Rides

Last weekend, we went to the Docklands Festival – a free wake-boarding and water-sports event at Dublin’s swish Docklands area. A (relatively) warm day spent pic-nicing at the river(canal)side, watching wakeboarders brave the cold waters, enjoying street performers, and sampling international food at from street vendors. Lovely! Oh, and these:

Ride me! You know you want to!
Ride me! You know you want to!

Kids’ rides. I hate these. For children, I guess they are a ticket to adventure. For me, they’re a waste of a coin. At supermarkets and shopping centres I let my kids crawl all over them, gleefully refusing to put a coin in. A bit of rocking and shaking doesn’t add much to the experience, I tell them. Use your imagination, I tell them.

But here, the ride is (wo)manned, there’s no getting out of it. I make a silent prayer to myself: “please God, don’t let me hear those words!”

“Daddy, can I go on that, please!”

There’s nothing I can say. “Okay, but I only have money for one, so choose carefully”. A pathetic capitulation.

So the train is chosen, he steps aboard, and I wait to give my one Euro to the lady.

“Just the one?” she says. (“Just? What does she want from me?”)

“Yes”

“That’s €2.50”

My heart sinks. I briefly think about pulling him off and walking away in disgust. Then I see his face.

train_17374673333_o

I reluctantly hand over my hard earned coppers.

“Is my little brother coming on too?”

“No, he bloody well isn’t!”

So I watch him ride around with a big smile on his face for what feels like a minute, a minute-twenty, tops. Trying to suppress irrational prejudices about gypsies.

all-aboard_17995168205_o

He’s happy though, isn’t he? Maybe, he’ll remember this day. Look back and remember how kind his old man was. How he gave up half a pint of Guinness for that ‘moment’ of happiness and satisfaction.

The train stops.

“Daddy, again please!

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