If anyone is to be put on a pedestal in Kerry, it’s the Rock of Common Sense. You’ll know them, they’re the face of austerity, sincerity and practicality in the community. By God, they don’t put a foot wrong, never eat a biscuit in between meals, burp aloud or say skittish things like ‘What a beautiful day.’ No indeed, a beautiful day is for painting a fence. The Rock holds his or her cards close to their chest.
Every now and again, I resolve to be more Rock like, less skittish and ‘Corkonian’, more stoic, guarded, practical, wise and thinking. To this end, I even developed a tone; one that scares the farmer. ‘Mind you’, I might start a sentence with. For good measure, there are ‘clearly’s’ ‘nonsense’ ‘that’s ridiculous’ and ‘incredibles’ rolling from the tongue. It’s hard to keep going though, there’s a lot of weather watching to make sure the washing comes promptly in from the line, lawns to maintain, funerals to attend. In truth, it’s exhausting.
Besides, ‘Rock watching’ happens to be a favourite pastime of mine. Who doesn’t secretly enjoy seeing the Rock of Common Sense trip over a lace or indeed get your name wrong. We are human after all. Fallible, real. And whatsmore, great fun. I want to love you Rock but you’re going to have to make a mistake to be my friend. Or at the very least, show me that you too, forget what day of the week it is and curse in private at the smartphone you may have just flushed down the toilet.
Sometimes, you have to live in a place for a while before people let their guard down and then you’ll see the glint that says, I too, have made a mess. Got it so wrong. Lived. And they work their way into your favor, become one of the characters in the narrative that is your everyday life in a small village in rural Ireland. And maybe, if you’re lucky, you come to really know that person and come to count them as a friend. Incredible.