I was nearly lynched in the local last week. And my crime? Complaining. And it’s not as if people don’t complain. They do. All the time. And it’s not as if I complain all the time. I don’t (though I do complain a bit at home or so the wife says though she tends to nag me about it but, hey, I’m not complaining)
Anyway, I was complaining, not about politicians, bankers, the state of the economy, or the state of the state, I was complaining about the GOOD weather. As if the weather minded. It didn’t. But my fellow drinkers minded. A lot. Did I not remember the amount of rain that fell earlier in the year? Did I not remember last ‘summer’? Did I not remember that we haven’t had a decent summer in donkeys’ years. And now we were all heating up under the collar over the heat.
“Make hay while the sun shines”, someone piped up. “Hay is for horses”, I replied without even thinking. “Well hold your horse there, Gerry, when was the last REAL summer we had?” “Haven’t a clue”, I confessed. “I was probably out of the country at the time – on my holliers”. That didn’t go down well. Smart-aleckism doesn’t go down well when serious issues are being discussed, dissected and debated. “Listen, enjoy the bit of sun while it lasts”, says my man and takes a satisfying swig from his chilled Carlsberg.
“BIT of sun! It’s like a bloody furnace out there”, I announce. “I don’t know whether to combust or melt. In fact I’m doing both – as soon as I’m about to combust, the sweat pours off me and quenches the imminent conflagration and then it starts all over again”. “Combust away”, says my man, “It’s better than being washed away in the rain”. “Rhinestone Cowboy”, I say. “What?” ”That line, it’s from the song Rhinestone Cowboy”. “No it’s not”. “It is”. “It isn’t”. “I know it is”. “I’m adamant it isn’t” and now we’re heating up again when he clears his throat and sings: “And nice guys get washed away like the snow and the rain” (And how was I to know he was a big Glen Campbell fan) “That’s the line you’re thinking of”, he says assuredly. “Sure it’s the same bloody line”. “It’s different, Gerry, it’s different”. And we were never going to sing from the same ‘hymn sheet’, thanks to the heat. Hell I couldn’t even sleep at night, tossing and turning in rivulets of sweat while every moth in the area flitted in through the open windows (i.e. air-conditioning). Who wants to be smathering on sunscreen every morning and stuffing our faces with ice-cream every afternoon?
Brown bogs, green grass, grey clouds, that’s our DNA, not searing blue skies and incessant sunshine which would rapidly turn our ‘Emerald Isle’ into 50 shades of brown. We’re Celts for Godsake not Bedouin. And if it rains this week, guess who’ll get the blame? Indeed if it rains I may be cast out into the wilderness (with the Bedouin) Worse still, I may be barred.
And then there was the intense, heart-stopping heat of Semple Stadium which left us drained, dehydrated and elated; the nuances of which I shall leave to the sporting cognoscenti of this newspaper. My own summation is simple: character, class, resilience and brilliance. Meanwhile, as the fellow said to me regarding Kilkenny: “It’s our best year of hurling even if we never win an All Ireland”. Touché.