Monday, November 28, 2005
I like to think that if a day starts well, it will mosey along happily on an even keel and end well, too. Generally, if I make it to the bus stop in time for the direct bus in the mornings, I have a pretty good day; by contrast, if I end up having to take a go-slow coach into the city centre [most likely sitting beside a dough person] and then a standing-room only bus out to work, I tend to feel poo-ey until I fall asleep that night.
Well, this morning’s episode did an admirable job of blowing that theory out of the water.
Things started exceptionally well – not only did I catch the bus I wanted, I also managed to make it out of the house without forgetting anything and had exact change for the busman, oh yes! – but I knew there was trouble a-brewin’ before I had even bought my ticket. The driver said to the girl boarding ahead of me: “Sorry, I’m new to this route; you wouldn’t mind sitting up the front there and giving me directions?”
Those are words no commuter ever wants to hear. Especially at 7.02am on a Monday morning. Especially when they are directed at some young wan who didn’t look overly impressed to be asked and half-mumbled “Eh, ok” in response.
The last time I found myself in this situation, I didn’t mind quite so much because:
(a) it was the first time I’d ever seen a bus driver need directions;
(b) I was heading to the library in college so wasn’t in any great hurry;
(c) the girl who advised the bus driver what route to take was someone I had spent six years with in school and never liked [she wasn’t so much a Janus as a six-faced wagon!], so I was inordinately pleased to see her make a complete b*lls of it and incur the wrath of several commuters who had to trek miles out of their way to get to work thanks to her idiocy.
Anyways, I decided to give The Young Wan the benefit of the doubt: perhaps her reticence to take on the role of navigator on the 126 bound for U.C.D. was all down to tiredness and the early hour rather than her lack of familiarity with the route. Maybe she knew the maze of one-way streets around St. Stephen’s Green like the back of her hand.
I need hardly say that she didn’t.
Things were going fairly smoothly until we got to the National Concert Hall. Usually at this point, the bus goes forwards through the junction at the NCH, hangs a left onto Leeson Street at the next junction, takes the next right and follows the road around and hey presto, it’s at Stephen’s Green.
Not so this morning.
This morning, The Young Wan sent us right at the NCH, then told the driver to take the next left along Adelaide Road. Now, I have never ever seen a bus take this route, but I thought perhaps she’s send him left again so he’d be heading down Leeson Street, back on track, and all would be right with the world.
But sure, that’d have been too easy! Too predictable!
Instead, she let him head straight down towards Holles Street Hospital on Fitzwilliam Street, aaall the way down, until he basically had no option but to turn left. He pulled up alongside Merrion Square and, on cue from The Young Wan, announced we were at Stephen’s Green
One of the other women on the bus chirped up at this point and he looked morto, went left around the corner of the park, up Merrion Street, across Baggot Street and stopped at Ely Place. At this point it seemed that anyone who had intended to disembark at Stephen’s Green decided to cut their losses and run! The Young Wan’s Reign of Terror had not quite passed, however. Rather than send the driver out to U.C.D. the traditional/normal/correct/quick/easy route [Baggot Street – Waterloo Road – Morehampton Road etc], she had him drive down Earlsfort Terrace to the NCH and on to Adelaide Road… again.
At least there was some variation at this stage: she had him turn right onto Leeson Street and on towards Morehampton Road, where we at last made contact with a road the bus had actually travelled on before.
When I was getting off at my stop, I asked the busman if he’d be doing this run again in the morning [he confirmed he would] and if he thought he’d be ok around Stephen’s Green tomorrow ["Eh, yeh probably"]. I told him I’d be on the bus in the morning, that I had got it just about every morning for the last 4 years and knew the route backwards, and that if he needed a hand to give me a shout. The response was a fairly relieved sounding "Right - thanks!"
Sticking my oar in like that isn’t something I’d usually do, but I'm actually good with directions and navigation and all that jazz. Oh, and I’m on the clock now. I can’t afford to spend an hour sniggering at eejits like The Young Wan who haven’t actually a bull’s notion of where the bus usually goes but refuse to admit it when I should be at my desk.
|Fig. 1: The route any normal person would take when circumnavigating St. Stephen's Green|
|Fig. 2: The Young Wan's, em, "alternate" route!!!|