I was just heading down the stairs when I saw on my right hand side those eating-standing-up tables and a girl giving out something. “Must be the wine and cheese-party”, I said to myself. The one where they try to get you (well actually it’s extremely voluntary) to buy an MIT ring, known as the Grad Rat. Retailing at prices between $150 and $1150, depending whether you want it in gold, silver or iron and depending on the size of the ring. (http://web.mit.edu/gsc/www/programs/ring/design.shtml) It’d be pretty funny to propose to someone with it, but if it’s only for that reason, it’s not worth me buying it. I’m not a fan of rings anyway, I can hardly keep a watch on me. By the way, there’s no rat on it. There’s a pretty deep-meaning drawing including a beaver as the main design and then they also engrave your name on the inside along with your graduation year. Free updates of your personal details are included in the price.
In any case, that girl I thought was giving out wine or cheese was actually giving out black stress balls. So I took one and went over to where the cheese was. There wasn’t much of the cheese left. Lots of wine, but I wasn’t in the mood for wine, namely, there wasn’t a full dinner to eat with the wine and if I took the wine it’d be harder to eat the cheese. Right, to cut a long story short; Food was eaten.
I was just heading off from this Grad Rat reception when I got chatting to a lad I know and a girl who I didn’t know. She said thanks for coming and asked me if I had gotten a stress ball. I said that I had. “Well take as many as you like.” she said. “What about if I take a load and resell them to the juggling club?” “That’s ok, we don’t mind.” So on leaving I put three in my bag. Three, because I can juggle three and with the one in my pocket I could now practice with four.
I’m heading up Massachusetts Avenue behind a tall tanned guy with two squash racquets in his bag, bouncing my black stress ball. I’m just about to overtake him when he turns around, as though he’s heard a shot gun and has reflexes quick enough to duck the bullet(s).
What kind of a ball is that you’re bouncin’?
R: Huh? A stress ball, stress ball, I’m just destressin’ a bit.
Where you from?
No, where in Ireland?
R: Oh, the county just south of Dublin.
Dublin, my favourite band’s from there!
R: It’s not, eh, the Dubliners? Or U2?
Yeah, U2, they’re incredible. You know Larry Mullin, that guy’s amazing. I mean those kids are incredible.
R: Ah yeah, good band alright.
Yeah, Larry Mullin, just sittin’ a’ home playin’ moo-sic. His father tell’s him to get out and stop playin’ that trash and then they form U2!
R: Ah yeah, sure you kn…
And that guy P. Guinness, he’s the guy who got the….. he knew what to do.
R: Yeah Paul McGuinness, good manager alright.
He took a rock and turned it into a diamond.
R: He did yeah. Actually, there this year there was a concert in Ireland in Croke Park, capacity of 86,000. Everyone was saying before the concert that there were too many people for it to be good and then when it happened everyone said it was epic.
Yeah, U2 are great in the studio, and they’re better live. In the studio they’ve got restrictions but live they’ve no restrictions, they’re great… So the economy in Ireland is bad at the moment?!?
R: Yeah, ‘t isn’t the greatest.
D’you ring home much?
R: Ah yeah, I’d ring home at least once a week. Usually more than that though, my Ma likes when I ring home. I’m the oldest in the family so I try to ring home.
What you doin’ here?
R: Eventually I’ll be doing a PhD.
And what you doin’?
R: Ah, mechanical engineerin’
So who’s your favourite band?
R: My favourite band…? Jaynee, I never thought of it like that before, sounds kind of restrictive just having a favourite band. I like a lot of music, but there’s this guy, well, he’s not a band, but he plays with another guy. Christy Moore he’s called. He plays kind of traditional folk kind of stuff. Christy Moore, yeah, you should look him up on YouTube.
Is that where you get all of your music from?
R: From YouTube? No, but it’s a good place to look if you want a bit of Christy Moore.
Where d’you get your music from so?
R: Well to be honest I don’t spend enough time listening to music. If I can, I try to get CDs off friends or that kind of thing. I wouldn’t tend to download stuff.
At this point we get to Sidney Street, where I have to turn left.
Nice to meet you, what’s your name? – shakes hands with me
R: I’m Ronan
I’m Nicholas, I’m Greek.
R: G’man Nicholas, take it easy.
And he turns around and goes back in the direction we came from.