|Authorities’ did turn up at on of the Waterford shows, which started at the Meath show. A stunning woman with long blonde hair and passionate love in her eyes approached me at the campfire just as I finished a beauty of a show that was heckled by wind chimes. She mentioned her 3 kids and I thought, ‘there is still a chance’, then she mentioned her husband and I thought, ‘there is still a chance’, then she revealed she was a Protestant, so I reluctantly let it go. It would simply be morally wrong!
I ended up being invited to her place in Waterford, for a show. Not that type of show, you naughty sausage! The gig had 18 people in a purpose-built tent with fairies lights and Protestant crumpets. The audience were a bunch of friendly Christians, their Pastor and a few token Catholics, who sat at the back. I think they sat at the back out of choice rather than religious apartheid. As I delighted in my own success at bringing peace through laughter to the age old Catholic/Protestant conflict, my delight faded as abruptly as peace in the Middle East, when I saw a member of the Gardai on the property talking with the Lady of the House, who shall be known as, Miss C.
I watched them talk from a safe distance, contemplating the consequences of approaching, knowing that a man’s presence can make these things worse, while admiring the tightness of the line between justification and cowardliness. I could hear the charismatic Pastor and friends (Catholics included) singing songs about Jesus and playing away on the guitar while the uninvited trespasser claimed a neighbour had complained about an ‘illegal gathering” taking place.
I noted, he was on his own, which is unusual, because they usually come in pairs, just like smelly socks. Miss C seemed to be holding her own nicely. She informed the Garda that they were outdoors and singing songs about Jesus to which he aggressively responded, ‘I don’t give a shit about your God! Shut up about your Jesus!” From her face, you could see blood rush to her cheeks and in her voice you could hear a petulant cry of disgust and discontent. And so I approached. He barked, ‘stop recording me and what’s your name?’ I would not like him to start believing that he has any authority over me or, indeed, any authority to be on the private property, in the first place. How could I know he was he really a Garda or did one of the Catholics think it was funny to call a male stripper as retaliation for being seated at the back? Who knows, for sure? I didn’t, so to be safe I didn’t want a cop or a male stripper to know my name, birthday or where I sleep at night. I am not saying I know as much about the bible as my new Pastor friend but the bible does say, ‘You shall not bear false witness’ Mathew 19:18… So why would I bear false witness against myself? I wouldn’t.
‘What’s your name?’ He repeated with increasing self belief in his own perceived authority. When I pointed out that he seemed to be unnecessarily upsetting this Lady, he said that she was not respecting him by refusing to “Shut up about her Jesus”. I calmly assured him that I respected him, ‘I am giving you respect, as a man to a man’. His response still amazes me, ‘I am not speaking to you as a man. I am speaking to a person!’. Does this mean that he is aware of the legalese jargon that presupposes that ‘persons’ are legal entities with no human rights, which he would indeed have jurisdiction over? Does this mean that he knows that a ‘man’ would be part of the ‘people’ which would have inalienable rights under God, which he would have no such claim of jurisdiction over? Or was he just very PC and didn’t want to presume my gender?
I (unsuccessfully) telepathically communicated to Miss C to turn the other cheek as I was sure the intruder was trying to find good cause to justify his presence. If Saint Peter was here, this cop would have lost an ear already. I wondered why this cop, who still had two ears, had sworn an oath to God if he didn’t ‘give a shit’. If he had broken his oath, maybe that meant he was not a Garda anymore and I should call a real Garda to arrest him for trespassing and for pretending to be a Garda.
I genuinely wanted to calm things, but at the same time didn’t want to participate in prolonging this game by giving him any information about me.
He asked me was I ‘refusing to give’ him my name to which I responded, ‘have you got a warrant to be here?’ He didn’t and insisted he did not need one to be on private property. Hmmmm has the Covid legislation gone this far? I said he did need one, ’signed by a judge in blue ink’ but to be honest, I was bluffing. He went back to basics, ‘what’s your name?’ so I went back to basics too, ‘am I under arrest?’ He asked me a final time for my name and I said very clearly, ‘this is a yes or no question, Am I under arrest or not?’ Garda: ’No, but you could be.’ To which Miss C, who already looked as though her blood pressure was dangerously high, linked arms with me and said to the Garda “if you arrest one of us, you’ll have to arrest all of us!” and she was not joking around! What a hero! We do not need to be heroes all the time, just for little moments in time. In this moment, she was mine.
Garda: “That could be arranged, I’ll call for back up. When they get here, we are going to arrest everyone who doe snot provide their name.“
I COULD be under arrest. Hmmm. ‘Could’ is a synonym for ‘could not’ it is a hypothetical.
He COULD get on his hands and knees and beg for our forgiveness for trespassing on private property and ruining a perfectly good gathering with his negative attitude.
He COULD join us in the tent for Protestant crumpets and to Jesus songs
He COULD be a stripper.
He COULD just pull down the mask and hug it out, like a real man. And so, since I COULD, l, walked off of the property along with Miss C and the rest of the “Religious Rebels’ dispersing like the darling buds of Sunshine we are.
End of drama. Or so we thought. Down the country lane Miss C and I walked (with Miss C now a shade of lilac). Behind, we heard a car speeding and screeching as it approached, abruptly coming to a halt beside us. Blacked out windows rolled down and a voice said “Need a ride, hop in!?’ The relief, it was the the stripper’s voice, it was the delightful voice which belonged to my new Preacher man friend. Who could have known that the “dark side” was so much fun?
The perceived ‘authorities’ came back (the-next-day-ish), this time via An Post, rather than in person, with a fine for €500 for Miss C but she is handling it with honour as one of the Sovereign people of Ireland and won’t be paying it, just like the women I met in Cork and Clare and all over the land. I mean she could pay it, but she could also carry on being awesome (despite being a Proddy), that’s the beauty of hypotheticals. Anything COULD happen.
The future has not been decided. We COULD co-create a much better norm where we trust our immune systems more than big bad Pharma…
Something sort of miraculous happened during all of this that I want to share. It gave me shivers down my neck. During this little cop drama, the pastor and congregation were singing a version of Zach Williams beautiful song, ‘No longer slaves’. I have since looked up the lyrics and am listening to it this very second with a smile on my face:
‘I’m no longer a slave to fear Oh, I am a child of God…
You unravel me, with a melody You surround me, with a song Of deliverance, from my enemies ‘Til all my fears are gone.
And I’m no longer a slave to fear Oh, I am a child of God….”
I do feel blessed and protected on this tour.