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Entries in Hal (2)


Do You Have A Ticket?

It was about noon when I finally succumbed to the pesky daylight streaming into our room.  Amazed that on a Sunday morning I hadn't yet heard from my parents, I picked up the phone and dialed their room.  I woke them up.  No mass today, this would be a Godless heathen Sunday.

Our hotel was nice in many respects, but the rooms lacked proper ventilation.  As with many hotels in Europe--even in the warm countries--there was no air conditioning.  Normally I can live with that, but in this hotel the windows were latched and only opened about an inch.  With three drunkards sweating beer in the room, the air was stale and warm.  It was time to get up and find that guy driving the truck that spent the morning running over us, although, considering all the drinking we did, I didn't really feel hungover.  I was extremely dehydrated, but that was probably due as much to the air travel as the bar hopping.  I think Harry turned us on to the ultimate cure for jet lag: just keep drinking.
From the time I made that initial "good morning" phone call, it took us over three hours to get to a restaraunt for "breakfast".  This brings us to the number two source of friction on a Genovese Family Vacation (GFV).  Survey says: my brother.
Experience has taught me that the larger the object, the slower it responds to change.  My brother is a speed boat: he jets from point to point doing 360's in the water, accelerates from zero to sixty in about three seconds, brakes on a dime, and changes direction at will.  Our family--especially when travelling--is like a cruise ship: routes and destinations must be well planned, acceleration is sluggish, and changes in direction must be minor or else the ship will capsize.  
This drives my brother crazy.  Once he's ready to go, everyone else should be too, which prompts him to start with the nagging comments: "you guys take forever", "for God's sake let's just go", and my personal favorite, "are you fucking kidding me right now?".  
This in turn drives my mother crazy prompting her comments like "Patrick knock it off", "chill out already", and again I have a favorite, "Raymond, smack him!".
This in turn drives the rest of crazy.  So we drink.  Heavily.  And now you understand the GFV infinity circle.  Thank God for Harry.
Once fed and watered, Harry led us to the DART station to catch a train to Dun Laughaire.  By this time there were eight of us.  I mention that because we weren't all up to getting out of bed as early as noon and Josh did not accompany us to "breakfast".  At the DART station, we were faced with the daunting task of purchasing train tickets at the automated kiosk.  Normally that kind of thing is right up my alley, but there were a few...distractions.
Distraction #1
When Harry met us at the "Judge Roy Bean" pub, he brought us an Irish cell phone to use during our visit so we could keep in touch while travelling the countryside.  The gesture was a blessing and a curse. As soon as we shared the number with Uncle Father Seamus, who was in Lurgan finishing preparations for the funeral, he didn't stop calling to find out where we were, what we were doing, and offer us unsolicited advice on what we should see and do next.  All of this earned him the title of "Cruise Director".  
Distraction #2
You may remember when the girls came to visit me in England and I got chewed out by the man in the train office for using a ticket kiosk. Ever since that experience, I've been a little off my game when it comes to ticket kiosks.  I kept going through the process of selecting our destination, quantity of tickets, and type of trip, but then couldn't get the machine to take the money.  It turns out I wasn't pressing the right payment key.
Distraction #3
Even though there were eight in our party, we only needed seven tickets.  Remember when I told you Harry doesn't make arrests but he does use his badge?

Distraction #4
The worst copilot ever is also the worst mathematician ever.  Initially he forgot to count Josh since he wasn't at lunch with us.  Then he kept forgetting to count himself but he did count Harry, who kept saying "I don't need a ticket", which caused my dad to subtract one from the count (which was already wrong since it didn't include him).  At least he's consistent.
So what should have been a single transaction for seven tickets turned out to be three transactions consisting of:
  • A call for more coins to get the exact change
  • My dad asking everyone "do you have a ticket?"
  • The cruise director calling to find out what was going on
  • My dad saying "dammit" when, after the transaction, someone didn't have a ticket
  • My brother halfway up the stairs to the platform muttering "are you fucking kidding me right now? You guys take forever for God's sake let's just go" 
I think that's like a GFV infinity circle trifecta.