The sun was shining today in the metropolis of Belfast as I made my way into the park at the front of the City Hall. The town is still awash with pink as the buzz that surrounded the Giro d’Italia settles down to make room for the North West 200 bike races this weekend. Men in leathers might just pip men in lycra to the post in the hot two wheeled riders category, well for me anyway.
The atmosphere in the park was quite jovial, the sunshine seeming to blow away the cobwebs and revitalise everyone. Clearly I was not the only person to think that an open air picnic lunch was a good idea as the park was packed. Even the birds seemed to be having fun as they cheeped and chirped from branch to branch. Unfortunately for those who had opted for some shade below the trees it seems the birds were so happy they were dishing out good luck by leaving little presents, if the shouts of ‘oh you dirty buggers’ were anything to go by.
I had just made myself comfortable and was starting to get intimately acquainted with my salad when a man who had obviously spent the whole morning getting acquainted with a bottle of Buckfast sauntered up and plonked himself beside me. Every time I tried to inch away from him, he inched along right after me the smell of alcohol so overpowering that I was getting a little worried if the police came along I would be arrested for drunk in charge of a salad.
In those kind of situations I always try to avoid eye contact, which means I will hopefully also be able to avoid having to talk. I am not so well versed in drunk speak. Mr Drunk however had other ideas and was going to engage me in conversation whether I liked it or not.
Mr Drunk: It’s a nice day isn’t it?
Me: It is, it’s nice to see the sun shining.
Mr Drunk: That’s a right looking salad you have there.
Me: Thanks. I made it myself.
Mr Drunk: You going to eat it all?
Me: Well that was my intention.
Mr Drunk: That’s a mighty big bowl for a wee girl.
Me: Well it’s a long time till dinner.
Mr Drunk: But still……
Me: Ah ffs, do you want some salad?
Mr Drunk: Well only if you’re sure you have enough in that big bowl that is definitely too much for one person!
I handed over the bowl, very reluctantly I might add, wishing that I had not skipped breakfast that morning, while at the same time sizing up the karma value of handing over my lunch to a complete stranger.
Mr Drunk: Now this is a turn out for the books, I just knew I was going to have good luck today.
Me: Why’s that?
Mr Drunk: Cos I was sitting under those trees over there about 15 minutes ago and a bird shit on my head, sure that’s meant to be good luck.
No, that’s karma was what I was thinking, as I walked back to work, mourning the loss of my lunchbox!