It just dawned on me that today is the actual St. Patrick's Day. This invariably confuses me because Richmond does the St. Patrick's Day street festival on the preceding Saturday, and Baltimore does its parade the Sunday preceding, so unless the day happens to fall on the weekend I always think of it as having happened already. Since it is also a Monday this year it feels especially anticlimactic. I didn't even bother to wear anything green which I suppose is bad but I think I can get away with it since I actually do have some Irish blood and Patrick is my patron saint.
This always confuses people, who say "But your name is Daniel!" Why, yes, it is. Did it not occur to these people that I might have a middle name? It's the same when people find out I also have Austrian and Italian blood. "But Gibbs doesn't sound..." No, it doesn't, because it's English. Apparently these people believe that my father married his sister, or something. Chances are pretty good that my mother had a different last name before she got married. (She did.)
That said, I don't really get St. Patrick's Day. Every saint has a feast day. How has St. Patrick's Day turned into the biggest amateur night of the year? I think it's even supplanted New Years Eve, though Halloween may be giving it a run for its money. I get it if one really is Irish, but I doubt that applies to every last one of the binge drinkers. Of course, the Irish are known for their drinking skill, but so are Southerners. Then again not many Southerners are Catholic, so that sort of does away with saints' feast days. Except St. Patrick's Day because somehow everyone in the South becomes Irish for the day, even if ordinarily they wouldn't hire Irish people.
Does this imply that I didn't use the excuse for a day of partying? Of course not. My old friend H. was visiting from Baltimore so we did the traditional drinking tour of Richmond. This is an easy task since the city is fairly linear; you can literally start at one end (the East End) and work your way west, stopping at a variety of choice establishments along the route. It's a pleasant way to see the city and you can legitimately claim that you're being all cultural too, because most of the stops are close to something of actual historic interest. ("No, really, we're not here just to drink our faces off. We are studying the architecture of Church Hill and also contemplating the implications of St. John's Church on American freedom.")
That was Saturday, and I really did wear green that day. That counts, right?