I KEEP telling people I’ve moved to London, as I sit chatting to them in Dublin.
I live in London now – I repeat this to myself as I sit in an internet café, printing my boarding pass for a flight to Cork.
More Maeve Higgins:
I definitely don’t live in Ireland any more – I don’t pay rent there, my old number doesn’t work and, crucially, I’ve said goodbye to all of my family and friends in Ireland – a number of times.
The awkward thing is, I’m still there.
More often than not, blabbing on about how hard it is to settle in England.
I’m trying to cut down on my heavy self-deprecation habit, but I permit myself to quickly say, right now – I am a real dope. Of course it’s hard to settle when I keep leaving! Leaving to go home.
I’ve been back in Ireland for work reasons, sure. Momma’s got to take care of business, how else can she buy all her pretty jewels?
I’ve also been back for my niece’s first birthday. I knew she’d never speak to me again if I didn’t show up to the party. Well, she has yet to actually speak to me. Not out of rudeness, I hope, more out of laziness or possibly, youth.
Ireland is just so close. So is Bromley, of course, but I’ve never been.
I need to make London my home.
I’ll start with my neighbourhood. I like my street.
It’s a bit dirty and quite pretty and right in the middle of Hackney. Not that I know where the middle is, geographically, it just feels like the middle because of everything that goes on.
Today I saw a wrecked looking man wandering past holding a broken trampoline just as a hipster cycled by, admonishing his dog for barking. ‘Do shut up, Peanut’ he said to his little white dog, riding up front in a basket.
There’s an elderly man who lives across the street from me and paces around his front room. He wears a neat little kimono and seems to be forever waiting for someone.
On weekend nights a group of boys fix up their cars right outside my house. They play what I call ‘terrible’ music. Luckily, it’s the same music I listen when I’m putting on my make-up getting ready to go out, so it works out just fine.
There are banners up on my street, announcing a street party. Huge banners, strung between lamp posts, saying it loud.
My heart sang when I first saw them, a street feast! I really come into my own in large groups involving food – you have no idea. I’m at my most charming and helpful when surrounded by hungry strangers. Truly, I absolutely dominate events like that.
Thrilled with the chance to properly get amongst it, I snatched a poster and brought it home with me.
That’s when I saw the date and realised I’m going home that weekend. Home, of course, being Ireland.