In the Irish town of Recess, there is a monument that proclaims: “On this site in 1897 nothing happened.” I've never visited Recess during what has essentially become biennial excursions to Ireland; I've only passed by during bumpy bus rides from Galway to Clifden and back. Nonetheless, the monument articulates a perfect emptiness that I find intriguing. I'm a father of five, so there's a keen appreciation for those rare instances when domestic life lurches to a magic marker-stained, crumb-ridden halt and nothing truly happens. On the other hand, I understand how much that emptiness stings when there was hope that something — nay, anything — would happen. Or similarly, how about when something was expected to happen, yet something else does entirely?
I'm in Ireland — the Diamond, Donegal Town, County Donegal, to be more precise — considering this very question, particularly in relation to cosmic-level matters, when my friend's libido pointedly interrupts. He's closed a deal with a Waterford lass — after purchasing them a case of Buckfast, agreeing to watch a Colin Farrell flick, and yawning through a lecture on the core strengths of socialism — but now suddenly she's hedging. Paddy (all names have been changed to protect the lecherous) has great expectations for this evening, but they're about to vanish in the sharp, peat-scented air. “Dude,” he says, a simple expression that serves many purposes for Paddy; at this very moment it's a plea for help. Somewhere, the stonemasons are readying their chisels; “On this spot in the Diamond in the year two thousand and such-and-such nothing happened.”