Letter #6 (or, A Eulogy of Ireland)

Caro Ale,

I apologise for my late reply, for my radio silence. As you brilliantly forecasted, I had no time to spare, thanks to the usual emigrant’s chores, and because of a very sudden hospital visit of my father – I spent the full Christmas day and night on a chair next to his bed, checking his health state every hour, while he was in a delirious state, and the nurses – apart from one – didn’t care. That’s what you get in public hospitals in the south of Italy. Now he’s better, but what a scare that was. And what a terrible way of spending time with your family.

I liked your tale about your perception of people when you came back. There is a polish photographer (I believe he was Polish; I might be wrong!) who said that traveling is not useful to see new places, but to better see old ones. But I might have created this quote by mixing more than just one; the result doesn’t change, it’s still very valid to me. When you see new things, you change; I believe you change so deeply, almost at a physical level. Without almost. Your neurons, used to follow the same patter every time, have to get used to the different things, to the new processes, so they create new ramifications; your biome changes, because new people enter into your life.

All of this changes the way you perceive things, especially when you come back. It’s biology, physics; a primordial exchange of informations.

So try not to be so harsh on your judgement, even though I agree with you completely. But try to show them that things can be different; and if they will still complain and do nothing, well, you cannot save those who don’t want to be saved.

And remember – and while I’m telling you, I’m telling myself really – that people live their lives in fear; we’re nothing but animals born on a rock flying into space, and each and every one of us deals with it its own way. To say it with a quote,

Be kind; you don’t know the battles the others are fighting.

Regarding the pleasures of the flesh, the fire in your loins, what can I add? They’re the best, even if they work a bit like junk food. The more you eat it, the more you want it, but you’ll always have this emptiness in your stomach.

That said, sometimes junk food is all you want.

Now, to Ireland! Dublin! It’s very funny to hear the opinion of a southern man; born in a land which is famous for its infrastructures, for its advanced technology state, and for its world-famous open minded attitude towards everything, religions included.

My opinion differs diametrically; and I don’t even live in Dublin, which is the capital, but in Cork, a big town – or small city – in the Southern part of the island. Still, I have a steady broadband, I can pay with my plastic card pretty much anywhere, I can rent a car by the hour with my smartphone, I can use bike-sharing points in different parts of the city – all of this shows that I do not possess a vehicle, by choice; public transportation works fairly well here, and I have access to this plethora of options. Plus, if I really have an itch for a far-away trip, I can rent a car for the weekend. The Highways, albeit scarce, connect the main parts of the country, and the smaller roads are in good enough condition to drive pretty much anywhere – if you get used to the very small lanes and the fact that locals here dare to speed especially in backroads.

Also, Irish people are among the best people I’ve ever met in my life. They’re kind, warm-hearted, welcoming, can be very open-minded but very traditional – in a good way. They feel to me as much more curious than the average, and very respectful of diversity.

Of course, truth is never absolute; facts can be. We might disagree, me and your friend, about the people – it really is a matter of who’re you’re hanging out with, how you hang out with them – but on the structures and infrastructures, those are plain facts. And Cork is much better served technologically speaking than Milan or Rome. That is a fact. All Irish cities are technologically superior to Italian ones, even if they’re smaller. The very much rural rest of the country doesn’t have the blessing of the same advancement, but whatever they have, it works as promised. Roads are clean and fairly decent, people watch out for each other, and the digital divide is being closed thanks to 3G and 4G connections for very small fees. I would honestly love to speak with your friend, just to make sure he was in the same country.

About Erika De Nardo; interesting profile really. In the book I’m currently writing – or should I say, that I just finished? I just finished the first draft! – one of the main characters is a sociopath with violent tendencies, but you don’t really expect it. So I’m drawn to those profiles, trying to understand their thought process.

I might actually read Picozzi. I was actually sad I didn’t have time to mindlessly wander in a library while I was in Italy. No Sclavi for me.

Time to close. Hugs – I’ll wait for your reply.





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