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Off the top of my head, natural (Johnny Ketchum)

Irrational Exuberance
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I'm home, jet-lagged beyond belief after 12 days in Dublin and London. Normally, jet lag isn't a problem for me on the east-to-west leg, but this trip took, door-to-door, 23 hours. We flew from London to Dublin to Kennedy Airport in NY and drove home, although there is a daily flight from London to Baltimore that would have taken less than half that time.


Well, because someone in the traveling party of two (not me) has an irrational fear of terrorism and did not want to fly British Airways out of London.

No complaints. Indulging irrational fears is, I have decided, essential to having human relationships. I have an irrational fear of burglary, which is why there was no whisper of this trip before I left. Because, of course, burglars are all over the Internet, looking for information about houses that will be left vacant for a week or two. Our first night away, I had a nightmare about a break-in at the house, in which all my clever schemes for hiding things of value -- which, of course, I'm not going to detail here -- were for naught. (But let me just say, for the record, the burglars of South Baltimore don't know what they're up against. Here in my household, we have repeatedly thwarted and chased the burglars of South Baltimore, through streets and alleys, sort of like Nancy Drew and Ned Nickerson, although never in connection with crimes committed against us, not yet, knock wood. So far, we've just been avenging crimes and almost-crimes against our neighbors. And, okay, a car break-in of one of our guests AS WE WATCHED FROM AN UPSTAIRS WINDOW. It was, "Oh and here's the view . . . what is that guy doing next to your car . . . OH MY GOD HE JUST KICKED THE WINDOW IN!" That was a fun night.)

This was my second trip to Ireland, my fourth IIRC to London. Much to our surprise, a good chunk of it was social, with lunches and dinners and drinks with people from our work lives who have migrated into our personal lives. This included seeing two actors, Dominic West and Clarke Peters in, respectively, Rock 'n' Roll and Porgy and Bess. Both were extraordinary, but Clarke as Porgy was really something to see. As one reviewer noted, it may be the first production in which it makes sense for Bess to choose him over Crown. All around me, women were weeping.

Also all around me were twenty or so boys, ages 11-13, from a local school. Initially, I was a little nervous about this, but the boys had beautiful manners and were veteran theater-goers. We talked before the curtain went up and they asked why we were attending this particular production. I explained that we knew the actor playing Porgy. At interval, one boy assured us solemnly: "Your friend is quite good."

It was one of the best trips of my life. But is there any bed better than one's own, any place better than one's own neighborhood, even when it is relatively dowdy and trash-strewn?

Your own travelogues or irrational fears after the jump. (Don't even get me started on submarines, which upset me so badly I can't watch Das Boot.)

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