Tuesday, 18 October 2011


Twice a week vendors line up on the sidewalks of Dublin near my office, their tables stocked with anything from beef to makeup to laundry detergent. Every so often they call to passers-by, something like “Fresh bread for saaaaaaale” or “Everything is two euuuuuro,” using the same C-to-A-sharp singsong that Americans use to sing “Air baaaaall” at a basketball game, or that Nelson Munz uses to taunt “Ha-Ha” on The Simpsons.

I don’t see the Dublin vendors enough to know them, but the Farmers' Market near our home is very different. We go there every Saturday morning, and while we don't know everyone's names, we know their faces and they know ours. They know what kind of sausage The Girl likes for breakfast, they give us their spare meat trimmings, knowing we can make use of them, and occasionally they collude with me in creating a surprise for my wife.

Last Friday my wife and I saw the play Juno and the Paycock at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre the night before, and I described it to a vendor while buying sardines. The vendor, who I had seen regularly for years, turned out to be a theatre buff, and told me about the play's history, and how its then-controversial treatment of the Church and the IRA caused riots when it was released.

We pass and smile at the same people each day, only occasionally learning their private passions, or realising how much they can teach us.

1 comment:

Suzanne, Kiva Fellow, Graduate Student, and Mom said...

EVERYONE has a story my dear Brian. Remember the writer with the reallllly weird name that died in his 90's, spending his lifetime writing stories about ordinary people? The best people are the "ordinary" ones....