Friday, October 13, 2006

Grumpy Old Women

Red Mum

I WAS up early this morning, 5.45am. I don't do early mornings well but I had to catch the 7am train to Cork for work. The early start was made even worse by the fact that I didn't get to bed until about 1.30am.

It wasn't my intention to stay up so late but I had many phonecalls from both Tetra and Anna who had both earlier told me to get to bed. Each time they rang they would say 'Are you STILL up?' and then we would chat for too long.

When I finally dragged myself out of bed, I was absolutely knackered. Luckily everything went smoothly, my taxi arrived five minutes before time and I was well on time for the train. Everything was going so well so far, except for the fact that under my tired exterior was a grumpy old woman waiting to moan out.

Heuston Station - 6.30am
Heuston Station - 6.32am

Heuston Station

The first taste of things to come came after I took a seat in the first carriage which was empty and realising I had 20 minutes before the train left I went outside to the platform for a ciggie. As I stood there having a smoke and snapping some snaps I realised this man had gone through the whole empty carriage and planted himself down in the seat opposite me. He opened up his laptop taking up most of the table and got himself comfy with earphones.

This is so wrong in many ways not least the unwritten social interaction rule where you sit as far away from the person boarding ahead of you public transport. You know this one, Desmond Morris talks about it, one person boards a bus at the back, the next at the front and so on until the bus fills up. (I've tried unsuccessfully to find a link to this but here's Desmond himself.)

I would have no problem with him sitting beside me if the train was getting full but this carriage was empty. So I harrumped, grabbed my bag and coat and got another seat. What I should have done is insist on taking the window seat beside him, making him get out of his seat and sat at his side looking directly at his computer screen that would have made him as uncomfortable as he made me.

Now in my new seat as soon as the train set off, I phoned the Young Wan to get up and get ready for school. It is annoying that I still need to get her up kicking and screaming from bed, but such is life. So while I felt like I could doze I couldn't until I was sure she had left for school and wasn't sitting sleeping on the sette.

By this time it was 8am and I finally rolled up my coat neatly, placed it between the window and my head and tried to sleep. The new Cork train is quick and kinda comfy if you are sitting up straight, but it was hard to grab forty winks. However I perservered and dozed off.

Coming into Thurles - the calm before the storm

Until we hit Thurles that is when the basket ball team from Presentation school got on, hooping, screaming, cackling loudly. I could have happily throttled them all, one by one, slowly.

I huffed and puffed and got all annoyed each time the decibel levels rose until I could take it no more and I got out the ipod and turned it up to drown out the girly glee.

Sleep was now impossible and I wasn't a happy bunny at all. By the time they got off at Mallow they were quiet listening to their own MP3 players and chatting quietly.

On the way home on the 5.30pm train (not the lovely fast train) I couldn't get a seat that wasn't pre-booked so I headed into the dining car and took a seat among the other travellers who were also chancing their arm. And we were not told to move along, fantastic.

I got chatting to an older couple talking about how lovely Cork is, the new train and all sorts of things. And unable to help myself I told them of my grumpy start to the day.

Off we headed and when we got to Mallow, guess what? All you hear was a gaggle of school girls boarding the train behind me. I turned swiftly around thinking 'no way', the man from the couple looked at me inquisitively and it was them coming home.

He asked me 'is that them' laughing I said 'YES' when they all piled into the dining car. But feeling less grumpy than earlier and guilty for feeling grumpy in the first place I caught the eye of one of the team who had been sitting opposite me on the morning train and probably bore the brunt of any dirty look and grumpy sigh that emanated from me and said 'hiya'.

And very nice she was too because she said hiya back. I asked them 'did you win', guessing that they must have been to some kind of tournament and they did. So well done Presentation School from Thurles and sorry for being an auld kill-joy and credit to you for being so polite and lovely in the face of such grumpiness.

I'm sitting now writing this with a glass of wine, a sore shoulder, and a weight of tiredness on me (so apologies in advance for any glaringly obvious typos, I can barely think) AND I am working again in the morning so that means no lie-in till Sunday :(

I think the Beastie Boys had a song about that.

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topgold said...

I used to connect to Thurles from Heuston four days a week for two consecutive years. I always kept a tenner that guaranteed me the serenity of first class. On many mornings I boldly sat down in first class and was never challenged for even a basic ticket.

Then I bought a set of etymotic earbuds. You hear nothing with them, even when they're not connected to a playback device.

Then I discovered podcasting and I haven't been bothered by the chaos of public transport ever again.

The earbuds died one year after their first use but their noise-cancelling characteristics work grand.

There should be a blog just about public transport in Ireland.

RamblingMan said...

i attract the hoardes of teenagers that plagued you on the train - those, and if its Friday, any party of drunken, foul mouthed ladettes from wherever are sure to congregate near me !