Monday, February 27, 2012

My valentine surprised me with tickets to see none other than pop sensation John Oates (of Hall & Oates/moustache fame), who played this past Tuesday at Whelan's. I was pretty excited, though after looking up his more recent career, I realized that most of the night would probably not be devoted to Hall & Oates songs. Still, it promised to be good fun.

So I rushed from my class...which reminds me! I'm taking an evening class through the Dublin City Enterprise Board called "Start me up! Start your own business." It's uber exciting and one of several DCEB classes I've taken and will be taking. And that reminds me further - my business cards came in the mail the other day! I designed them myself, after much hemming and hawing. I love them so much I want to marry them. Here is one side, with my happy face (kinda disheveled after Pilates):

So I rushed from my class at the IFSC over to Whelan's, and I managed to arrive three songs into Oates' set. I missed Maneater, unfortunately. There were quite a few people there! And a big mix of age groups for sure. His style has evolved a lot over the past couple of decades (and I'm not talking about the fact that his signature moustache is long gone), but it's funny how everything he played seemed to have his stamp on it. You can hear how much influence he had over the songwriting in Hall and Oates from listening to his newer music. He told lots of stories and interacted with the crowd a fair amount. Possibly his #1 biggest fan was in attendance. The guy was drunk as hell, but boy oh boy was he ever excited. He kept responding to/talking over John Oates as if the two of them were the only ones in the room. After a while it was really entertaining, especially when every so often, something he said wouldn't make any sense. He was harmless, really, but a bit distracting! At one point he went back to the bar, came back to his seat, and yelled, "It's ok now, I've switched to water!!"
My only suggestion for Mr. Oates, if he ever happens to read this is regarding lyrics from a new song he played that was written with someone else (whose name escapes me) called "A Day in the Life of an American Man." He refers to his father and mother, and his sister and brother with descriptive words like "strong," "brave," "loving," and "kind" or words to that effect. I'd just ask him to consider less gender normative or constricting descriptors. It's expected and frankly boring. Women are strong; men are loving. What if he switched them around, or used more unique, quirky adjectives? I think the song would come more alive, personally. That's just my two cents. I know lyric writing isn't easy but you can think outside the expected, just a little bit.
He did sing some Hall & Oates hits, but completely re-worked them so some of them were almost unrecognizable. I don't blame him though -- I always thought that if I were a musician with hit songs, I wouldn't be able to stomach playing them over and over again for years and years. All in all, I think John Oates enjoyed his time in Dublin and I hope he comes back again soon. For those interested, here's another review of the show.

We had a very pleasant time, and headed home, but when we got to where we'd take a left onto the quays at the Dublin Civic Offices, I noticed three guys in track suits who were picking up Centra (convenience store chain) bags from the middle of the intersection, which was weird. Just as I was about to make my turn, I noticed that there was a cyclist on the ground in the middle of the street on the bridge in front of us. I didn't put it together at the time, but he'd just had the crap beaten out of him by those three guys, who were laughing and strolling away. He was on his knees, face down on the road. So instead of taking our left, we went straight to help the cyclist. At first (I guess I'm slow/naive), I thought maybe he'd been hit by a car. He was bleeding from his eye, and I mean his EYE. Already the area around the eye was extremely swollen, and it had only been a minute or two. A woman in a car pulled over to help, and a pedestrian also stopped. They attended to the cyclist while I called 999 (emergency services).

It was a really aggravating conversation. The operator answered, and as soon as they did I said that a man had been assaulted and was bleeding on Wood Quay on the bridge between the Four Courts and the Civic Offices. Now, anyone who's lived in Dublin five minutes will know where that is. There was a pause and the person said, "So do you need Ambulance, Fire Brigade, or Gardai?" Since the cyclist was badly injured, I said, "Ambulance!" and was transferred. I explained to the next person what had happened. The guy asked for my location, which I repeated. He then asked, "So, Dublin 7?" Anyone who's lived in Dublin for five minutes would know exactly where we were standing. We were on a bridge over the river. On one side of the river is Dublin 8, and on the other is Dublin 7. Debating the post code infuriated me. Were they going to send the ambulance in the post? I reiterated exactly where we were. It took AGES for the ambulance to come, and when we did spot it coming from the west, it was as if it were purposely trying to dive as slowly as possible. Then it passed right by us. By then the cyclist had insisted he didn't want to wait for an ambulance, and started walking his bicycle home. However he was practically blind, and was having a hard time of it.

I waited for the ambulance to go down to the next bridge and make its way back to us while Mark went after the cyclist, who was in deep denial as to the condition of his face. Mark found him up the street crying because he'd accidentally walked into a pole. I told the EMTs where they were (in front of the Bridewell by then), and then followed the whole lot on my bike. Me and the other two good samaritans were completely blown away that no police had been sent. Thinking back, I hadn't asked for the Gardai. However if they just had synthesized the information, they'd have sent someone. When I complained to a friend about this she said that you actually have to hang up with 999 and CALL BACK AGAIN if you want more than one service. So when you're assaulted in Dublin, you (or someone else) has to dial 999, ask for an ambulance, explain the location, etc, and then hang up, re-dial, ask for the police, and do it all over again. So if someone breaks into your house, beats you up, and sets your house on fire, you'll have to make three phone calls I guess!

Adding to the craziness, Mark went to school with one of the ambulance drivers, and they hadn't seen each other in probably 20 years. They chatted while me and the other EMT driver tried to get the dude to go to the hospital. No dice. He said his girlfriend was waiting for him in front of his house and he had to get home. He was also worried about what to do with his bike. I told him he was literally going to go blind in that eye if it wasn't seen to immediately, but I don't think he believed me. Not only that, his nose looked broken. The EMTs couldn't force him into the ambulance, so we all had to let him go. But he could barely see, so I followed him. I took his bike and wheeled it for him while he held onto my shoulder as I guided him. We managed to get his girlfriend on the phone and convince her to meet us (it was no small feat; she was convinced he was blowing her off and hadn't been assaulted that badly). When she saw the state of him I think she felt some remorse. In the half hour or so that we walked with him, I think we managed to convince him to call an ambulance as soon as he got home. At least I hope that's what happened. We left them to make their own way home, feeling that there was nothing else we could do.

He seemed like a nice guy -- in drug recovery and drug-free for three years. He is living in a halfway house but is moving out into a regular home in only three months time. While waiting at the traffic light where we found him, his assailants walked by, apparently debating whether they should steal his bike. Half recognizing one of the guys from a rehab facility, he said "How ya" or some kind of greeting, thinking that if the guy recognized him, they'd leave him alone. But the other two guys were like, "What'd you say??" thinking who knows what, and basically just decided to kick the crap out of him for fun, dropping their groceries in the street in the process. The cyclist was on his way home to meet his girlfriend to eat some pizza and watch a movie. The saddest part was hearing him lament the fact that he couldn't just go home, relax, and have a nice quiet night in. He was now looking at a long wait in a hospital A&E. But funnily enough, he didn't seem to bear his attackers any ill will. He kept saying, "I'm going to pray for those guys," which touched me completely. My mind tends to veer towards revenge in such situations, so I was inspired by the sentiment. I wish I could describe him better but Mark and I both wished we could have done more for him.

Strangely, we didn't get the guy's name, although I did give him my phone number in case he needed a witness. He lives rather close to us, though I don't know exactly where, but I hope one of us runs into him on the street sometime, and that he's ok, recovering, and still managing to keep his life on track despite this staggering setback.

When we got home, I thought I could really use a beer. But since I'm on a really restrictive diet, that wasn't on the cards. All in all it was a pretty strange night!


  1. Holy crap, that story of the cyclist was crazy! I read it out to my husband and we both got a kick out of you wondering if they were going to send an ambulance in the post! Glad you guys were there to help him out. When you said he lives in a halfway house, my guess is he lives in that men's shelter that sits right on the LUAS line, next to the National Museum.

  2. "were they going to send an ambulance in the post?" funny comment...sorry about the awful situation, though.