Sunday 19 November 2017

Nightwatch: Getting results

Ailbhe Malone

I have been waiting at the bar for half an hour. And when I say 'at the bar', I don't mean to say that I have been moving steadily forward in a queue.

I mean that I have been standing next to, elbows firmly propped upon the bar in question, for 30 minutes. People to my left, and to my right, have been served before me. As the photo to your right may suggest, I am not a large person. That said, I am not minuscule either. At the very least, my face is visible above a counter-top. Why, then, am I being ignored? It's a busy pub, yes, but other people appear to be getting served. I begin to get cross. To explain what happens next, we need to take a time out.

Basically, when it comes to night-time problem solving, there are two options available. Each path is based on one of the two bastions of Irish femininity. Both are blonde. Both are telly stalwarts. Both are fond of frosted pink lipstick of an evening. Both are amazing, obviously. Put simply, do you choose Anne Doyle? Or do you choose Twink? Anne is icy cool, doesn't raise her voice, and exits the situation a lady. Twink kicks up a hell of a fuss, and enjoys it. Both women get shit done.

Time back in. What will I do? The music is very loud. The bar is very crowded.

Is being ladylike practical? Gran, if you're reading this, sorry, but it's not. I want a drink. I don't care how bolshy I have to be. I close my eyes, and summon my inner Twink. I reach across the counter and tap the barman on the shoulder.

"Excuse me!" He turns, and sneers. "What is it?"

"I've been waiting here for half an hour to be served. Serve me please," I answer, defiantly.

"We're short-staffed, and there are loads of people here. Wait your turn," he replies.

"I HAVE waited, mate," I shoot back, raising my voice. "I've been waiting HALF an HOUR. Lookit, just give me a glass of wine. Actually, give me two, so I don't need to wait for ANOTHER half an HOUR. There's a tenner. Keep the change." He hates me. I know he hates me. I don't care though. This feels great.

As I turn from the bar, and move to join my friends, I feel slightly remorseful. Did I need to be that forceful? Was I just rude, instead of practical? Lost in my thoughts, I bump into a fellow punter. She stops me, and says, "I saw you at the bar there, fair play. I would just have left it and then sat fuming at my table". I smile triumphantly, and walk towards my pals.

Flash forward to the end of the night. I'm in a taxi, headed home. We pass by Trinity College, my alma mater. My taxi driver points it out, and makes a disparaging remark. I'm not best pleased, and indicate that I studied there. Bad idea. "You went there?" says he. "You're not a real Dub then." I'm slightly alarmed. I don't have a chance to respond though, as The World's Most Belligerent Man has just -- and I can't believe this is actually happening -- asked me to name five Hunger Strikers to prove that I'm "a real Dub".

I'm gobsmacked. I'm trapped in a taxi with a lunatic who wants to question my nationality. And I'm paying him to do so. Then it clicks. I need someone. More importantly, I need to BE someone. I ask myself the important question -- What Would Anne Doyle Do?

Mentally, I place on a short, blonde wig. I practice reading the news in my head. Then, in my most reasonable tones, I speak calmly and quietly. "Excuse me, but you're bothering me. Could you please put the radio on, and stop talking. Thank you." He's not impressed. I don't care. I'm not paying 20 quid to be shouted at. Silence reigns in the cab, and I have a peaceful journey home, with Anne on one shoulder, Twink on the other, both of them raising the flag for no-nonsense women everywhere.

Irish Independent

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