I took the above picture just over a week ago at the banks of the River Corrib, where it overlooks the Salmon Weir. The peacefulness of the scene struck me: the young man taking a break to enjoy the good weather, the view and the antics of the ducks, gulls and swans. This spot is well known to fans of the Galway Film Fleadh as it is right beside the Rowing Club, where many of the receptions during the festival take place.
I was in the city attending the demonstration at the Town Hall Theatre for the National Day of Action to support the arts in Ireland. I had taken a photo on my mobile phone and was attempting to send it up to Facebook to promote the event. A lack of a 3G signal frustrated me, so I did a quick tour of the block and came upon this vista.
As I was taking pictures I heard an “Excuse me,” in an American accent. I turned to see a short, cheerful man who carried a lovely crafted bag (I later discovered it was from Peru). He needed directions, and we fell into conversation. His name was Robert Martinez, a retired Department of Texas State Trooper and Special Texas Ranger.
We ended up talking for a couple of hours. We covered topics like history, travel (he’s a seasoned globetrotter), how he became a State Trooper in the 1970s, the Waco siege and even the film industry.
I found out that Robert’s nephew is Rico Rodriguez, who plays Manny on the TV show Modern Family. It was great to say, genuinely, that it was one of my favourite comedy television shows that came out of the USA last year. The show had just won a bunch of Emmys – deservedly so – including Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd. Rico’s sister, Raini Rodriguez, is also an actor and has appeared in a number of films at this point.
The only thing that Robert complained about was that there wasn’t enough rain during his trip. As a Texan he’s used to scorching summers, and he was looking forward to cooler, wet weather. I told him he didn’t have to ask for it because it would arrive soon enough, and on queue the rain rolled in the following day.
I love talking and listening to people because everyone is interesting. We all possess thousands of personal stories. One of the essential drives of the human condition is to impart those narratives to one another.
It’s how we traverse the gap between each other: we walk upon a bridge of words built in our imagination.