Straight off, let me just say that my roommates were showing me the love today. Abbie snapped the amazing candid of me that you see above, and later when I commented on how all my friends had taken several lovely photos of me today, they replied that it’s impossible for me to take anything other than cute photos. Right in the feels. And later when we were waiting at a crosswalk, Abbie looked at me and asked if she is taller me, which of course she is because I’m quite compact. She surprised me by saying, “I thought you were taller,” to which Jess chimed in her agreement. That’s when they told me I have a “tall personality.” I take up space, in a good way. I’m a presence. I’m still feeling the warm fuzzies from that one. Shout out to the amazing people surrounding me.
Today a big group of us went to the filming of a new television show here called “Eureka: The Big Bang Query.” It was…interesting?
But we’ll get to that. First, we did adorable things – Abbie, Jess, Courtney, and I. We braved the crazy Dublin winds to go walking through Temple Bar, which is the place where tourists (not us) pay 8 euros for one beer, to find Elephant & Castle. Jess is obsessed with elephants and when we heard there was an elephant-themed cafe nearby, we had to go.
We made it there just barely before the breakfast cut-off. In fact, we were the last people who were served breakfast (and not pancakes because they were “out” of those). I ate before I came because I can’t really eat at restaurants these days. All the rest ordered french toast.
The cafe itself was sort of lacking in elephants, in my opinion. The waiter stuck us in the corner at a giant table, which we sat awkwardly around. We later discovered that the photo over our heads was of an obviously American child being obnoxious. Our theory is he stuck us in that particular corner because we are in fact American. Maybe that’s where they stick all the Americans so they can laugh at them. This is becoming a theme in Dublin.
I did end up ordering a “bowl of steamed milk” because who the heck drinks foamy milk out of a bowl? I had to be one of those people. When it arrived (after the french toast. Rude.) I discovered that it wasn’t so much a traditional bowl as a very large bowl-shaped cup. The milk was a good temperature and it came with a little spoon. So, there I was drinking foamy milk with my fancy little spoon, which sufficiently distracted me from the french toast goodness that my friends were eating. That milk was today’s true hero, otherwise I might have been crying under the table because God do I miss syrup and bread and sugar.
Service in Ireland is very different than in America and that’s because the waiters here don’t live off our tips. In fact, we didn’t tip our waiter at all. You simply don’t have to here. But the trade-off is that no one came to check on us much, and though the food got to the table very quickly, we sat around waiting for them to take out credit card for a good ten minutes. The people-watching was excellent out the front window, which made it slightly better. Especially that fourteen year old girl who was holding a half eaten banana in her hand with just the most displeased face I’ve ever seen. It must have been a truly atrocious banana.
We went to a bookstore afterwards (you know how it is) and chilled at home until it was time to meet downstairs to head to the TV studio. Now when I say “TV studio,” I’m being really, really generous. Because this place was a total dump. A total, un-insulated, freezing dump. The filming took place in an abandoned cigarette factory, which sounds cool on principle. I’ve never been so chilled to the bone and creeped out in my life. We kept making jokes about being lambs for slaughter, but it was legitimate possibility (which was made even worse when the show’s host said that indeed we would not be leaving alive).
To set the scene, since pictures weren’t allowed, imagine broken windows, exposed old pipes, cold concrete everywhere, creepy stained curtains moving without provocation, and old doors with “DANGER” written on them slowly opening with no one on the other side. Big open spaces, one small heater (more like a flame thrower) to heat the whole joint. The best part, for those who can actually drink alcohol (not me), was the cheap-ass wine that had to be sucked down while you tried very hard not to taste it.
When we got into the actual studio-part, what I could see of the dressing rooms from walking past them was quite sad. They were trashed with all sorts of random props, wigs, and pictures of monkeys. Oh, and empty wine glasses. Lots of empty wine glasses. There was nothing glamorous about anything. Even the set itself was pretty industrial looking. It was so unglamorous that there weren’t even chairs for us to sit in. That’s right. We had to stand for the entire duration of the show (which was over an hour for the first half alone). And because the floor was flat and the crowd large, we couldn’t actually see anything.
I think the most uncomfortable part wasn’t the temperature or the fact that we had to surrender our coats and bags to be held in an open area near the front door (which we later found TOTALLY unattended), but the fact that we had actual laugh and applause cues. We were needed to help make other people who watch the show think it’s funny, so we had to applaud and laugh sufficiently or they might make us re-flim that sequence. Some of it was scripted, some of it wasn’t.
The show itself was a sort of comedy panel with a rough focus on science. A host sat in the middle of a horseshoe-shaped table with two teams of three on either side. Each team had one female participant – all of whom were actual scientists or at least well-educated – who was dark-haired and very skinny. Sigh. The host would ask questions and the two teams would debate the answers. Points were awarded, but it wasn’t an exact science at all. The host awarded one team points twice because he telepathically “read the minds” of all the men in the room during a question about the merits of flying vs invisibility, and by that I mean he got awarded points for making assumptions that every man in the room was straight and a little bit pervy and would totally prefer to be invisible so they could stare at endless pairs of boobs. Funny.
Really, it was an experience. The humor was only so-so and quite vulgar at times. The only real hard data I walked away with is the fact that men who masturbate 4 times a day are 90% less likely to have prostate cancer. Also, the outsides of ears are evidently just “decorative bits.” And children who play with puppets are serial killers? It’s also possible to be spider man, but not the shooting webs part. So basically it’s possible to be a lame spider man. Science, folks.
A few ladies from the group dodged out of the filming ten minutes early because we were tired of standing and we had to pee. Unfortunately, to get to the bathroom, we had to walk all the way back through the warehouse and go outside to another, much darker part of the building. When we arrived we found that there was one working stall for the women. The men had three. Men take less time to pee. Something about this seems extremely wrong and this is exactly why we need Bernie Sanders to be president (go vote kids). No more making women wait in obscene bathroom lines. I’m also fed up with the men’s bathroom always being closer to the main entrance/exit than the women’s. This systemic sexism needs to stop because I am feeling revolutionary. *Note: It’s very possible bathroom lines won’t change with Bernie as president, but at least lots of other things will. No matter, the revolution is coming.
On the way back into the main part of the warehouse, the creepy stained curtains in the long abandoned hallway kept blooming out as we walked past each one. Then we passed a door that said DANGER in big letters and it started creeping slowly opened. By that point we were running, speculating on which one of us would be the first to die. I yanked my coat off its hanger when we passed by and found our way to a table right next to the flame-throwing heater in the main dining/sitting area. The flames felt so good and we nabbed the table right in front of them for the break between filming sessions that was soon to happen. That heat was amazing. I could have sat there for hours, even if we were in a creepy old cigarette factory.
When the second part of the filming was set to start, Abbie, Jess, and I decided that we’d had the experience of a live TV show filming and didn’t need to stand through another hour of poorly executed sex jokes, not-so-subtle jabs at Americans, and the banter about Irish history that went way over our heads. So we walked home through the cold night through a not-so-great part of town. But we made it. Now to watch Pride and Prejudice – the Kiera Knightly version – and listen to the drunken shouts of Friday night Dublin at our feet.