?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Flann O'Brien novel or heist film? - 1370°C

Nov. 8th, 2004

07:25 am - Flann O'Brien novel or heist film?

Previous Entry Share Next Entry

a few weeks ago, i was waiting for the Luas and witnessed the following scene, which made me wonder whether i had been magically transported into a Flann O'Brien novel or a heist film.

at the places that it is considered "safe" to cross the Luas tracks, there are signs that read "Feach gach treo" (look each way), like this one. on the day in question, i am sitting on a bench, headphones on and staring vaguely out into space. two workmen in blue overalls and reflective yellow vests walk up to this sign; one of them begins polishing it with a cloth. as if it isn't strange enough that he is cleaning a street sign at all, both men occasionally stand back to admire the handiwork, decide that the sign isn't quite clean enough, and the first rubs it with the cloth awhile longer. when finally they seem as if they might be finished, one of the men checks to be sure the bolts that hold the sign to the wall are tight enough. he uses his fingers for this purpose, which seems ineffective at best. then, of course, he's left fingerprints on the sign, so the cleaning begins afresh. then, i'm not making this up, the cloth-wielding man moves to one side of the sign and tilts his head so as to look at the sign from an oblique angle--the way that you would with a piece of glass that needed to be absolutely spotless--to be sure that the sign was really and truly free of all detritus, prints, smudges, or marks. upon examination in this fashion, he decides that the cleaning job is still unsatisfactory, consults with his workmate, and continues to clean.

this process of cleaning, adjusting and examining goes on for 7 minutes while i watch (i know this because the helpful LED Luas signs tell you how long until the next train comes) and they are still cleaning it when the Luas, with me in it, finally takes off for St. Stephen's Green.

after pondering this sight in absolute wonder (i so wish i had been carrying the digital camera), i was left wondering if i had entered a world not unlike the one described in O'Brien's The Third Policeman or if what i'd just seen was an indication that there was a fantastic heist taking place or about to take place and all of this sign-polishing was a diversion of some variety.

what do you think?
(and no fair ruining my grand illusions by saying that these workmen were simply lazy and wasting time to avoid other tasks--that clearly falls into the category of Flann O'Brien novel).

Current Mood: surreal
Current Music: only the twittering of birds and the ringing of church bells

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:luvcraft
Date:November 8th, 2004 03:27 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Can you summarize the novel for us so we can try to follow along? :)X
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:ferrousoxide
Date:November 8th, 2004 04:27 pm (UTC)
(Link)
O'Brien is a surrealist, comic Irish novelist, who also wrote non-fiction under another name. The Third Policeman is a sort of murder mystery...i guess... ;) i suppose the relevant information is this: the policemen in the novel are overly concerned with bicycles and bicycle theft--almost to the point that all they do in the novel is hunt for stolen bicycles and bicyle thieves. when the main character reports his watch stolen, the policeman's response is something like "why would anyone steal a watch when they can steal a bicycle?"

now, clearly my Luas-sign anecdote does not participate in any variety of bicycle related shenannigans, but it's just...the *style* really. and the obsessive strangeness. if the episode had been in a novel, it would have been a Flann O'Brien novel (yes, thank you, i do look at all the events in my life as if they were contained in works of fiction).

i do recommend The Third Policeman to all and sundry though, it's well worth it and nearly fall-on-the-floor funny.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From:_wirehead_
Date:November 8th, 2004 06:00 pm (UTC)
(Link)
i do look at all the events in my life as if they were contained in works of fiction

... they aren't?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:ferrousoxide
Date:November 8th, 2004 06:10 pm (UTC)
(Link)
if i've my say, they will be someday.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:ad_radian
Date:November 9th, 2004 09:41 pm (UTC)

Proximity

(Link)
Are there windows on the trains such that you could open them and lean out the window, or at least reach out an arm. If so, could one reach a sign from a train window?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:ferrousoxide
Date:November 10th, 2004 11:45 am (UTC)

Re: Proximity

(Link)
nope. the Luas is a light-rail system. so they're like sealed little caterpillar pods.

why...what are you thinking?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:ad_radian
Date:November 10th, 2004 02:56 pm (UTC)

Re: Proximity

(Link)
I thought it was possible they were cleaning up after a nominee for a darwin award, but if the windows are sealed, then probably not.
Hmmm... maybe polishing signs really is their job.
Maybe they were planning to steal the sign when there were no witnesses. They were disguised as workers, but really they just wanted the sign to put up on the wall at home.
Maybe they're a new kind of mime.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)