I've been to a few places in the world. Mainly North America and Europe but I have thrown in a little of Asia on occasion. This is not to brag and to tell you how well traveled I am; for an expat I am not well traveled at all. Most of my other expat friends go on weekend romps around the continent and a few have gone down to Africa for their holidays. So, when I say I've been to a few places in the world I actually mean few.

In my limited experience there is no other type of people like Americans. This isn't a bad thing. Not at all. I love Americans usually. My son and I are both Americans -- what's not to love? We are loud (we are, don't deny it), we insist on getting what we want and, generally, we are incredibly polite people, NYC notwithstanding.

It's mostly a desire to get into someone else's business or a want to tell them what you know about any given subject that I love. I know I do this myself. If a friend is talking about something and I am aware of a little factoid about said subject I MUST TELL THEM IMMEDIATELY. I can't help it. I have to blurt out my little fact.


And they look at me and are all, um, weren't we talking about the economic rise of eastern Europe during the western recession? And I'm all, yeah, you don't see the connection?

So, there I was in Dunnes with Mister Man getting a few bits and pieces together for dinner. Because after 10 months home with a child I'm finally domesticated. Shame I'm going back to work in 27 days, eh?

We're in the baby food aisle because I'm always looking for a new, healthy, sugar, preservative, FUNNY STUFF FREE food for James to eat as snacks during the day. He is sitting in the cart and has been trying to chew on the metal key that hooks into another cart so there isn't a cart stealing movement on Dublin's southside. All he wants to chew on is this piece of dirty metal and even when I'm holding it in my hand and trying to distract him with the other billion toys I brought with me grocery shopping, he only wants this gross thing that I'm convinced will instantly give him polio.

As I'm once again tearing the thing out of his little hands I feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn around there stands a large, badly dressed woman. She waves at Mister Man and turns to me and says:

"Did you know that they sell toys that are made of tags specifically so children can chew on them? You should look it up. I have a friend who makes them in Malahide. Google 'Taggsy'".

You see what I'm saying, now? Butted right in there with a little tidbit of useless information just for me! I could see if maybe Mister Man had given up his assault on my closed fist and decided to take interest in a tag (on clothing? on a toy?) but, since he was throwing his hissy fit because of a piece of shopping cart, I couldn't see the connection so I looked her appropriately, like I had no idea what the hell she was talking about, and she continued:

"He's playing with the click because he likes how it's long, thin and wide, like a tag. If you give him a Taggsy, he wouldn't do that."

With a nod of my head and a smile I walked away thinking Irish people are fucking nuts, until I realized that she wasn't Irish at all; she was American. How do I know (besides the cowboy boots and chaps)? Because when she said 'long' it came out "lawng". Hello, New Jersey!

I had to stop myself from yelling "DID YOU KNOW THAT MONOPOLY WAS INVENTED IN NEW JERSEY?"

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Liz in Dublin