last chance for me to buy a tent and rain gear, so we scrapped it in favor of shopping. We met my friends for lunch to discuss the tent situation, we toodled around picking up the random stuff I’d need for my first foray into both the world of camping and music festivals. We went to dinner and then met Mark and Joe for a mini-pub crawl. They got on spectacularly and a lot of laughing was done. The next day we took the train all the way south to Greystones and walked on the beach and around the town. We came back in to Dublin and walked around Dublin. We walked all over Dublin, actually. And we talked. We spent the entire weekend talking, that sort of talking that only very close friends can do, where it never occurs to you censor anything or hold back. We cleared up the past, which was much murkier than I’d remembered, we discussed our presents, my professional worries, his professional worries, his impending return to single life, my ever present single life, our old professors, his new professors, my life here in Dublin. For a weekend of doing pretty much nothing, I was absolutely exhausted by the time Monday rolled around. But it was a great weekend. We caught up, he got a great feel for both Dublin and how I’m doing. I got a good idea of how he’s really doing and where he’s going in the next few years. It was the most satisfying visit I’ve ever had with a house guest. And I do confess, it was difficult to turn off Tour Guide Beth in favor of Normal Every Day Beth. He didn’t come to see the National Gallery and the new Docklands; he came to do exactly what we did: talk. It was a quiet little weekend but a great one.