My Day in Belfast

(My wife’s having a clinical rotation in the hospital in Belfast. She asks me to go because she knows she’ll be tired on the drive back. Also she’s never driven there…she’s ridden there, but not driven…and it would be nice to have me to verify the route the first time while she drives. So I plan to spend a whole day in a town I know nothing about while she works/schools. I think it could be fun. I’m bringing a book to read if I get bored and the laptop. Hopefully the library has wireless internet. I looked up the library on the internet and found the address. Not far from the hospital. Let’s see how the day went.)

6:50 Drop wife off at the hospital

7:00 Try to find someplace to use the bathroom. I went looking for a McDonalds so I could get a hash brown, too, but I found a Hannaford. Score.

I bought a blueberry muffin top. Just the top. Who knew? I wonder what they do with the bottoms. Do they pay an employee to eat them, because they make them early and I don’t have to be to my regular job until 8:30 daily…

Also bought a Mountain Dew from the machine. It’s not cold. The cashier said it was just restocked. I wonder if the stocker has ever heard of rotating stock. Put the older ones…which incidentally are the cold ones since they’ve been stocked for a day or two…in the front and the newer ones in the back. It’s actually a rather popular grocery theory, this rotating stock.

7:15 Left via the back entrance of the parking lot. Found a gas station, which was my next stop anyway. Paid 8 cents more per gallon than I would have at home.

7:30 Mr Paperback has a café. I wonder if it’s anything like Starbucks and Borders. I wonder what time it opens. Oh, look. It opens at 7:30. Let’s grab the laptop and head in! I buy a hot chocolate. It’s not very good. What it lacks in taste, it makes up for in size. Now I have a large hot chocolate to finish while sitting in this greenhouse. How soon can I be done what I want to do?

8:30 Left business. Getting too hot. It’s too bad, too, because Mr Paperback opens in half an hour…

8:45 Back at the parking lot at the hospital. Time to head to the park. Maybe I read for a bit and then take a nap. The library opens at 10. I want to go there to type up some stuff today, then read until they close at 2.

Hey look! The park is having a field day, literally. There’s a horseshoe tournament starting at 9! Better wrap up my journaling and see what that’s all about.

8:50 Followed the sounds of clanging metal. Found the horseshoe pits…and a beautiful view of the ocean.

Is this a geriatric competition only? Everyone else here is twice my age.

I found a place to sit on the hill, overlooking the pits and the ocean. It’s very conspicuous. I look at the pits, then I write in my notebook. I wonder if they are nervous yet. Maybe I should falsify a press badge.

I found the pool and the playground on the way down here, by the way. I’m not sure if I saw those last time I was here. If this doesn’t turn out to be all that’s promised, I’m heading to the swing set before the kids are done watching Saturday morning cartoons and come hog the playground.

Interesting conversation with a guy walking up to the bathroom:
Purple Horseshoer: Are you here for the tournament?
Me: Yes, sir. I’m just going to watch, though. (I roll up my sleep to display my forearm band.) Tendonitis. From the Common Ground Fair horseshoeing tournament. Things got pretty heated.
PH: Really? Huh. Well enjoy, so. (Walks off befuddled)

Continuing on…they have little metal pole-hooks to pick up the horseshoes from the sand. Now that’s a pro. I can’t tell if the guy without the hook is an amateur or if he goes without one because he’s the only on here young enough to still be able to bend over.

The old lady is pretty good. She’ll have lots of beaus at the horseshoe dance afterward.

That’s right, pal, stretch your hammies. Let’s pretend you’re about to do something strenuous. Why are they taking so long to start? It’s, like, quarter after. They’re not getting any younger! Oh, the time I will waste just to say I’ve been to a horseshoe tournament.

Had to move to the shade. I think I was starting to burn in the sun. The shade is cold. They should give health warnings to the spectators of such august events. Also, I think this rock is wet.

Moved back to the sun. Now my feet are we from tromping through the grass. Sigh.

Hey, there is a kid here! And he has a video camera. What the heck? Seriously?

They’re all very polite as they walk past me to use the bathroom up the hill. I feel like I’ve been accepted by the herd.

9:30 Another trip to the bathroom. This time, it’s the park restroom directly behind me. Stupid sleep deprivation. Now I probably have tetanus. The door lock was covered in rust.

They finally stopped fooling around and started the tournament. While I was in the toilet. How rude.

9:45 After the first antagonizing round, I just have to go. Horseshoe tourneys are just not my thing. I headed up toward the playground to see if I could take a nap in the tube. Some kids beat me there. The playground, not the tube. Maybe their TV is broken. Anyway, their mom would probably freak out of I just walked over to a spot in the equipment and curled up for a nap. I’ll keep walking the path around the park.

10:00 Every place is either wet or the ground is too cold. I’m heading back to the car. There I read just a couple pages and then try to take a nap. It’s more just relaxing than napping, as I don’t fall asleep.

10:45 OK. Time to grab the computer and head to the library. I’ll see if the hotdog stand at the park is open. I can’t lay here any longer because my belly is rumbling.

10:53 At the hot dog stand. Just asked if the food’s ready and the guy says yes. My wife calls. She wants to go to lunch with me as she has an hour off. I head right back to the car.

11:00 I pick up my wife and drive to the hotdog stand in the park. Why do I feel like a yo-yo all the sudden? I get a hamburger. It wasn’t ready. He had to cook it. He doesn’t do a good job, either. It’s still raw in the middle. The outside tastes OK, though…and we have fries.

11:35 We head back to the car. We don’t have too much to do for the next 25 minutes. I drop her off at the hospital again so she can freshen up before going back. She says she thinks she’ll only be there until about 1. That puts a cramp in my plans. It’s good for the students, though, so whatever. I drive to the library.

12:00 I’m in the library. I’m set up to start the typing I wanted to do today. She’s going to call me when it’s time to go. My cell phone is still on loud ring. I try to turn it down, and the noise echoes throughout the entire floor. I leave everything set up on the table and head outside to turn the phone to vibrate.

12:50 I really need to go to the bathroom. Again. I wonder if the directory on the first floor tells where the bathrooms are.

12:51 Nope. Back up to the computer. Maybe I can hold out for a while longer.

12:52 Nope. I walk to the other side of the floor. There’s the mens room…and it’s occupied. Oh, there’s the stairwell.

12:53 Second floor: Children’s floor. Let’s keep going up!
Third floor. Bathroom right off the stairs. Nice. I’m using the facilities. My pocket vibrates. I take the phone out. My wife is calling. Bad timing. I’m not one of those people who talk on the phone while using the facilities.

12:55 Washing my hands. The phone vibrates again, but it sends vibrations across the entire front of my pants. I need to find a way to keep that from happening again. I head down to the outdoor atrium to make the call. It’s time to go home. I pack up and head to the hospital. As a side note, it was nice to be able to leave the laptop and everything just sitting unattended while I ran outside earlier and then ran to the bathroom. I kind of like Belfast. In Bangor, there wouldn’t have been anything left at the table when I got back. I’m guessing…

1:00 I drive home while the wife sleeps in the passenger seat. She’ll probably tell me she didn’t really sleep, but I know that breathing. Good for her.

2:00 We’re home and it’s time for me to take a nap. Stick a fork in me, folks. I’m done.

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6 Responses to My Day in Belfast

  1. Wow… Tetanus from the door handle, and salmonella from the raw burger.

    Good thing your wife is a nurse (in training). I’d suggest triple morphine shots, followed by a stiff dose of castor oil.

  2. Roger says:

    That’s why you work on computers instead of people.

  3. Hey, you could do a double CPU replacement. That might help too.

  4. Or, for the stereotypical response… just update your anti-virus. 😛

  5. Scoob says:

    Horseshoes, more fun to play than watch. . .unless copious amounts of alcohol are consumed.

    As we all know Roger has a weak constitution, comes from being Respiratory Illness Boy (his superhero persona).

    I’ve never been a fan of Belfast, though I’ve only seen it’s seedier side.

  6. Roger says:

    I didn’t see a seedier side in my travels. Do you mean physically, or just the seedier people?

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