At the end of the taught year in my masters at Trinity, I moved to Stoneybatter after having lived in city centre. Of a Saturday, I loved to stroll down Manor Street, across a series of laneways and underpopulated byways, into the shopping district, always ending up at Easons bookshop.
One Saturday I was having my coffee before heading out, watching a bitta telly, and came upon one of Michael Palin’s travel programmes.
I got caught up in his journey to who knows where, couldn’t tell you for the life of me, because all I could think about was that he was my favourite Python and the wee crush I had on him, lo those many years ago.
He smiled in reaction to something someone said and he looked so handsome, all those crinkles around his eyes! And I said to myself, If I ever meet Michael Palin I am going to tell him he is a total ride.
(A ride is an attractive person.)(That is the sanitised translation.)
Off I strolled, thinking about whether I’d buy another throw pillow for my bedroom, or the latest instalment in the crime series I was devouring—or both. As it transpired, I didn’t like any of the pillows on offer and headed for Easons.
There was a queue out the side door, snaking down Middle Abbey Street; I passed alongside it to use the main entrance on O’Connell Street. There were burly security dudes lingering around the main aisle, and there was a table set up for an author to sign books, and there was an author at it.
It was Micheal Palin.
I stood, frozen, as he smiled, that same smile from the telly, at the person whose book he was signing—
—I remembered my recent vow—
—I legged it up the escalator, up to the second floor, and hid in the bathroom.
I know! I BLEW IT! But I COULDN’T. Even now, omg, even almost 20 years later, I can feel my heart going a mile a minute in my throat, and my skin is tingling with glee and mortification. I am also smiling at my computer screen like an eejit, and laughing.
Even though I blew it, I love this story unconditionally and will do so forever.
Sharing a page with the man himself goes some way to making up for failing to fulfil my vow.
Thanks, Hot Press Magazine, for making that happen.