When the slightly eccentric looking Blond Woman of a Certain Age sat down and started rooting in her handbag I was already ten minutes into the bus journey and was at the very end of the outer limits of my nerves. I had spent the day in my least favourite work activity -- trying to balance accounts -- and all I wanted to do was get home, get fed, and get sat in my favourite armchair in front of my favourite television programmes.
The scent of Vicks chest rub wafted over the bus passengers from someone down the back.
Blond Lady of a Certain Age lifted a bottle of Benecol to her lips and took a giant swig. Then she opened up a bank letter (Balance more than €5,000 I noted, over her shoulder) before stuffing it back in her purse. Then, unexpectedly, she started eating the segments of an orange out of a tupperware lunchbox.
It was a slightly spoiled orange of the type that lets off a faintly acrid odour but is nonetheless edible.
Then the coughing started from somewhere behind me. A man, with a cough like the call of a wood pigeon:
"Whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo! Whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo! Whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo!"
We all waited for the next "Hoo!" Nothing. There was a palpable sense of relief from those of us not listening through headphones to scritch-scritch-scritching music.
Only forty more minutes to my bus stop.
Next time I see that Blond Woman of a Certain Age I'm going to tell her to keep her oranges to herself. I'll probably get thrown off the bus.