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Optimism

Posted by magoo

In The Bronx many Moons ago there was a poster in the bathroom of the huge apt I shared with my two Brothers and often new arrivals , " just off the boat "  from our home town in Ireland . Sometimes there would be a knock on the door ...The Bronx so you gotta check the credentials before opening the door  !! 

Hello there , this is Mike from Ballina .

Mike who ??? 

You know Mike who used to go to school eith you wjen we were about 10  . 

Ten what ??

Ten years old . 

What the Ffff , I don't remember any Mike .

They called me Mickaleen  ( Gaelic for Mike Junior ) .

How did you wind up at my door ? 

Well I met your Mother at Mass and she gave me your address and told me to make sure to call on you .  

Mother's name checks out .

I open the door  and there is some guy mamed Mickaleen  I don't know from a hole in the ground ....with TWO  huge suitcases in tow !! 

Enough money to last a few days ...pocket money !!  And no plans other than , I'm going to New York and probably never going back because If I leave they will never let me in again ( overstay Visa , banned for  ten  years from entry , US immigration at the Airport in Dublin , not New York , so you're not even getting on the plane if the Immigration person doesn't like the Cut of your Jib ( you're dodgey in any way )  . That one person decides your future on a whim or actually for good reason . You have too much luggage,  too little luggage , back then , long hair ( Druggie ! )  . Not enough money , cash , having too much money . Not having the Exact address of a person you will visit or hotel you will stay at with a receipt & reservation . Just a bit smart ass in hiving an answer would get you into the interrogation room , do you plan on working ?? . A friend was silly enough to say " I'll be gettin a bit of plastering work with my friend so I'll be ok for money "  ( because the ICE guy  acts like a NICE  guy  a person can mistake him / her for a sympathetic friend ...haha ..sure , and I have a big aorange Bridge for sale . ) . Chatting with ICE  is always adversarial ,  playing Poker with your future  people with Social Anxiety  beware , you will piss your pants when three big customs an ommigration guys stand over you just waiting for the wrong answer  to make them pounce on you . Stupid , silly things can come out of your stuttering mouth in such a confrontation . In the US Customs and Immigration area of Dublin Airport you are literally on American Soil , like an Embassy  and they are the Law , before even getting in the air and with a visitor's Visa  you are subject to their subjective assessment of your Character , your motives for travel , your right to travel etc etc ..You have zero right to privacy , you must hand over your phone, laptop etc if requested and the passwords  . Anyone coming to visit should bring a new , empty phone . If you messaged someone and the subject of Work ever entered the conversation it' the room with the bright lights and just a chair and table . If your friend works legally here and you ask how to get work ...that's it you're  outta here . Even if you were just curious and not intending to work . A Niece was recently sent packing  at the airport because one of her travelling companions had sent her a text speculating about work . Both her and her friend were refused entry to the Flight on the spot in Dublin . She had no intention of working , didn't need to ( doing ok moneywise ) . She wiped her messages just in case ICE  would get the wrong idea , her friend did not ipe her messages . It was just innocent banter about their future and where they would end up working . Their  1,500  Euro tickets were forfeit  and they were stuck in Dublin for the night . 

   My family got here by doing the paperwork , filing applications , paying Lawyers etc etc  so I recommend doing the same to anyone who asks but people sti play their cards right at the Airport and get here for an automatic  3  month Visitors Visa never intending to return . 

   What was I on about again  ???  Oh Yea !!  The maybe acquaintance with the suitcases . This was the early  80's  and the rules were toygh then also .  This guy got on a plane to The Bronx with enough money for a few days , then  might be sleeoing under a bush  !!!  He had necver met us ( not in many years at least ) and was depending on our Mom  calling us n his behalf if necessary .  Overseas calls were very expensive and  the phone lines fickle so a call was not guaranteed . 

   The Punch Line . 

There was this poster in the bathroom. It was a blown up photo of a Doughnut with sprinkles on it . Underneath the pic was .

" As you wander through this life Brother , whatever be your Goal , keep your eye upon the Doughnut and Not upon the Hole . 

    It took me a while to figure it out ( I was a biteen Dense as a young Fella !!🤡🍩 ) .

    Our visitor's optimism and faith in the humanity of people , the Irish notion that  .."  Ah sure things will work out , they always do ....ne way or  t'other " .  There was an Irish pub just down the street and .. " . Sure there'll be someone there I can stay with for a while " . ( My Brother bought that Pub a few years later but that's a whole other story  !!! ☘🤯)  .

    We opened the door and said the words he was waiting to hear .

"  Welcome to America and welcome to The Bronx , you will either Love it or it will Kick Your Greenhorn Irish Ass . " 

   He had kept his ee on the Doughnut even when the Hole was big enough to swallow him Whole .  ☘🍩

   Just a quickie ....another guy in the same position fell asleep on the subway one night after a long day in construction and a few pints I imagine .  When he got home , totally exhausted taking off his clothes he noticed something strange .  All the pockets in his pnants and his jacket had been very neatly and expertly cut out and removed !!! While he was snoring someone used a scissors to cut out the pockets and his paycheck ..which he had cashed in the pub after work , it was Friday .  If he had woken up he would have been killed because he would fight back . He lasted about 18  months before heading home and never coming back .    His problem was concentrating exclusively on the Doughnut and completely ignoring the Hole ....it's a very fine line and once again , a man has to know his limitations  !!! 

That was a Long  Road to a  Small house  as my Bro the Lawer would say but a trip worth taking  , I think ? 😎.

Love and Peace to all you Baggers , stay Covid free 😜

Eamon .

See all blogs by magoo
Comments:
Nov 18, 2021
magoo : Hi Bill and thanks ? Sorry about the misprints , my fingers are getting bigger Or the buttons are getting smaller , not sure which !!
Nov 23, 2021
MaeRee : Kinda scary and sad
????
Nov 23, 2021
magoo : Hi there , I've been having a computer crisis . But first ....Americans who were born here to a regular normal family and lived in the same house with a fairly decent family support network , not rich but stable , Uncles , Aunts family friends etc have No idea how life is for immigrants coming here . You don't judt come to America and stay in one place , usually . This is such an enormous , beautiful , diverse country that it can be a bit overwhelming for some . The guy without the pockets was from a town about 30 miles from my hometown . He had an older Brother he came to and lived with him . When my Brothers first came here they made more in two days than 7 days in Ireland , in construction . We were lucky to have two Brothers here already and they were Contractors in The Bronx .
Coming to a new country is really tough and some people want the , are more suited to the slower life in Ireland . The Bronx is portrayed as a tough , dangerous place and you have to be sharp to keep out of trouble . You learn to be observant and aware of your surroundings . My Beautiful 6 foot blond Niece was working as a teacher in Harlem for a few years , working with little kids , 6 to maybe 10 . She was often verbally abused by the locals as she walked to the school from the subway , people don't drive in Manhattan . She never got robbed or any of the crap you might imagine . One evening going home on the subway she was reading and let down her guard for a minute . Looking up she saw that she was alone in the car .The rule you don't break , never be in a subway car alone , especially at night . As she got up to nove a guy came in and put a knife to her throat . He stole a licket around hef nevk , purse and phone . These people are usually junkies who woild slit your throat just for fun . Sarah got Very, Very lucky and he took her stuff and left . The next part is a tribute to growing up in NYC !! Sarah went to the police precinct every day after school looking at mugshots and new thieves they caught ( pics). She did this for weeks intil one day ...there the scumbag was in the mug book !!! Had just been arrested for stabbing a girl . Sarah's testimony put him away for LIFE !! He was an habitual robber with assault usually . He was a three time Felon and three time losers like him never get out , just a total piece of shit menace to society . I was so proud of her for having the courage to face him and get him off the streets for good .
It was the New York winters that got to be too much for me and my Brother . We came to San Francisco and thst was it !! .
Gotta hit the hay now .
Been fixing a software problem on my laptop for a week and finally got it back to normal Yipeee ?????


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