He told me that he liked my camera.
I told him that I liked his shiny blue helmet (not purple, thank fuck for that!)
And from there on, we chatted for the 25 minutes necessary for the Dart to crawl its way from Pearse Street station to Salthill & Monkstown.
A very entertaining trip it was.
He told me that he was from an old (aristocratic – I filled that bit in) French family: de La Roche
I told him that I was from a very recent Irish family. He laughed. I laughed. We conversed. Mostly in French (he did adapt quite rapidly to the tutoiement which I immediately imposed if we were to speak in the tongue of Moliere and… erm… Patrick Sebastien).
We discuss James Joyce’s Ulysses, and the merits of Valery Larbaud’s translation, and then he knew I was not one of those Bloom’s Day frauds but had actually read the book. Twice in English, once in French. And he was not bullshitting about his knowledge of French. He can speak the language fluently. In a very touching last century academic sort of way.
Talking about touching, I bailed out to retrieve my own bicyclette (his can be seen here in the background) when the “real” side of the Vico was mentioned, and an invitation to join some (possibly men only – and naked only) Joycean society was extended. I politely declined. I enjoy my Joyce (only a few passages) privately. I enjoy my photography privately (the thought of a camera club makes me break into a sweat). And I enjoy swimming at the Vico bollock naked only when I am on my own.
Perched up high.
Silent and skinny.
Eager and scrawny.
Surveying the landscape for a sign of weakness.
With one thing on his mind.
One thing only.