Wednesday, April 25, 2007

You wouldn't want to be sensitive

I jumped on a bus this evening. Paid my fare to the driver, who was studiously trying to get his finger up his nostril to the second knuckle, thanked the powers-that-be that bus tickets aren't handed to the passenger any more and sat down.

There was no-one else on the bus.

"Strange," thought I. "Doubtless there will be a rush at SuperValu."

The driver obviously thought the same, because he edged a little closer to the kerb at SuperValu. But no. The people there all gave that purposeful stare behind the bus so that the driver of whatever was bringing up the rear would know to stop instead.

At the hospital there was nobody at all.

Finally, in Tallaght Village, after not one sinner I.T student (lanky or otherwise) had boarded, even when he had opened the doors in hopeful expectation, the driver climbed out of his compartment and rolled up the number of the bus.

"Where are you going to?" he asked me from the aisle.

"Firhouse," I said.

"Do you mind if I just drive down the road and not bother with going up the other way?"

"No bother at all."

"There's another bus in front," he said. "Everybody's on it."

I thought this one over. Somewhere in front was a bus with 160 people crammed in, everyone on top of each other. Five minutes behind I was lolling about in an otherwise empty bus with a lonely driver. I strolled up the empty bus to chat to him. It seemed the decent thing to do.

"It's stupid putting two buses out at the same time," he driver said to me as I broke a bye-law by standing when there were 90-odd empty seats around.

"It does seem a bit odd," I said.

We finally bumped onto Firhouse Road. He let cars out of side roads with a grin. After all, he wasn't in a hurry.

"Actually, if you're not turning right, you can drop me off at the school," I said. "It's handier for me anyway."

"Works out well for both of us then," he said.

"Cheapest taxi I ever got anyhow!"

So I thanked him and hopped off a couple of minutes from my door.

"God bless!" he called after me.

Somewhere up the side road someone was probably wondering why the bus hadn't come.

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