Just My Luck

a pilots daughter
You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.
— Cormac McCarthy, 'No Country For Old Men'
 Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

My dreams of my very own shamrock-smattered adventure were all but smashed when I found myself shivering and sweating in the back of a tour bus headed to the Causeway Coast. 

Somewhere between Dublin and the eighth wonder of the world, I could no longer ignore the beads of cold sweat dripping down my searing forehead; I was sick. Really sick.

Carrick-a-Rede, Northern Ireland

I traversed the whimsical and picturesque Carrick-A-Rede bridge and clamored down to the awe-inspiring stones of Giant's Causeway with every finger, toe, and appendage crossed. Maybe it would pass. Maybe I was just really, really tired. Maybe the ancient stones around me possessed some sort of magical healing powers? I rubbed them, clutched them, lay on them, and all but licked them in the hopes of a travelers miracle. 

I can't say I found my miracle. 

 Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

In the days and nights that followed, I lay in my modest hostel bunk hoping that the luck of the Irish was more than myth. I dreamt of creamy pints of Guiness and Gerard Butler look-a-likes playing the fiddle. I crawled into the nearest chemists and cafes to load up on prescriptions and soup and tried not to notice the endless amounts of smiling, friendly, beautiful people along the way. It seemed that wherever I went and whatever pitiful condition I was in, I was met with only the warmest of greetings. Though my symptoms refused to diminish, my spirits were lifted by my brief jaunts through the streets of Dublin. On every corner was yet another enticing restaurant or jovial pub. It's a city that begs for friends to dine with and more to drink with. It  seemed that all around me there was an unlimited amount of enjoyment to be had there, and I was the only one unable to have it.


I was left feeling as if, perhaps, my luck had indeed run out. Four days had passed and I was still incapable of enjoying even a drop of my favorite stout. No jigs were had and no clovers were spotted. I was feeling beaten and I'd had enough. I maxed out my doses and staggered my way onto a plane bound for London. Ireland clearly didn't want me. 

I arrived relieved and ecstatic to see familiar faces and to be away from what seemed my most ill-fated destination. I'd clearly escaped the grip of my enemy city. And then, before I could even utter "Cheerio", I found myself dazed and a little more than confused on an operating table being prepped for emergency surgery. 

It's clear to me now, that in my case, without having a clue, the luck of the Irish had something to prove... And boy, did they prove it to me.

Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland

Luck is believing you’re lucky.
— Tennessee Williams, 'A Streetcar Named Desire'
Helen HaydenComment