I'm sitting at the lobby area of the adventure centre, realising how chronically addicted to the Internet I am when a cute-faced blonde girl in her early 20s wanders in, carrying a backpack. She says 'hi' breezily, as though we've greeted each other many times before, and heads into the reception office. She comes back out a minute later and sits down beside me.
"Do you know where the Sleepzone hostel is?" she asks.
"Um, I've never been there but if you go right out the gate and walk for about 30 metres there's a sign that says it's..."
"...a kilometre down the road on the left hand side." She's seen it, she knows. She continues unprompted, "I'm from Germany, I'm just here for a little while. I came over to see my boyfriend. Well, he was my boyfriend, we broke up."
"Oh, I'm sorry, are you OK?" Her outpouring doesn't seem to perturb me, probably because she sounds so very calm, in that way that Germans do.
"I'm fine, this is a good place to be alone and think."
She's right, Killary Harbour is a very fine place to be alone and think. But she doesn't really want to be alone at this moment in time.
"Do you smoke?" she asks, while rolling a cigarette.
"Yeah, but not this week. I'm here to supervise a group of students, I'm a teacher. I never smoke around the kids." I sound more resentful than I ought to, and she hands me the rolling papers and tobacco anyway.
"No, really." At that moment the resident sick kid approaches me and I quickly pass the contraband back to my new buddy. He's paler than a sheet and suffering from acid reflux. He needs to go home, and I need to accompany him at least as far as the train station in Westport. He hands me his phone, where his mother greets me at the other end. "Yes, hello Mrs. Bell...yes, I'll make sure he gets there in plenty of time for the train...yes, I've already called for a taxi..."
The German girl stands up, gives me the faintest of waves and walks out, on her way to Sleepzone, if not sleep. I wasn't the feckless, philosophical backpacker/up-for-anything outdoor pursuits instructor she wanted to talk to.
Though it's an easy mistake to make, to be fair.