I’m going to Wastelands, Wastelands


I have been negligent in recording my thoughts on my fellow bus passengers in recent times. There has been a natural turnover of regular passengers. People tend to follow strict routines in the mornings – and this extends to taking the same bus each day. As a result the same faces are visible on a daily basis. However there is a slight churn, and over a six months period the demographic will change slightly – people will move on to new jobs; children will move to new schools; methadone patients will receive different times for their recurring appointments. However it is hard to notice this while it is happening. One day you will suddenly wonder where that grouchy Spanish woman with the briefcase has gone to. Or the man with the nasal voice. Or where Beyonce and Bruiser have disappeared to (I hope in their case they have been housed, as it was only late in my acquaintance with them did I figure out that they were residents in a B&B as they had no permanent home).

So to keep you informed I have decide to do a brief introduction to some of my current fellow travellers in the mornings (the evening is less structured – I leave work at varying times so there is less consistency).

For starters there are the parents transporting their children to school. None of these possess Bruiser’s irrepressible effervescence and joie de vivre; or her husky eighty cigarettes a day voice but they are worth mentioning.

Firstly we have the young couple with an infant baby in a pink pram and a little boy of about six years old. They take it in turns to bring him to school. I like this couple. She has the most interesting head of fake hair. Unusually it is a grey colour, that hangs there like straw down to her waist. She is in her late twenties I would imagine, so I am wondering why her plastic hair extensions are so long and so grey. Perhaps the cheap dye has reacted with her shampoo and changed them from a bleached blonde colour to grey? Her partner is of a similar age and sports a fetching neck tattoo. There is a nice energy from both of them. Their son looks like Just William reborn – a bolshy, naughty little boy.

Then there is Fran. I have no idea whether Fran is her real name – she works in the building next door to mine and gets on the bus at the same stop. She is a stout woman not far from retirement, and looks like she is counting down the days until that date. She works three days a week, and gives off a sullen, aggressive vibe, as if willing fellow passengers to not even think of sitting next to her. People rarely do.

Then we have the Polish couple and their superhero son. They are both in their early thirties, and the son would be about five. Like the first couple they take it in turns to bring him to school in the morning. The son has a dazzling array of superhero tracksuits and Spiderman hats. The parents chat away to him in Polish, and he responds in kind. Until he sees one of his school friends when he instantly switches to English – the thickest Dublin accent I have ever heard.

Finally we have the guy who refuses to sit. He is a youngish professional in his thirties, who works in the wastelands. He boards the bus at the same stop each day; places his rucksack on the luggage compartment near the driver and then stands for the duration of the journey in the doorway of the middle entrance – even if there are empty seats all round. He’s quite attractive though so I don’t really mind the fact that he stands there preening for the entire journey.

Not that I stare. Since discovering the joys of snoozing my morning journeys have become a lot more pleasant.

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