Feeling scarcely human this morning, I boarded the bus. I had arrived too late at my stop to call in for a vivifying cup of scald; which would help wake me up in preparation for the day. Without the caffeine infusion I was not firing on all cylinders.
Boarding the bus I made my way to my usual seat. I closed my eyes. My fellow passengers held no interest for me today. I had no inclination to eavesdrop on their conversations or wonder about their lives.
I am unable to sleep on the bus however. The journey is only half an hour so I’m worried that if I genuinely do nod off I will arrive at the end of the line which I can only imagine as even more desolate and post-apocalyptic than my own industrial estate of doom.
Feeling too tired and demotivated to read my book (current reading material is ‘The Temporary Gentleman’ by Sebastian Barry) I reached into my bag for my phone. I may as well fry some brain cells and use the Dubin Bus wi-fi to read some trashy showbiz gossip. I do like to keep my finger on the pulse of all things Kardashian after all (not strictly true but I will confess to a vague passing interest in the lives of these women).
As I was doing a quiz called something like ‘Only 2% of people will be able to name the capital cities of all these countries, and it will change the way you view the world FOREVER’ I heard a voice from behind me ask:
‘How do you log on to the wi-fi on this bus?’
The accent was Polish, the tone pleasant.
His South American travel companion replied with a clear explanation. I had dodged a bullet there. I was in in no mood for social engagement.
The voice continued.
‘I don’t generally like to be online while travelling to work. But sometimes I need to check the bus times.’
‘OK’ came the monosyllabic reply. This was clearly suspicious behaviour. Why was he chatting? Was he fully sane and sober?
I had moved on to a ‘Are you left brained or right brained?’ game on my phone.
‘Yes I generally cannot stand the way people are obsessed with staring at their phones all day long.’
‘Yes. Why won’t they engage with each other? Particularly young people – it makes me so angry to see them sitting like zombies and not talking to each other. They are so stupid. And so are their friends. Stupidity attracts stupidity after all.’
I glanced around. Everyone’s eyes were on their screens but everyone was listening – it was hard to avoid him.
‘People are so lazy and disinterested. It’s a real shame.’
By this stage I was reading an article about the 17 most ‘totes delish brunch venues’ in Dublin (because you are worth it) on some vapid lifestyle website.
The damned cheek of him I thought. Of course he is right. But to actually vocalise this in public in front of a packed bus, crammed full of people engaging in the exact style of behaviour he was criticising was unacceptable. At that hour of the morning I mean. I can’t bear sound before my first coffee of the day.
He proceeded to reel off a litany of events and situations that angered him – the price of everything in Ireland. No disagreement there. His work (he is a builder on a block of overpriced luxury apartments in Donnybrook involves night) bothers his sleep patters.
On and on he went. Until eventually I put my phone in my bag and just listened in for the rest of the journey.
I hope he is not going to make a habit of getting the same bus as me in the morning.