I heartily endorse this practice, even though there is no way on God’s green earth that I’d ever do it myself:
Sandy Crocker, of British Columbia, just took a trip to Ireland in July 2011, but he has gone back for another four weeks to try to track down a woman that he met at a County Clare cafe during his last trip.
On July 9, 2011, Crocker met the one. He just didn’t realize it until it was too late. Crocker stopped at the An Teach Bia cafe in Ennistymon with his family to grab a bite to eat before heading to the popular Cliffs of Moher. Crocker spotted the woman at the cafe and stopped her to ask for direction to the Cliffs before she left. The two had a brief conversation.
And that was the last he saw of her. The next day he flew back to Canada, but he never stopped thinking about her:
“My breath was taken away to the point of near suffocation … She was gentle, graceful, the kind of girl who would enter a shoe store and leave with brown boots, [whose] mother probably thought blue glass was pretty and still collectible.”
The trick about the town of Brigadoon, you may remember, is that it’s not always there: the enchantment that preserves it does so by bringing it to life only once every hundred years, thereby making sure it’s not influenced by contemporary evils. Which means that when Tommy Albright (Gene Kelly) falls hard for one of the town girls, he’s faced with the sort of choice you wouldn’t give Hobson: either he stays with her, thereby giving up his life in this world, or he returns to New York and never gets another shot. I remember yelling at the screen: “You fool! Go back to her!”
Not that I’d ever take my own advice, of course:
I hit the gymnasium first, quite by accident, and a kindly member of the athletic staff — like so many faculty members, he’s also an alumnus, in this case from 1972 — gave me The Tour. I didn’t recall too many names from ’72, with the notable exception of the young lady I sort of almost dated, and it seemed rather pointless to volunteer her name, so I didn’t. The gym is twice as big as the old one, and perhaps more important, so is the library. And with a student body roughly the same size as it was thirty years ago, the new staff (which, I note with delight, includes some of the old staff) should have a far easier time of it.
I thanked my guide and got back into my car and mused for a moment. A moment too long, as it turned out; once I got the car started, I spun around to look for traffic, and there was a woman in a Nissan Altima waiting for me to vacate the space. I rolled down the window to apologize for making her wait, and she smiled at me, and by the time I got off Daniel Island I remembered where I’d seen that face before. And I swear, it could have been the aforementioned young lady I sort of almost dated.
Were I the sort of person I’m supposed to be, or that I think I’d like to be, I would have done a
360180 in the middle of the Mark Clark Expressway and gone back to ask. But being the sort of person I am, I kept going and didn’t say a word.
Perhaps I’ve learned my lesson, but that’s probably not the way to bet.
And speaking of bets, a UK bookmaker quotes the odds on Crocker’s finding his dream colleen:
U.K. bookmaker Ladbrokes, Ireland, assigned 50/1 odds on Mr. Crocker marrying the mystery lady, giving it a 4/5 chance that she is already married. “It’s definitely a long shot travelling 8,000 kilometres to woo an anonymous Irish girl with red hair and freckles, but there’s a good chance Sandy could steal another Irish lady’s heart during his visit, so we’re offering 10/1 that he meets his future wife here,” said Ladbrokes spokeswoman Hayley O’Connor.
A likely story.
(Suggested by the Instant Man.)