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So what is a newyorksubalien...

I’m a New York subalien. Don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly legal – it’s just my loving other half, official alien that he is, comes with a so-called “supermodel” visa that apparently denotes him as one possessing extraordinary abilities (falling asleep within 5 minutes of sitting down in front of the TV, remembering only 2 of the 3 items on a mental shopping list and not knowing where the dishwasher tablets live after 2 years in our apartment are just some of his many talents).

The same visa leaves me extraordinarily unable to possess that most American of entities - a “social” i.e. a Social Security Number. Calling it a “social” makes it sound like the password to some party-filled, fun-packed lifestyle. That’s not far wrong as without these all-important 9 numbers, you pretty much can’t have a lifestyle at all - no bank account, no credit card, not even a driver’s license.

So what does a subalien do? Well, like over sub life forms waiting for evolution to give them a leg up on the ladder of existence, I have plenty of time to observe and these, dear reader, are my observations…..

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Little green men and women - Planet Big Apple becomes Planet St Paddy's Day

You just can’t beat the luck of the Irish.

Yesterday morning the inhabitants of Planet Big Apple awoke to what was a truly appalling day – pouring, relentless, pitiless rain. Typically Irish, except, as I commented on more than one occasion, in Ireland it would be blazing sunshine by the end of the afternoon whereas experience has taught me here, even as far as the weather is concerned, they do nothing by halves.

But sure and begorrah, by late afternoon yesterday the sky was blue, the sun was beaming down and the clouds were as fluffy as an Irish lamb’s fleece. This morning we awoke to the finest Spring Day ever so you just couldn’t help walking with a bounce in your step as if you were dancing to a thousand Irish fiddles.

There’s no way you can escape St Patrick’s Day over here. One slogan I’ve seen promoting today’s festivities reads “For everyone has a little bit of Irish in them” and you’d believe it if you walked around the streets of Planet Big Apple today, full of green men and women, some of whom are not even aliens.

Of course the manner of professing it varies – head for the main parade area and it can range from bright green wigs (I’ll own up, I have one of those), very short female Leprechaun outfits (Superalien owns up to wanting me to get one of those) and the ubiquitous silly hats, green beads and shamrock sunglasses (because you need sunglasses a lot in Ireland).

In our “nabe” we’re perhaps a little more subtle so I aim for the “colleen chic” look. And I met plenty of smartly-dressed Wall Street Masters of the Universe walking their dogs this morning wearing shamrock-covered silk ties – the men that is, not the dogs. That said, even the dog accessory stores have jumped onto the Irish horse and cart and run an impressive line of shamrock doggy T-shirts and collar and leash sets.

I’d always resisted the St Paddy’s Day paraphernalia until we landed here. Back home it wasn't even a full holiday for us when I was growing up. Coming from the little corner of the Emerald Isle where you had to have your feet in one of the two religious camps, we would simply get a half-day off school so we could watch the Inter-School’s Rugby final. There were certainly none of the parades that have started to emerge in recent years but then again as Male Mini-me said on the way to school this morning – “Sure if you’re Irish you don’t need one day a year to celebrate - you celebrate every day!”

I think he may have had a certain type of celebration in mind and he’s not alone. The local freebie papers have been running articles for the past week on how to “survive” St Patrick’s Day as well as tips on how to hide your hangover from your boss the next day. Somewhat understandably, public consumption of alcohol is strictly forbidden during the parade itself so that is a true test for some given the march starts at 11am and was still going last year when I crossed it at four in the afternoon. Mind you, parade goers seem to be able to find the necessary moral courage to continue in the many pubs along the parade route.

As you can imagine in the land of choice, Irish-themed eating and drinking options are as varied as the hues of green in the Emerald Isle itself. What true Irishman could resist trying a corned beef and cabbage pizza or a bright green bagel (I had my first one ever this morning). This could then be washed down by a Shamrock Shake served only at this time by a certain well-known burger chain. 

Or of course there are the numerous alcoholic beverages being promoted for the big day ranging from the obvious traditional stouts, liqueurs and whiskeys to the more visually obvious green-coloured beers to the downright strange. I'd never heard of an Irish Cactus (a mixture between Irish Cream and tequila) nor an Irish Flag  - green crème de menthe, Irish cream and then brandy poured in order very slowly over the back of a spoon into a shot glass giving a perfect Irish tricolour.

Hopefully all the little green men and women who try these out will also have received the recent Happy St Patrick’s Day greeting from my car service. This wished us all a great day and then reminded us not to drink and drive but use their enclosed $5 off coupon to book a car home. I think they've found their crock full of gold at the end of the rainbow!

As a true green Irishwoman, it will probably come as little surprise to you all that I will not be partaking of the Parade festivities, nor quaffing stout nor whiskey, nor eating corned beef and cabbage. But I will be raising a glass or two at some stage in the day with friends and would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone this simple Irish wish.

As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction!

Happy St Patrick’s Day.
Creative Commons License by Caroline Eagles is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.