(An explanation in brief)
When: Monday, 19:00
You: built, dark ginger, little gap in your teeth, young and disarming with an ear-pleasing brogue, staffing the, “All Other Passports,” line at Dublin Airport passport control
Me: small, mortified American with big glasses and big hair, trying not to lose it (I also have a really cute butt that you couldn’t see from your cubicle, but trust me, my ass could start wars or bring about world peace, whichever metaphor seems more powerful to you)
I walked into your lane and cheerfully handed over my passport, relieved that I was finally in Ireland after two long days and on my way to months of adventure. Or so I thought.
You were polite, gentle, and understanding, but also firm and direct in telling me that my arrangements for my stay were illegal and that my host probably knew that and sort of fucked me. You then told me I would be given thirty days in the country, rather than the maximum allowable ninety that I had planned for, and asked me to email you proof of my departure within two weeks or I’d be at risk of arrest, deportation, and future restrictions on travel. You were so disarming and kind that I did not start crying about my massive fuck up for at least two or three hours!
Civil, direct, and diplomatic is a hard combination to nail. Are you in school to be a therapist? Maybe you should be. I feel like I’d trust you to parse my personal problems. Being a border agent probably pays better and I don’t know your life, whatever, but you have my vote of confidence to enter the mental health field.
I’m staying a week and getting out of here, lesson learned, and I’ll email you my flight info, as requested, this evening. I realize, in retrospect, that you could have turned me away (or worse) on the spot and that you made a sincere effort to read what sort of person I am and give me some kind of break commensurate with my decency. Thanks, dude! I assure you I am merely an ignorant American and not an asshole or a malicious person. I even paid taxes on all the freelance income that my clients and employers refused to document! It was a lot of money and I probably never would have gotten caught if I had taken it and run! You correctly judged that I was not out to do anything illegal and am an otherwise responsible, self-sufficient person.
I’ll be in Galway for my time here and I’m heading back to Dublin (and New York, on a flight with a much needed open bar) on the 5th. You also know, because I told you when you asked, that I don’t know anyone in Ireland, so like, wanna go hiking or something? Wicklow Mountains National Park seems dope. I’m not trying to shag you in exchange for further lenience, just trying to enjoy the time you mercifully granted me in this country. Well, you have my email address and an open file of all my personal information, so cheers, cool border agent!
(If you know me in real life, for the love of Krampus, please don’t ask me about this until I’ve gotten back to Rochester, spent two days in the woods, cleansed myself with fire, etc. and gotten over my massive humiliation. Please also provide me with beer. And don’t sign up for Workaway overseas. )