In other news. Marshaling at a cycling race can be terrible.
These cyclists woosh past at hair-raising speeds. The roads were closed to traffic along the cycling course. You’d think pedestrians would, for the most part, see the barriers, the Gardai (police) and high-visibility-vest-clad marshals and realise maybe they should be careful crossing the street. And do it quickly.
You’d be wrong.
For the most part, people needing to cross the street were good about it, but there always has to be a few nuts in the fruitcake. I suspect I might be too anal about this, as I am in such awe of the racing cyclists. But even taking my overly developed respect for the race into account, there were a few complete idiots out there last night.
One guy seemed to have a few drinks in him already. He ignored my warning that there was a group of cyclists coming really fast. Instead of waiting just ten, twenty seconds for them to pass, he staggered across the street in a small gap between one clump of cyclists and another. From where I stood, it looked like a close thing.
Another who stands out in my memory was a woman in a dress that had aspired to be a shirt before it changed careers. Its cousin would be the skirt that applied for a job as a belt, but was considered a tad too wide. (I am trying to say the dress was very short.) She tottered across the street on heels that had been stilts in a previous life. I watched, heart in mouth, the whirr of approaching cyclists in my ears as they came down the alley before the S-bend where I stood. I know there was probably a bigger gap between her making it to the pavement and the next group of bikes zooming past than it seemed to me, but from my harassed point of view she only just made it.
Other things I did was to chat enthusiastically to a taxi driver, with a big disclaimer that my knowledge of this sport is woeful; give directions to several people; and help one pair to find the nearest hotel.
That felt good. I remembered a day long ago, when only a spit away from where I was last night someone asked me to direct them somewhere. I grinned and said: “I suppose I need only speak for you to understand why you’re asking the wrong person.” Hearing the accent, they laughed and moved on to find a local. I felt a bit odd, because I realised the guy probably thought I was a tourist like him. I almost ran after him to say I lived in Dundalk, it was just…
Now I’m a local, and it feels good to be part of this town as much as any foreigner can be so. Wel, I’m at least local enough to be able to tell people how to get to where they need to go in Dundalk.
Most of the time.