Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A girl called Sombrero

Over the past few weeks in Dublin, these are a few exchanges I have heard between people, reminding me how important dialogue is in our writing and how much it tells us so quickly about the characters.


A train inspector among a group of us trying to placate a little lost girl:

Have you lost your mammy, sweetheart? Do you know your name? (She was lost, not an amnesiac, I thought to myself)

Girl: My name is Sombrero.

Train Inspector: Sombrero, but that's a hat........

Girl: That's me name..

Screeching woman across the road, a bean sidhe (Irish evil fairy) crossed with Jordan the page three model:


Mother and child are reunited but not quite in the Hollywood ending we onlookers hoped for.


At a newsagent counter, two elderly women buying newspapers:

Slightly older looking elderly woman to younger looking elderly woman:

I think I'll get you some flowers, they're lovely, what do you think?

Slightly younger looking elderly woman:

Don't bother, Ma, (she was the daughter, she must have been at least 70)
Sure you just put them in a vase and in a few days they'll be dead...... and then I'll just have to throw them out.............and clean the vase again and everything.

Stunned silence from the older looking elderly woman (and the rest of us).


Myself and my kids were in a very busy street in Dublin, renowned worldwide for it's friendliness, I might add.
We had just got off the bus and were organising bags, jackets etc so we got in an old lady's way:

Old lady:

The next time you come into Dublin, can yous learn how not to walk crooked, Jesus.....

Stunned silence from us, well, in fairness, we were not walking in an orderly way but really, we weren't expecting to be berated for it.

All these lines will be appearing in a short story by me soon and anyone looking for a slightly different leading female character's name, 'Sombrero' is all yours.


Old Kitty said...

Poor child!!! What a name!! Oh dear!! Well it sounds exotic and unique. LOL!!

These are great snippets of conversation - there's even a story or three with the flower/vase exchange - it's very telling!!!

Thanks for sharing these gems.

I can't wait to see them in all their glory in your story!

Take care

Fran said...

When there's a sudden rush of novels next year, all with a main character called Sombrero, you'll be to blame! Do people even THINK before they name their kids?

madamebutterfly said...

My daugther sends me lovely stories from snippets overheard in the streets of Dublin. Today she sent me this: "I was asked by an American how to get the bus to O'Connell Street from College Green. I pointed out she could walk it in less than five minutes - "Oh, I don't do walking." So she waited twenty minutes for the bus!"

Brigid said...

Old Kitty, I will work the little snippets into stories, still working on the Irish poet.

Fran, do you think that name would get by the publishers? Maybe if the main character was the daughter of a Spanish hat maker? It could work.

Madamebutterfly, I love that, such a mad mentality.
We passed by Trinity College yesterday, it's looking well and my 7 year old tells me he wants to go there, I'd better start saving.

Talli Roland said...

Ah ha ha ha! I loved these! Especially the Sombrero one. Who on earth would name a child after a HAT for god's sake?

Brigid said...

Thanks Talli, have I not introduced my two kids, Stetson and Deerstalker.......

Niamh said...

Bet that poor childs naming involved a lot of sangria, and a conversation that went.."well I called her that cos it woz the only thing he was wearing"... maybe I shoudnt have thought too much about that one! As for Stetson and Deerstalker!!!
But the mother daughter flowers exchange...there's something very interesting going on there... you have to write that one Brigid!
I loved these snippets - you couldn't make them up! Thanks for posting them!

Eileen said...

Very funny Brigid, love the one about the elderly wans and the flowers ! Think I have met that pair, they shop near to where I work !!!

Brigid said...

Niamh, you've left me with an awful image of some unknown character wearing a Sombrero, thanks for the laugh.
As for the two elderly ladies,
Eileen and Niamh,
I think I'll have to invent a story for them. Listen in, Eileen if you bump into them and report back to me.

Alexandra Crocodile said...

Poor child indeed! Sombrero... My god...

Theresa Milstein said...

Walking crooked? A child named Sombrero? The one who got f&@king lost?! There's nothing like snatches of real life for humor and writing fodder!

Theresa Milstein said...

And why do people even bother living? Every once in awhile, people will have to stick us in a tub full of water, we'll die after several decades, and then someone will have to clean us up and bury us? Waste of time, really.

Brigid said...

Alexandra, I know, mad, isnt it? Nice to have a visit from you.

Theresa, I think I have perfected the straight walking and we are heading into Dublin next week so I will report back.

I know, if you had that womans attitude, you wouldnt get out of bed in the morning, wonder what was behind that sad comment, recently bereaved maybe?

Ann said...

I think I will give the name Sombrero a miss, but thank you for wanting to share!

Great snippets. Look forward to seeing them reappear in future writings.

Anonymous said...

Rose asks "do Dubliners walk up straight?" At local child minder there's a boy (11yrs old now) with the moniker Sailor Teddybear!

Love the flowers - at cemetery Sunday lately i saw someone take the flowers she had brought with her away again to save her coming back to get them in a few days!

(just getting hang of this blog business so anon for now until I find a fitting name for myself)

Brigid said...

Hi Ann, I hope to find a spot for them somewhere.

Anon, Thanks for comment, that is a very strange nickname for a little boy, that is a story in itself,
are you my London anonymous?

Kimberley Miakdo said...

Leaving my name now - this is a test

Kimberley Mikado said...

sorry wrong spelling...