Do you miss Ireland? Would you ever move back? “Come on, move on home!” is something Irish folk (my parents) ask me all the time.
My answer is always the same: Nah.
Except, there were three times I did wish I was back home.
Like that time I ran out of money.
Hadn’t been in LA long and didn’t realise that if you leave the house here you automatically spend money, no matter what.
Foot out the front door, $100 (it doubles if you go meet a girl).
The day in question I was out for a jog.
Ran past a sale at a fancy clothes shop on Sunset, hot girl outside asked me in, one thing led to another and before I knew it my shorts were off, someone handed me champagne and then I was walking home in a new pair of pink pants.
Popped into a shop by my house to get a pint of milk. Swipe my card, no-no, declined.
Ha ha, I said, laughing it off as a flood of fear rushed over me.
Knew I was bankrupt but tried to steady myself. Mistake, surely.
Check my online banking: Minus $15 in my account.
Minus? How do I have minus?
Oh yeah, because I also bought a lovely wool jacket in the sale.
That’ll be great for when I’m back in Ireland, I remember thinking.
Not so great in LA, where it’s too warm to wear jackets unless you’re a cold-blooded psycho.
So yeah, as I sat on the kerb in my pink pants holding my wool jacket I wanted to back in Ireland.
Not just because I was broke.
No, mostly so I could actually wear and show off my new clothes.
What’s the use of a new outfit if you can’t parade it around?
Second time was only a few weeks ago.
Strolling home one night I saw a disheveled homeless guy wrapped in seven dirty blankets bent over groaning at a bus stop.
Jesus, what’s wrong with him, sounds like he’s about to give birth.
Usually I power walk by, feeling guilty for not offering change because I no longer carry cash but this guy seems to be in real trouble. I’ll ask if he’s okay.
You’re too kind, my brain replied.
Thanks, I said.
While having this inner monologue I didn’t notice the homeless guy had pulled his pants down, still bent over as if touching his toes.
When I figured out what was going on it was too late.
I saw it ALL.
At that moment I wanted to be back in my bed in Cork, curled up under the blankets, hiding from the realities of this cruel world.
Only took me three weeks of intense therapy to get over it.
Until a week ago, when I woke up panting.
Am I hungover? On fire? Am I dead?
Fought my way through the hazy blanket of heat. AC is on, just not cold. 94°F in my apartment (35°C), usually at 72°F. Sweet Lord save me.
Maintenance guy arrives the next day. Can’t fix it. “I’ll be back next week,” he tells me.
That was Tuesday. I’m a weak man. If you ever need to break me just turn up the temperature by two degrees, I’ll reveal everything.
No point trying to get any work done. Some say coal mining is the toughest job out there but writing is like mental coalmining, you know? Imagine trying to do that in almost 100F.
By Wednesday I cut my hair. Heat, too much. Farewell, mullet.
Thursday, sending out booty calls to everyone I knew with AC. Replies: “Who’s this?” Friday, felt like my eyes were bleeding.
Saturday, couldn’t tell if I was crying or sweating.
Sunday, gave up. Spent the night on my balcony, delirious.
Monday, repair guy due to return. Plus, meant to rain. Saved!
Except he never showed up. And it did rain but it was still 92F, with added humidity. Horrendous. Done. Finished. Hope. Dreams. Gone. I’m going home. Ireland, forgive me!
On cue my brother texts me a photo of his new car. Very nice but the background threw me off. Grey skies. Wet ground. Foggy windows. Ehh, this is Irish weather I’m experiencing here today, just with the radiators turned on full blast.
Ireland off. LA on.
Booked myself into a hotel, ordered a pina colada, survived to live another day.
Although, now that I can think straight again, kind of gutted about my mullet. Dose.
n Mark Hayes is the author of three books including RanDumb, which was #1 on Amazon Humour.
He can be found on Twitter @trickaduu and on markhayes.tv.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved