Other people have a nationality. The Irish and the Jews have a psychosis.
– Brendan Behan
I’m troubled, I’m dissatisfied. I’m Irish!
– Marianne Moore
I thought it might be time to circle back to the next chapter in my Microsoft adventure.
We left off with my landing in the international translation group at Microsoft after a corporate reorganization. Now, keep in mind that I do not speak any other languages other than “Another drink, please” in almost every tongue on earth as if I were a native.
This linguistic talent does not qualify me to run a program for a major corporation that involves finding and managing local international vendors for culturally sensitive translation services. For a lot of smart people they sure do make some shitty decisions.
You see, before they made the ill-advised choice to give me this job, translators at Microsoft were living in Redmond, Washington but attempting to sound like they were a local sitting in a café in France.
Evidently, no one bought it so the non-English speaking world was turning against us and we were in fear for our very existences (that is just a slight exaggeration…even I can’t ignore that…).
All of this culminated in them packing me up, thrusting me on a plane and farming me out to Ireland to work with our office there to get this all straightened out.
Let me mention here that I am Irish. Half Irish to be accurate but my father refused to acknowledge the other 50% of my DNA as if it somehow insulted him and he wouldn’t speak to it anymore. His favorite saying was:
“Being Irish was like being a black lab, you could mix any other dog with it but at the end of the day, you still just had a black lab.”
So, until I blog about my Chilean side, I am, for this post, 100% pure, unpolluted black lab Irish.
Oh, and up to this point I had never been out of the country except for the wax museum in Victoria BC and throwing up on the sands of Mazatlan. Not exactly credentials to deal with culturally sensitive issues.
The second I set foot on Irish soil I was home. These are my people – sarcastic, annoyed and mostly drunk. It was like re-entering the womb.
I was swept up by my Irish brethren into the 5-hour work day and the 3:00 pub crawl. We’d share many hours over numerous Guinness.
And, the more Guinness I drank the prettier the designs looked on the foam head. These people are feckin’ artists!
And, the more pretty foam designs I drank, the harder I would try to do an Irish accent, which is melodic and lovely when an Irishman speaks. Coming out of my mouth, however, it sounds just like a drunk vampire.
They, on the other hand, thought everyone from the US sounded either like John F. Kennedy or J.R. Ewing.
Like most Europeans, they eat dinner at midnight. The first night I had dinner out with all my new, snarky Irish friends, we were finishing up our meal at about 1:30AM when everyone ordered coffee. Not any coffee, either, but Turkish coffee. This is the crude oil of coffee drinks. Not wanting to be left out of a great cultural experience, I also ordered Turkish coffee at 1:30AM. Why not?
I’ll tell you why not!! I ended up doing the following for the rest of the night in my hotel room:
- NOT SLEEPING
- Watched Irish news for hours on end – in Irish Gaelic
- Wrote postcards to everyone in my address book – including but not limited to my best friend from 6th grade and several ex-boyfriends.
My last night in my homeland, I was taken to the oldest pub in all of Ireland. I’d question the honesty of that statement if it weren’t for the fact that it was black as coal on the inside and the smell was a combination of what I can only guess is a thousand years of smoke, a hint of Viking sweat and some sort of animal urine.
I assumed I’d be on the dole once they figured out at corporate headquarters that I basically drank my way through our international crisis. So, it was with a splitting headache and a heavy heart that I boarded my flight the next day.
This black lab was sort of sad to go home.