03 February 2011

That's how the light gets in

This morning was supposed to be an opportunity to share some initial thoughts on the election campaign thus far, the highs, the lows, the laughs, the tears, but alas life, being such a fickle anthropomorphism, had other ideas. This morning, you see, I have mostly been talking with the Gardai.

At about 2:30 this morning I was woken up be a commotion in the laneway outside our building. This often happens for our road serves as both outdoor bar and al fresco latrine for a wide selection of the city's most colourful denizens, performing the role of both mountains and the sea in the alcoholic version of the water cycle. Despite the frequency of such impromptu celebrations I have not grown accustomed to their noise, and thus the slightest cough, hiccup or technicolour yawn is enough to rouse me from my slumber.

At first I thought someone was trying to break into the building, but then as my ears tuned into the conversation I realised it was a group of young lads, quite drunk, waiting for their mate and getting a bit board. I stuck my head out of the window in my best grumpy and/or nosey neighbour manner to see what was going on, just to catch them engaged in that timeless game of racing each other up and down the street in a shopping trolley. Ah, the larks of youth! Eventually their mate arrived and joined them on the street, and off they went in search of a kebab.

This morning as I left the building I was struck by the rather large hole that had materialised in the external wall, a perfectly cylindrical hole. As I tried to imagine what sort of object could have made such a perfect hole (lampost, traffic cone, carbon-fibre Pringles tube?) it occurred to me that it was not so much that something had been violently added to the wall, more that something had been violently removed.

In the wall had been set a cylindrical metal box. The door of the box was flush with the wall and had a small lock on it. The purpose of this box has not been ascertained but it was a) self-contained and b) had something to do with the Fire Brigade. It was also empty.

Serving no purpose and containing nothing at all, it was still enough of a shiny trinket that these lads decided, at 2:30am this morning while waiting for their mate, to chisel the box out of the wall using a screwdriver. This was the noise that awoke me.

I met the building manager this morning on the street as I stared at the hole. "Its gone", he said. "It is" I replied. "What was it?" I asked. "I've no idea", he replied. "Should we call the Guards?" I asked. "Already have" he said. This was before my morning caffeinated beverage you see, in fact, it was on my way to the caffeinery that I discovered the hole. Language, like the engine of a car, needs to warm up and run for a while on cold days before you set off.

I wasn't present for the call, but I like to imagine it went something like this:

"Hello, is that the Gardai? I'd like to report a missing box"
"Certainly sir, and what was in this box?"
"Um, nothing"
"I see, sir. And was this box of value itself, made of fine metals or lacquered wood, perhaps from the Shang or Zhou dynasties in Jiangsu province?"
"Um, no"
"A keep-sake perhaps, a childhood toy that is all that remains of the only time when you were truly happy?"
"Um, no. Its just a box"
"I see sir, we'll be right over"

In any event and to their credit the Gardai did arrive some time later, and were very pleasant indeed. They had to be called as part of the insurance process, and the building manager asked that I gave them a statement, and so I did. Not a very exciting statement mind you, but a statement nonetheless. I have already begun to print up a few "Missing Box" flyers to be affixed on lamposts around the vicinity, and I will be tuning in expectantly to 'CrimeCall' this week to follow developments, only slightly disappointed by the fact that its no longer called 'Garda Patrol'. I might even call Joe Duffy.

I will keep you all updated in the coming days on the progression of this most alarming of breakdowns in the fabric of society, but in the meantime if you are wondering how our nation came to fall into such a terrible state of lawlessness I can do no better than offer you this report from The Savage Eye.

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