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Getting Lost

I got lost once when I was about twenty one.  Sounds silly, doesn't it?  Let me explain.

I was painfully shy as a teen, with low self confidence.  Most of my schoolfriends started socialising in their teens, going out to discos and going to watch live bands playing in pubs at the weekend.  By the time we'd finished school, most of us had the first drink and the first smoke well behind us.  Not me, though.  In fact, the night we finished our Leaving Certificates in 1981 and went out to a pub, Wynn's Hotel Bar (on Abbey Street) and the Tara Club Disco (near O'Connell Bridge), I was the one who provided the laughs by choking on my first cigarette and getting practically legless on a glass of shandy (lager and lemonade).  I was extremely innocent and the girls were very protective of me.  Bless them.

So there were all these painful social initiations to get through.  I joined a freight office, where there were a lot of shrewd and streetwise people.  Yes, they were nice.  Most of them.  Some of them teased me mercilessly.  I suppose they did me a favour, hardening me up for the knocks that were to come my way in life.  In those days, a lot of international acts were visiting Dublin for concerts.  I used to go to these concerts with my friends.  I saw Paul Young, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Howard Jones (who?), ZZ Top, Status Quo and many more.  I don't know how I found these concerts entertaining.  There was usually nowhere to sit.  We'd spend the day herded into a sports grounds (RDS grounds in Ballsbridge, usually).  We would arrive at around lunchtime, strain through the concert for a glimpse of the celebrity (my eyesight was extremely poor so unless I remembered to bring my glasses, it was just like listening to a record playing).  By the time the crowd had gathered and the warm up act had played and 'got the crowd going', the main act usually didn't come out until night had fallen. They would make this spectacular entrance, with lights and sound and the full works. That's mean, when the concert happens in the summer.  It gets dark so late.  When the Elton John concert had finished (that was the year he married his wife, he hadn't met his husband yet), the organisers' mistakes began to show and I was separated from my two friends in the crowd.

So there I was, twenty one going on sixteen, on the south side of the city and it was after midnight.  I was terrified.  The only thing was, there were hundreds of people walking on the streets, so they were safe enough.  I started walking towards the city centre, with the aim of getting a taxi to my home on the north side from there.  I met a few girls walking in the same direction as me.  They were from Finglas, also on the north side.  We chatted as we walked into the city centre and the time flew.  It was hard to believe it was so late in the night.  I'd never been in this situation before and I felt the adrenaline pulsing through my bloodstream.  There was no mobiles, so I'd no way of calling home to tell my mother what had happened.

At the city centre, I took leave of my new friends (never saw them again) and walked down towards the taxi rank in O'Connell Street where I|'d taken a taxi home with friends before.  To my surprise, I saw a lone, yet familiar figure waiting by the taxi rank. It was Janet, a girl I knew very well.  We were in the same circle of friends from the same area, although not close.  We hadn't gone to school together, so we didn't know each other well, although we had lots in common.  I always knew Janet as a very religious girl.  I was shocked to see she was dead drunk.  She seemed pleased to see me.

Janet had been going steady with Ronan, a boy who lived near me, since she was sixteen.  They'd recently called off their seven year relationship on the grounds that they'd been too young when they got together.  Janet, a fun loving girl, was now dating as many lads as she possibly could.  I wished I knew her secret.  She was plump, full of good humour and wore glasses.  She seemed to have no shortage of boys to go out with her.  I had never, ever, been out on a date.  Well maybe just once and it had been a total disaster.

She'd just been out for a drinking session with a fellow she'd met at the Tara Club.  She didn't feel like going home just yet.  Although it was late at night, well after midnight, the burger restaurants (Golden Arches type) were open and she asked me to come with her and have a burger.  She had no wish to go home in that state.  "I'll treat you," she said, in spite of my protests (I barely had the taxi fare home, actually).  I could see that she was getting upset, so I agreed to go with her. We got our burgers and chips and cokes and sat down in the restaurant and she got into deep conversation with a woman at the next table.  I watched her talking to the woman, laughing and joking and I felt sad.  Just a year ago, I had really envied her.  She'd seemed so secure in a nice, safe relationship with a nice, safe partner. I used to feel totally out in the cold when I used to see them together.  Now, she was out of that relationship and from what I could see, trying desperately to find another one, somewhere, anywhere.  I'd  thought I was lost, but it appeared to me that Janet was more lost than I was.  I sincerely hope I'm not coming across as smug and self-satisfied when I say this.

We finished up our midnight meal - I hadn't had any dinner and I'd been starving. I was really thankful to Janet for the meal. We got a taxi home together and split the fare.  Before the year was out, Janet had got hastily married and was a mother before too long.  Last I heard, she was separated. She was a nice girl. I hope she's happy now, wherever she is.  I lost touch with so many old friends and acquaintances.  It was I, not they, who got lost, going off halfway around the world to get married.  I've lost  touch with quite a few friends down the years and often miss them and wonder what they're doing.

This is the weekly post for my blogging group, the Loose Blogging Consortium.  We post weekly (usually simultaneously) on a given topic and visit each other to see the different takes we have on the same topic.  We are, in alphabetical order, DeliriousRummuser,  GrannymarMagpieMaria SFocdwriterPadmumPaul,Rohit , The Old Fossil and Will.  If you have time, please visit my friends too.  This topic 'Getting Lost' was suggested by Paul.  

I lost touch with many of my old friends


  1. Sorry, I got lost imagining ZZ Top playing in Ireland! LOL

  2. Just before you said you hoped you wouldn't come across as smug for thinking she was more lost - I was thinking exactly the same thing - about her.
    I remember Self Aid at the RDS - spellbinding Rory Gallagher, the rest of Thin Lizzy, Moving Hearts, Pogues, De Danaan I think... In Tua Nua... and many more. It was an odd weekend.

  3. I am afraid I was more like Janet than you at that age. Only I married the guy I had outgrown. For some of us when we are young and foolish, we believe we have to be part of a couple to be happy.

    I wonder where she is now. Loved reading your post.

  4. Loved reading your post. I wonder where Janet might be now? Maybe she got together with the guy she'd outgrown!

  5. @The Old Fossil - The ZZ Top concert was mind blowing now that I remember it...

    @Blackwatertown - I missed that concert. Unfortunately. I caught some of it on TV, though.

    @Maria SF - I love reading about your life, you are someone I would love to emulate.

    @RBH - Welcome back. I have tried to find her, but maybe it'll be easier to do so next time I'm home.

  6. Nice. Very nice, in fact. I have learnt some new things about you.

  7. It is amazing that you, Grannymar and Paul keep writing about incidents in your life that sound the same somewhat, familiar to a staid person like me and yet bring out a fascinating aspect to a topic! Must be that you guys are Irish!

  8. That's a very poignant post capturing the awkwardness of youth and those feelings of not fitting. Janet will probably find you on FB now you have thought about her. Fantastic to hear all those bands though.

  9. I was never into The Band or modern concert scene, it all went over my head. My socialising included my friends, and work colleagues and my brothers and their friends, so going out was never a problem. Everywhere I went I bumped into somebody I knew... it was a good job I was not into misbehaviour!

    Sorry for taking so long to comment, I have just returned from ten days in Dublin. It was fun.


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