Friday, March 18, 2011

Kiss Me, I'm Irish

If you want to understand A-Mo, there's two things you need to know: St. Patrick's Day is important to me and I love supporting events in downtown San Diego. A third crucial principle is I love bringing friends together, be it for lunches, happy hours, parties, anything that gets people together and unified and laughing. I don't like a lot of things about my father, or knew him very well growing up, but from what I've heard I inherit that last trait of joviality and bringing people together from him.

Enter St. Patty's Day. My uncle who helped raise me is named Callahan. So an affinity for the Irish was developed early in life. It grew by a bazillion when I became interested in, and attended, Notre Dame. I met more Irish kids than you could shake a shillelaugh at and just got used to being surrounded by Quinns, McMahons, and Seamuses. It wasn't that Irish-American kids were different than anyone else, it was that one thing they introduced me to, even more abundantly than in our Colombian-Irish household, was a reverence for St. Patrick's Day.

And by reverence I mean March 17 was to be toasted, cheered, celebrated, and heartily consumed. Erin go braugh, party people!

So when the Gaslamp Quarter Association started hosting an annual "ShamROCK" event where the streets are carpeted green and music and beer fills downtown, I eagerly went. This was maybe three or so years ago and seeing all the green garb, much of it Notre Dame attire, got me pretty sentimental for undergraduate days in cold-ass South Bend, Indiana. Then of course I entered the current period of my life where I just seem to be blessed with a lot of amazing friends.

That's where it all converges. Continuing a tradition we started last year, although this year's crew was double in size, we met for happy hour at the Tilted Kilt - A-Mo in the House, Slick Nick, KRB, Rossi, Jules, Pablo, AndrĂ©s, Alison, Collen McEniry, Mike, Logan, Matsu, Colleen McDonald, Jonathan, Filmore Frank, Jonas "Brother" Gomez, Alex Aguilar, and what seemed like a cast of thousands. We drank green beer, watched March Madness, and laughed as McD provided buttons, shamrocks, and for me a flashing green bowtie.  A line of bagpipers passed through.

We then journeyed to the Gaslamp, with Shawny staying behind to talk to some hottie he knew. This is where the memories, and the group, always gets disjointed. We had VIP passes but the rude security lady said the line we got in was merely to upgrade a regular pass to a VIP. Some d-bag tried to cut us so I switched into a "crip voice" to make him feel bad. Is this Mardi Gras?

We got in but Frank, whose birthday it was, disappeared. Just like last year. We grabbed some beers and danced in the streets. Just like last year. Shawny came late and said he saw a random arrest at Basic, just like Golden did at ShamROCK last year. Jonathan Sandoval harassed Jules, who I formally met last March 17, for being a Padres and Aztecs fan and took her phone as a joke. But then he forgot he had it so we ended the night with a missing phone. Just like last...week (see Golden, Mardi Gras).

We rolled to the VIP tent and chilled there and saw Roberto Castro's (hot) sister, Maritza, who joined us with her friend, Dianna. Slick and KRB laughed on a couch and McD made like another Irishman, McGyver, as she extricated my wrist pass so we could help a friend in need. I also recall yellow, bouncing Vavi balls being stuck in my face.

At 11, the tent closed and we were thrust back into the streets. Marittza said let's go to Maloney's, so we followed but got separated, and Jono and Ivan got rerouted to a side entrance, and then just kept walking until they hit Fleetwood near the ballpark.  Jules and Pabs got divided somewhere else. MVPD - Slick, KRB, Rossi, and me - went in to Maloney's and had hideous jello shots. McD somehow wound up at the Hard Rock. The night ended and I saw a taxi, yelled "Cabs are here!" and fell into one.

It was my best St. Patrick's Day maybe ever. I have great friends. I love working downtown. Fighting Irish hoops are still playing and playing well. I just love this day. March 18 not so much.

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