Riga Through A Hailstorm: On The Reporter’s Red-Eye Life

Thursday, 16 July

It’s the first time I’ve heard an entire airplane applaud a safe landing, and I’m sure I didn’t sleep through any turbulence. After an early flight out of Edinburgh and over five hours in London’s wifi-less Luton Airport, what I’m convinced is hell’s mop closet, I’m safely in Riga, Latvia, ready to cover the 9th Positivus music festival for The Skinny. There’s the kind of naïveté in it, the clapping, that makes my still hands look jaded – as if the miracle of flight really is a miracle to these nor’Eastern Europeans – and in fact it reminds me of naïveté‘s etymology, from the Latin nativus, “not artificial”: it’s honest applause. And what service employees deserve our thanks and amazement more? Quickly I’m ready to adopt the attitude, this way of being, that recognizes the incredible for what it is, everyday occurrence or no.

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Knocknarae, Or Thoughts on Time and the Irish Sisyphus (A Hitchhiker’s Guide)

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Knocknarae as seen from Sligo.

 

“UP THE MOUNTAIN ye were?” the woman said to me.  I tried to look at her from the passenger seat, though my glasses were bedazzled with raindrops.

“Picked a day for it, too,” I said, and she laughed, and clicked her tongue.  She was in her mid-seventies, wearing a corded cream wool sweater and speaking to me in that rough thicket of an Irish country accent that I encountered anytime I left the main towns and met a sexa- or septuagenarian.  “My name is Aidan Ryan, by the way,” I said – appropriate, it seemed, now that I’d been soaking her upholstery for a few minutes.  “Oh, not many Ryans here,” she said.  And that was all I got out of her.  I never learned my driver’s name.

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