“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J. R. R. Tolkien

"Everybody dies. Not everybody really lives."

The saddest sound in the world is a man saying, "I wish I'd have done that."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Here, there............

So we picked a small pub called Murphy’s (what else?) on a side street in Killarney in southwestern Ireland. We slid around a table in a cozy alcove near the back of the pub and settled in to down a few pints and listen to some Irish music.

And then Scrubs, that funny American TV show started. Or so it seemed. I looked up and John C. McGinley, who plays Dr. Perry Cox on the show, ambled in looking for a table. There you go, just when you think you have escaped our pervasive American culture, in walks Hollywood. Not his fault of course, his ancestors are Irish and he has as much right to tip a Bulmer’s or two in Killarney as anyone else and a lot of folks would be thrilled to eat next to a real live honest to goodness Hollywood star. Plus he was friendly and unassuming as could be.

But I was struck with a sort of melancholy that I had come all this way, driven into this village, sought out this out-of-the-way pub and ---Bam!—I feel like I’m back in my living room. Another reminder of the homogeneous place that the world has become. If you’re an American, it’s nearly impossible to get away from home anymore. I’ve stumbled across a McDonald’s near the platz in Rothenberg Germany, a Hard Rock CafĂ© in Tokyo and a KFC in San Jose, Costa Rica. Turn on a TV in a hotel room in New Zealand and you get American sitcoms.

Good for America I guess but a sad reminder of how small the world has become. And not a good thing if you like your world different and exotic and a little on the edge. That’s all I’m saying.