Today has been a day of early starts and exercise. And a lesson in train etiquette.
The Dublin Bus strike is on-going. The drivers and management of the company are not even making eye contact with each other at the moment. They are studiously ignoring each other, while muttering under their breath how cheap and badly dressed the other one is. And claiming that they never liked each other anyway. Meanwhile 400,000 commuters need to find alternative means of getting to work.
Thus far I have been lucky, in that I have a colleague who doubles up as a neighbour. And she has very graciously offered to transport me to work on the days of the strike.
Not today however – she has taken the day off. How inconsiderate. What would I do? Where would I go?
The option of ‘working’ from home sounded appealing. Sitting in my pyjamas, drinking a bucket of tea and watching Jeremy Kylie – while sending a strategic email once an hour to show that I was ‘working’ sounded appealing. Thanks to my catastrophic organisation skills I had not installed the correct technology to do this. While it has now been requested, it will take a week to be ready. I had no choice but to haul my carcass to the office. Unless I took a day’s holiday? But that would be needlessly extravagant with my puny annual leave entitlement. I was going to have to go to work.
I arose at 7.38 – fifteen minutes earlier than usual and performed my morning routine at its typical breakneck speed. Toilet, shower, teeth, clothes, glass of water. And out the door in ten minutes.
Up to Connolly Station where I boarded the 8.08 train to Maynooth.
I planned to disembark at the station in my old stomping ground of Castleknock. A plush suburb of bitter memories and resentment.
Try as I might, I couldn’t envisage Flatenemy and I running towards each other, arms outstretched, across a beach, in slow motion, with white satin sheets billowing around us. To the soundtrack of a 1980s soft-rock, power ballad. This will never be a reality.
And for that, I am grateful.
As the train pulled into the station, I started scrabbling for the button to open the door. I knew it was there somewhere. It had to be? Unless the door opened automatically. I have not taken a train since I left Holland – tram and bus is my chosen means of transport. My attempts took on a slightly frantic tone. Surely this simple task wasn’t beyond my capability?
Apparently it was. The hordes of people behind me were getting antsy, waiting for me to complete the complex task of finding the button. You could sense the anxiety rising from them.
‘Will the door not open?’ said some tyrant behind me.
A flop-sweat formed on my brow.
‘Step aside please’ said the gentleman behind me, tapping my shoulder. I did so with a feeling of mortification. And Green shiny ‘OPEN DOOR’ button materialised. Hidden behind my stylish man-bag. I bounced off the train, my face a pulsating tomato red.
I walked the sixty minutes to my office telling myself, all the while, that I was a high-flying business leader. Who has staff to do menial tasks like opening doors.
I almost convinced myself.