Nov 09 2010

On a bus driving down Memory Lane, Dublin.

Published by at 7:56 pm under News

(Click on the photo to enlarge)

Do you remember years ago coming home from work in Dublin on the old green bus at this time of year? It was always packed with people who were soaking wet from standing at the bus stop in the lashings of rain. There was always a rainy smell off the people who had to stand in the aisle beside you, if you were lucky enough to get a seat that is. If you managed to get one on the inside you could rest your head against the window pane and nod off asleep. The vibration of the engine could be felt throbbing through the glass as it rocked you into a false sense of Noddy Land. You’d sit there smelling of dampness and hoping you wouldn’t snore out loud or miss your stop. There was always some oul one or ould fella yacking away up the front of the bus about something or other.  ‘Terrible weather we’re having, God be with the days when we had a proper summer…’. And on the odd occasion some drunk would land in the seat beside you and thinking he was as good as Frank Sinatra would start singing ‘Fly me to the moon…’ And you thinking to yourself ‘Why doesn’t someone fly him off the bloody bus and let me sleep’  The Bus Conductor would come along the aisle rattling a few coins in his hand in time to the singing. He’d more often than not bellow out ‘fares please’ with his ticket machine hanging around his neck like some prize medal winner at the Olympics. The poor unfortunate people who had to sit up front in the long seat facing down the bus always had faces on them as long as the seat itself. And what about the eejit in front of you trying to read the newspaper and he shoving it into the face of the young girl sitting in the seat beside him everytime he tried to turn a page. Sometimes if you were outside the Carlton Picture House in O’Connell Street waiting on the Cabra Bus you’d stand in behind the few people in the queue and as soon as a bus came along mobs of people would suddenly appear out of nowhere. You’d be in danger of being trampled to death. It was like a stampede of longhorn cattle in a John Wayne cowboy film. ‘Sorry luv but I was here first’says the oul one as she shoves her elbow into your eye. I used to hate it if I had to go upstairs on the bus. ‘Standing room inside only, plenty of seats upstairs’ shouts the Bus Conductor as he cowers under the stairs out of the way of the stampede. Upstairs was like an opium den from a Sherlock Holmes film. Smoking was only allowed upstairs. There was plenty of good old coughing and spluttering to be had upstairs on the bus and of course not to forget the ould fella spitting a ‘Gollier’ from the back of his throat out the window and not caring where it landed, ‘Get out and walk’ he’d roar after it as it sailed off into the darkness of a Dublin winters evening. Then you suddenly realise the drunk beside you has stopped singing and has fallen asleep with his head resting on your shoulder and the next stop is yours. Ah yes they were the good old days on a Dublin bus. And what about the Bus Inspector? I’d have my ticket squashed up in my clenched fist that was shoved into my coat pocket and I’d have a right struggle to get my hand out of the pocket because I was squashed in so close to the window. The ould drunk beside me wouldn’t move and give me room to get my hand out. And the Inspector standing there glaring at me as if I was some kind of fare dodger. ‘Have you got a ticket or not, I haven’t all day to be standing here waiting on yeah’. He’d be after roaring it all over the bus and of course some old busybody has to chirp up with ‘ They’re all the same nowadays these young people’. But you know I wouldn’t have missed it for all the tea in China, what a great education it was to travel on the ould green bus back in those days. Now you have to put your money into a machine and there’s no bus conductor only a driver and he never sings or whistles. They’re probably not allowed to because of some E.U regulation or something to do with health and safety. Give us back our ould green buses and the two man crew anytime is what I say.

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