Friday, October 28, 2011

Say what?

Well, what do you know... there was a presidential election in Ireland yesterday! And I had no clue.

I suppose you could say that this fact speaks volumes about my civic engagement and interest in my new home. I would argue, though, that it has much more to do with my consumption of Irish media (or lack thereof).

First, we have no television. We haven’t owned one since Hurricane Katrina wiped out ours 6 years ago. No radio, either.

I tried reading the newspaper a few times since I arrived last month, but never made it far, finding the news to be incomprehensible or astoundingly provincial. Instead, I have been relying on the NPR website for my news (in my defense, I have been making a special effort to read the stories about the Euro-zone bailout. But it’s just so bo-o-o-ring).

The election was there on the periphery of my consciousness. We’ve seen signs, and I’ve read the odd headline, but was all so low-key that I had no idea the election was near. After all, in the U.S., on the day of the election stores would be loudly proclaiming their Election Day Sales; the McDonald’s would probably be selling Big Macs festooned with little American flags; no one would get any work done because they’d be glued to the web, refreshing the page every minute to see the changing vote counts and colourful state maps. Here, it was just a normal day like any other, apart from the fact that people went into their polling station (or whatever it is they do here) and turned in their ballot.

Now, don’t ask me who is actually president, my interest in the subject hasn’t extended so far as for me to actually find out. I’m told it’s the balding little man with wild, white hair fringing his head. I think it’s the guy that Jorge thinks looks like a Princess Bride character. Maybe I'll go online and look it up.

Or maybe I'll check Facebook instead. Lunch hour is only so long, you know.