04 November 2007

Soap Opera Sunday: One Rainy Night in Galway

Previously, on Soap Opera Sunday
Part One: I'd just arrived in Galway, Ireland after 24 hours of travel and met a group of cute Irish boys in a pub.
Part Two: They take me on a whirlwind tour of all the hottest pubs in Galway, complete with a beer at every stop.
Part Three
: The lovely evening of wandering ends in steamy perfection, followed by an equally lovely morning of chivalry, and I still can't find that darn number...
Part Four

Having parted ways with my Irish charmer, I set about exploring the city in earnest, (it was hard to focus on the landscape with Liam around) and waiting for it to be late enough to call home without waking my mother and sending her into a panic. I was sure she would already be worried about me - surely my father's friend had called him as soon as she realized I had vanished shortly after arriving.

At last it was after seven am, my mother's time, so I bought an international calling card from a news shop and called home.

Imagine my surprise to discover that my mother knew less than I did about my disappearance.

"Dad hasn't called you?"

"No, he usually calls as soon as he's arrived, but I haven't heard from him yet."

"Weird." I told her some of what had happened, specifically the part about losing the phone number. I can't remember where I told her I'd spent the night, but I'm sure I didn't mention Liam.

I thought maybe my father had given her a list of telephone numbers, but she had only the number of the couple in Dublin with whom both my father and I would be staying in a couple of days. Which would do us no good at the moment, since he wasn't due to arrive there until following afternoon.

"Well, when you father calls, what should I tell him?"

"Just get the number from him and I'll call you back later today."

The plan seemed simple, he would call, like he always did, she would get the number of my would-be hostess, then I would call home, get the number, and sleep in the bed that had been waiting for me since the day before.

I spent the afternoon walking around the city, stopping to scribble furiously in my journal, or sit on a stone wall and watch the people moving up and down the streets, alone, or in brightly colored groups of twos and threes. Everyone seemed know everyone else, people smiled and greeted one another warmly. I felt welcome, as just one more visitor to this old city, a part of something bigger.

After finding some dinner, I called my mother again, but still there had been no word from my father.

"I'm starting to get a little worried," my mother admitted.

I brushed it off, and found a youth hostel to stay in that cost only seven pounds for the night. It was crowded and loud, full of students who were on their way somewhere.

The next day brought only further silence from my father, and since he usually can't be out of touch with any member of his immediate family for longer than six hours or so without a phone call, we were beginning to be concerned.

This time I took the number of the couple in Dublin. After busying myself with bookshops and people watching, I called the number shortly after my father's flight from London was due to arrive in Dublin.

"Nell?" The gentleman on the phone sounded elderly, but authoritative, "This is Ciaran's daughter?" he demanded.

"Yes," I said, "has my father arrived?"

daughter." Then returned his attention to me. "Where are you? Are you in He covered the mouthpiece and called to someone in the next room, "It's her, it's Ciaran'sGalway? Where've you been!"

"I'm- I'm here, Galway," I stammered, feeling suddenly like a reprimanded child.

"You must go down to the station at once, the police station, your father's just gone round to report you missing."


"The police station. He'll be arriving any minute."

The next few moments were a blur, but somehow I managed to get off the line and ask directions to the police station. It wasn't far from where I was, so I walked the few blocks feeling very nervous - what kind of trouble was I really in? I'd done everything I could, right? The gentleman on the telephone had unnerved me.

I walked into the station, not sure what I was looking for, whom I should speak to, but before I could figure it out, my father entered the lobby right behind me.

After embraces and indignant explanations, it all became clear. Of course he had known I was missing, he had in fact, been worried sick, but instead of calling his wife and enlisting her help from all the way across the Atlantic, he had decided not to call and tell her that he had lost her only daughter in a foreign land. No sense in her worrying needlessly from all the way across the Atlantic! So while I was calling several times a day, waiting for him to call, he had been intentionally not calling, the whole time.

Having reached the end of our two day comedy of errors, and explaining it all as best we could (well, except for the Liam part), the two of us finally set out for the south, and then the east, in what was an uneventful, but wonderful, remainder of our trip.

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Extra Bonus! My father reads my blog (hi Dad!) and has been dying to weigh in on my Irish adventure with his supposedly "true" account of what "really" happened. I made him wait until the end, so keep an eye out for his comment today, it'll be the one that nearly blinds you with sardonic wit!

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Soap Opera Sunday was created by Twas Brillig and Walking Kateastrophe.
Our host this week is Thalia's Child - click here to read other exciting soapy episodes in the lives of bloggers across the sphere!


Brillig said...

Aaaaaah! What a crazy mix-up! It's hilarious that he didn't dare call and let your mom know that he'd "lost" you. hahahaha. I love it. And I'll definitely check back for your dad's comment... :-D

soccer mom in denial said...

Your DAD is going to weigh in? Well now I've got to come back. What a terrific (and terrifying for him) story.

Secret Agent Mama said...

Is he going to do a guest blog? That would be the jammity-jam!! Did I just say "jammity-jam"?

Great story, Nell!!

Annika said...

This makes twice (that I know of) that your father was supposed to meet you somewhere and you were missing when he arrived. Has he lost you any other times I ought to know about?

Fourier Analyst said...

So is just now finding out about Liam? Or did you come clean before? Poor Dad, I know he must have been going through true parental hell!

Great SOS tale!

Thalia's Child said...

I'm gonna have to come back and hear your Dad's version!

I love your SOS posts. This whole series has left me smiling!

Jerseygirl89 said...

Great story. I can't wait to hear what your dad has to say about Liam and about not calling your mom!

Ciaran said...

Me sardonic, me mock my only little daughter, never. but, let's get the facts straight here about the Galway Debacle.

So, it's Friday, I finish a successful business trip to London and fly to Dublin to spend the night with old friends before heading for Galway, my darling daughter and a planned trip to the little town I grew up in.
On the ground and with my friends in Dublin, I call my oldest friend's sister in Galway, where I assume my aforementioned darling daughter has been sleeping since earlier in the week. No reply. No worries, it's Friday at 4.30 pm, people not home from work/play yet. I call again at 6.30. Oldest friend's sister is there. Yes, she had heard from Nell, but that was on Wednesday evening and she had hear nothing since. I waited for the joke to unfold and Nell to come on the phone. No Nell.

Don't panic, I'm sure everything is alright. No, I'm not sure. PANIC.

If I call home to New York, what do I answer to Catherine's question: "How's Nell doing?" - "Well, actually nobody's seen her since Wednesday."

My friends suggest the local police station. So off we trot. Very helpful, call the Galway police, relate the whole story. No Nell is not in a holding cell in Galway. Does that mean that the bad guys have her?

So back to my friends' house and discuss the situation further over a bottle of good claret. By now it's 9 o'clock and a 3 hour drive to Galway would have me arriving at midnight or later. I'll get up early and drive to Galway. Call Catherine, no, what could she do but worry from 3000 miles away.

I leave Dublin at 5 am in one of my friends' cars. I get to Galway about 8. if your math is good you'll have figured out that's 3 hours alone in the car to ponder Nell's fate. Now, I should tell you, I'm a mystery fan. So I scare the bejesus out of myself for the first two hours imagining what has happened to Nell. Remember, Dublin at this time is the heroin capitol of Europe. So I'm imagining Medellin cartels, dismembered bodies, white slave trade, and they were the mild scenarios. For the last hour into Galway it gets a little better as I ask myself "What would Dave Robicheaux do in this situation? Where's Clete Purcell when you need him?

Arriving in Galway I go straight to the police station. Nothing, no news, no we can't declare your daughter a missing person justy yet, it's too soon. Maybe she has been staying in a hostel. Galway's a big town for European students. So, I go to what I believe is every hostel in Galway. I listen to evry European language along the way, including Serbo-Croat which bears a slender likeness to Gaelic. No Nell. The policeman says that Nell can officially be designated a missing person at noon. I'm wondering again what bits of her we'll recover.

Noon, I head for the police station. I'm agreeing with the policeman behind the desk that it's time to officially designate Nell a missing person.
Just then I hear the door open behind me and a familiar voice say "Hi, Dad.'

After a long hug I decide it's time to call Catherine.

That's when MY troubles really started.

Heather, Queen of Shake-Shake said...

Nell! I want to get onto you too! Ack!

I don't know how your dad stood it. I lost Payton for about 8 minutes at a park one day and wanted to die.


Annika said...

Yes, what WOULD Dave Robicheaux do? Can you imagine? It would have been ugly, I'm just saying.

Lil' Miss Homemaker said...

Awesome ending, and I so enjoyed reading your father's reply to it! Your poor, poor Pop! He was looking out for your momma, but that must have been a heavy burden!

Cathy said...

OK, I love this both-sides-of-the-story approach...

Fantastic tale — both versions!

beta mom said...

The greatest stories come from times of crisis (or perceived crisis.) Always love reading you, Nell, and now love hearing from your dad. It's clear to see where you get your gift for narratives!

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

I love that your dad weighed in! Such a great story without any crazy dismembering endings!

Dedee said...

What a great ending and I'm so glad I got to read your dad's side of it.

Blue Momma said...

Great story. But if I was your Dad, after I had determined that you hadn't been dismembered? I'd have done it myself!!!

I get crazy when I lose Punkin in my own house.