Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Ahahahahahaaaaa, no, no it's NOT. And a Saturday afternoon in June is definitely not the time to be cruising the railroads. Although with all the catchy slogans, the Craig Doyle ads on the telly and the pictures of the Shiny New Trains on the Cork line you could be forgiven for thinking that surely it's always time to take the train. Now, I am not a big fan of public transport at the best of times [choruses of "What?" and "Really? Is she serious?" etc all round]. Being a seasoned commuter will do that to a person. Even so, I usually quite like rail travel: compared to being on a bus, it's infinitely less stressful [you're not sitting in traffic and, not to get all Derek Mooney on your asses, you can see loads of lickle bunnies in the mornings!] and definitely less likely to send you spiralling into the depths of claustrophobia.
However. Having attended an Evint and a few choice bars thereafter in Dublin on Friday night, I had occassion to Take The Train last Saturday afternoon. That train journey home was a bona fide nightmare, far worse than the state of the queuing system [a euphemism if ever I used one] at the ticket booths at Heuston; worse even than having to stand all the way to Port on the 1750 to Galway on a hot, sticky, clammy Friday evening when there's a chap on one side of you who isn't even on nodding terms with deoderant and a bird on the other with her iPod up so obnoxiously loud it's making your ears bleed. Saturday afternoon's trip was so bad that would have been head-wrecking even if I hadn’t had the teeniest tiniest little smidgen of a hangover; with one, it was just bloody unbearable and made me want to cut my own ears off with a blunt and rusty butterknife.
Allow me to give you the lie of the land, as it were, and explain just how hemmed in I was, on all sides, by Irritants; I think it's going to be the only way I can explain just how horrific the experience was. [And remember, children, I was hungover, make-up free, and very, very tired.]
Sitting in the "booth" behind me: three little madams from Tullamore. I’d say they were about 14 or 15 years of age and they gave these four [older] American tourists a load of hassle. The Americans had pre-booked their seats and, ergo, there were big signs on the seats to say they were reserved so of course the Tullamore ladies [ah, more euphemisms] disposed of the notices and plonked their ar*ses down in in the seats. When the Americans came along a few minutes later they said "Hey, I'm sorry girls, but you're in our seats. Didn't you see the signs?" and the Tullamorians [Tullamorons..? lol] were like "No, there was no signs, and anyways we're not, you can't reserve seats. Youse should have got here sooner", it was rather embarrassing. The main American woman [in her '50s or '60s!] was well able for them though, she was all "Oh yeah? Well our tickets have our seats numbers printed on them – these seat numbers – do yours? No? So you guys will just have to move". The brats did move, but they made a huge production out of it and my God the effing and blinding out of them was truly appalling.
Sitting in the booth front of me: four cackling Howyas who apparently hadn’t been out of The Big Smoke since their school tour to Mosney back in 1935. They had flasks of tea, a big sliced loaf (yes, seriously!) of Brennan’s finest, ham, cheese, and a load of King/Tayto/Hunky Dorys… "Ah jaysis ye can’t bea’ a crisp sangidge, wha'?"
Sitting in the booth across the aisle: three orange Oh My Gawdesses [seriously, do they not wash their hands after slapping on the Fake Bake?!] respledent in Juicy tracksuit bottoms, Uggs and Abercrombie hoodies. Flicking their stylised messy parted-way-too-far-too-the-side hair and rummaging through their D&G luggage, it was "OMG" and "Mom" [what Irish person refers to their mother as "Mom"?!] and "loike" and "I down’t think sew" a go-go.
Despite sitting within inches of the rest of their respective parties, of these people were absolutely roaring at each other at the tops of their voices. It would have been bad enough if they had all just been really loud, they were all, without exception, talking absolute sh*te. In addition, they were like part of a showcase for The World's Most Irritating Laughs™ and then, in response to something genuinely unfunny that one of their cohorts had said, tried to outdo each other with their best fake, unnaturally enthusiastic laughs. Which my hangover and I agreed was needlessly cruel.
Then, just as my head was about to implode, the Americans started to play cards very loudly [apparently, it can be done] and the stag party in the next carriage began lashing out every rebel song and football anthem they had ever heard at the top of their lungs.
And then the train pulled out of Heuston. That's right. They were all just getting warmed up.
Really made me appreciate the hush of my Monday morning commute, though...