Monday, June 18, 2007

Human quirks

It's amazing how anticipation and excitement affects us humans, how it causes a natural high that makes us act out of character sometimes.

On Saturday morning, someone whom I've seen at the gym for nearly two years but whom I've never spoken to approached as I was completing my first set of arm curls.

He's a man in his early sixties and is a friend of another guy who's Irish-American who once told me he's conservative and doesn't care for Hillary Clinton, couldn't imagine America being led by a woman. I'd imagine this chap feels the same way. We've passed each other on the way to the various pieces of equipment but never spoken or acknowledged one another. He's always come across as unfriendly, actually.

"You're Irish, aren't you?" he said, his smile as broad as Nellie's dresser. (an Irish saying.)
I had to clamp my mouth shut so as to stop my jaw from slamming into the floor. "Er...yes," I said after I finished the last rep of my set. "The genuine article." I tossed him a grin.
"My wife and I are going to Ireland."
"Really. That's very nice. When?"
" six." He smiled like a schoolboy who'd been praised for good marks.
"Out of Newark?" I said.
"Nah. Philly."
"Which part?"
"County Meath."
"I'm from the North. That's in the republic...but it's not far. Everything in Ireland isn't far from anywhere else."
He laughed. "Yeah, I'm Irish American and my relatives live in Meath."
"Well, have a good time."
"Thanks. Will do."
"Have a nice time."

I picked up the handles to start another set but stopped to watch the man walk away. He knew I was Irish yet we hadn't even traded names. This isn't the first time I've seen this sort of behavior. He was buzzing. I think the anticipation of something pleasurable makes normally reticent people drop their guard or shyness and approach others to share their news. It's almost a compulsion--a snap decision by the brain to act when an opportunity presents. In this case, the nexus was my Irishness and his trip to Ireland to see his relatives. Wonderful. It'll be most interesting to see if he speaks on his return.


Elise Gres said...

Just commented on your June 1st post. Love this too!

Damian McNicholl said...

Elise, thanks for dropping by.