IrelandTravel Writings

The Importance of Being Loved

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What a weird day. I arrived back at Baltimore after my night on Cape Clear, just in time to miss my bus, so instead of waiting four hours for the next one, I took some initiative and decided to thumb it to Skibbereen. It was about a half hour before a guy finally stopped and picked me up. Apparently he thought I was one of the two Lithuanian guys he was supposed to pick up to work at his son’s mussel farm, but due to his incredibly thick West Cork accent, I didn’t realise this until ten minutes later when we were still sitting idly in the car waiting. Once it was cleared up that I was neither Lithuanian nor had any plans to work on his son’s mussel farm, we proceeded to spend the next hour waiting for the men and then ultimately going door to door so I could inquire about the missing Eastern Europeans. Thankfully no-one answered their doors; I really didn’t want to have to explain to unsuspecting Irish folk why a Californian was canvassing their neighbourhood in search of a couple of lost Lithuanians.

Later that day, back in good old Skibbereen, I was waiting at the bus stop, when I spied the cutest little old-time store in the world. Of course I had to go inside. Instantly I was in a different era. A very old couple sat behind the counter, chatting with a local woman who had probably popped into the store every single day of her life. We got talking and inevitably the question of whether or not I had any Irish ancestry arose. When I answered, “No, I’m all Eastern European Jew,” the local woman squealed, “Ooh! We LOVE Jewish people!” The three very sweet people then proceeded to tell me, earnestly, that they loved Jewish people because they were basically doing God’s work by being in Israel and fighting the good fight that would help bring about the End Days, and the return of the Messiah. “We’re basically Zionists,” the local woman told me.

With a new odd sense of being, I guess, appreciated, I caught the bus to the town of Schull where I intended to stay the night. Almost immediately I managed to get myself adopted by a group 15 or so university students from Dublin who were in town for some type of sailing competition thingy. Evidently more intent on partying than sailing, they very easily persuaded me to go back to their place and start drinking at 5:30 pm. Jesus, I forgot what college binge drinking was all about. Let’s just say that at one point an entire room full of Irish people began chanting, “U-S-A! U-S-A!” out of nowhere, which they then followed with “Lone-ly Planet! Lone-ly Planet!” Of course after each time cheering happened we were all meant to down whatever beer we had in our hands. The funny part about the whole thing was that they weren’t even doing it to take the piss out of me, they were actually being sincere. Ah, it’s nice to feel loved.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website BrokeAssStuart.com is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, Geek.com and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.

3 Comments

  1. July 2, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Oh Irish people, they are so wonderfully sweet! They even make Zionism sound cute.

  2. Andrea Lotker
    July 25, 2008 at 7:39 am

    Dude, isn’t it awkward when people tell you they love your people for some obscure reason that you totally can’t relate to? I have the same ancestry as you and it blows me away every time. U-S-A!

  3. Bay City News
    July 25, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Yeah, it’s always a strange one to hear 🙂