When asked, I say I’m Venezuelan, but my pale skin & freckles, my blue eyes, and my temper tell a different story. I’m a stumbler, not a dancer. My rages are more singsong than operatic, my cruelty more snub-nosed & self-hating than the .50 caliber pee wee macho of a Hugo Chavez or a Tony Montana. I’m really Irish with a Spanish name. Well, mostly Irish. Or, more accurately, I’m Irish enough ; I’m also Scottish and Eastern European and Ashkenazi, plus that soupçon of Iberian that comes with the surname. I’m so little of so much that I don’t care about any of it. No Venezuelan pride. No secret Jewish squee. Too suburban for my hillbilly cred and too indifferent to claim anything Irish at all. (Unless indifference is an Irish trait — I’ll never know, though, because indifference.) Plus I hate St. Patrick’s Day. I always have. When I was a kid, St. Patrick’s Day was about putting in the minimal effort to avoid some dummy pinching you. That’s it. When I got older, I thought I’d dig the party vibe, but I quickly learned St. Patrick’s Day combines in all the douchey drunkenness of frat parties and spring break with disgusting food coloring in the booze. And in the vomit.
So it’s days like today that I’m dearly happy I live in Los Angeles, a city so bereft of Irish people that we aren’t even on the map of Irish communities in the United States :
This is okay with me. I know right now most of my friends in New York and Boston and Chicago are either getting drunk on green beer, vomiting green beer, dodging people vomiting green beer, watching parades next people about to vomit green beer, or some nasty combination of these.
Usually I get city envy on holidays here. Los Angeles shows its sleepy provincial roots. New Years Eve and Fourth of July are particularly dire. Restaurants close at 11. Bars close at 2. But today, I was happy I had no idea it was St. Patrick’s Day until I overheard two of the girls working at the vet :
“Are you doing anything tonight?”
“St. Patrick’s Day, right ? Isn’t it?”
“Oh, that’s right. Oh, wow. Now I gotta stay home. All the bars are gonna be gross.”
Yes, yes they are.