It’s been a while since I’ve told a tale about my journey to work. This is nothing to be worried about. Each morning I still bravely face Dublin’s public transport system, and boldly go where thousands of others go with me – to the badlands of Dublin’s industrial estates. There’s a reason for my silence about my commuting adventures. You see, I have discovered that a forty minute bus journey is an opportunity for some extra sleep.
These last few months have seen me board my bus at my usual stop, head to my usual seat and have a snooze. Forty minutes is a decent length of time. I won’t fall properly asleep of course but I can gently lull myself into the day. Hence my awareness of my surroundings, my fellow travellers, and my observations of them are reduced.
There’s a dull cunning evident in how I take my nap. I close my eyes and tilt my head backwards marginally. I allow my mouth to loll open slightly, and my breathing is audible. If a stray fleck of drool appears at the side of my mouth, then so much the better. I don’t enjoy looking like a slovenly heap, but neither do I want to share a seat. Therefore I make a concerted effort to repel people from my vicinity. Were I to place my bag on the seat next to me, then this would (rightly) infuriate my fellow passengers who would ask me to move it. Feigning real sleep is a more effective deterrent for keeping people away.
Unless the bus is crowded in which case I surrender with grace.
It may seen anti-social of me (well of course it does because that is exactly what it is) but I don’t enjoy company in the morning. Personal space is limited on a crowded bus. The stupidity and ignorance of certain people can be breath-taking.
If I was oblivious to my personal safety, I would point out to certain French travellers that just because you are wearing earphones does not mean that the rest of the bus can’t hear your crappy taste in techno music. Or I would mention to Sweaty Jim that a daily shower is both healthy and hygienic. Maybe I would tell the sullen, squat Spanish woman with the roaming elbows, that a shrieking argument in Spanish each day is unfair. At least translate to English so I’ll get some enjoyment out of it.
Instead I stay quiet and try to discourage people from my seat.
Not today however.
The bus was late. The crowd boarding was larger than usual. I reached my usual seat. An elderly lady sat next to me. This was acceptable. She wouldn’t be listening to music and thankfully she didn’t fancy a chat.
As the bus was so jammed it was too uncomfortable to sleep. In any case the driver had the radio on very loudly. It was atrocious. It was a ‘comedy’ DJ duo from some Dublin station. They were that repellent kind of comedy, breakfast pair who think that being ‘zany’ is entertaining. One of them in particular. He was one of those excruciating Dublin ‘characters’ who thinks that speaking in a thick Dublin brogue about how ‘deadly’ things are is endearing. I wonder if he spoke like that at his media studies course in university? Or is this a recent affectation?
I listened in a slack-jawed manner at their inane conversation. Their ability to trivialise the world was terrifying. All I ask for from my morning DJ is silence. And maybe – on occasion – a segment of funeral style chamber music to match my mood. Not the spirit crushing banality of a breakfast show.
Why was this bus moving so slowly? It was crawling along a few metres every five minutes.
After about fifteen minutes the answer was clear There in front of us, surrounded by police cars was a truck that had been turning right at a junction without lights. The bike that was crushed beneath the wheels of the truck won’t be used again I suspect. I hope the cyclist was the gentleman talking to the police. He looked alive. The bike – not so much.
Finally arriving at my stop the annoying DJs had shut their moronic prattling for a few moments and were playing ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk. I don’t know why but it lifted my spirits.
Ready to face another Wednesday.