My bedroom window is approximately 10 feet above a Galway-famous Oscar Wilde statue.
Instead of saying my address, which the pizza guy never finds, I tell people my apartment is “by the Oscar Wilde statue.” What does this mean for my entertainment?
It means I overhear a lot of people talking to an inanimate object.
It’s actually an incomplete description to call it “the Oscar Wilde statue” – he shares his bench with another man of stone. But since nobody knows who the other guy is (read the damn plaque!), Oscar wins the title.
Fun fact: Oscar’s neighbor is actually the Estonian writer Eduard Wilde, confusing everyone greatly.
(“Who’s that?” “Oscar Wilde’s brother.” “Ohhhh.” No, no it’s really not.)
The statue, a 2004 gift from Estonia, is merely a replica of a statue in Tartu, Estonia.
Gee, thanks, Estonia?
But let’s get to the fun part.
In the steamy Irish summer, my window is open constantly. So I live a close life side-by-Wildes’-side. There is a regular schedule of tourists sitting on, photographing and pretending to talk to Oscar, but more interesting is what the Irish have to say to the man … er, statue.
After midnight, there’s a steady stream of drunk Irish people baring their souls to the bronze man.
I’ve recorded some of the things that come up in conversation here. They’re a little one-sided.
1. Irish friendliness. The most common thing said to Oscar is, of course, a simple greeting, as you’d give an old friend upon passing him or her on the street:
Note: “Wasacraic” is the slurred, drunken abbreviation of “What’s the craic?” which is the Irish equivalent to “What’s up?”
2. Appreciation of Irish literature.
*mumbled drunk response*
“No, that f***er there. That’s Oscar Wilde. He’s a known … uh … a uh …”
3. Feelings of inadequacy.
“Oscar Wilde, you quit judging me!”
Note: The voice was very drunk. It could also have been:
“Oscar Wilde, you quit touching me!”
4. Broken Irish hearts. They’re over it, honestly.
“F***ing bollocks! He was only Irish when it suited him! Ran off to London! He tried so hard to be English!”
And for good measure, in case some part of Galway hadn’t yet heard her, she then addressed Oscar directly in a downright scream:
“You f***ing decided when you wanted to be Irish, you bollocks!”
5. Drunk Americans. And, just for you, dear readers, a bonus American quip:
“Polly, ride his mustache hard!”
Life’s tough when you’re an Oscar Wilde statue.
Do you know how many times a day he has to listen to street performers play “Wonderwall”? At least I can close my windows, he just has to sit there and take it!
Poor Oscar. I feel for ya, man. However, I do subscribe to the canine view of a person’s worth.
And by that scale, statues are a bit worthless.
Though it does look like this little guy found a bit of use in Oscar on the last hot day we had.