Archive for the 'DART' Category

May 03 2011

We Never Grow Up

Published by under Blog,DART,Story

Two old ladies, chatting at the DART station. Very old – well into their seventies. My eavesdropping required no covert behaviour. Whether through declining hearing in their decaying years or just a complete disregard for social ettiquette, they were loud enough to hear from about 20 feet away.

These well-to-do aul’ wans were discussing a mutual friend, one they seemed to have both known for a significant number of years. While I picked up no names, their inflexions and tones on each “he said” and “she said” made it easy to decipher the individual “he’s” and “she’s”.

At the moment I picked up on their less-than-clandestine conversation, aul’ wan A (let’s call her Ann) was saying that she had enough of “her” (the mutual friend’s) behaviour. Aul’ wan B (shall we say Barbara?) completely agreed. Ann’s annoyance grew as she spoke of the mutual friend’s recent gallivanting.

Ann: “I saw her up dancing in the Grand last Sunday. And she a married woman.”

Barbara: “Sure, she’s always been the same. Do you not remember back in nineteen sixty-something when she was with yer man? She knew then I had a thing for him and she didn’t care. Why would it be any different now?”

Ann: “She’s a hussy. It’s no way to be behave.”

Barbara: “Well, I’m having no more to do with her. I’m cutting her out.” (this is honestly what this woman said)

Ann: “What do you mean?”

Barbara: “I’m not speaking to her. I’m not even going to look at her. I’ll walk by her if I see her.”

Ann: “You’re dead right. I’m not talking to someone like that. I’ll cut her off too.”

Two elderly women behaving like bitchy teenagers – I could only smile in disbelief.

I’m beginning to think their no such thing as ‘growing up’. It’s just a phrase that adults use to make themselves feel better.

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Nov 12 2009

He Listens For The Footsteps That Would Follow Him Around

Published by under Blog,DART

We slip in and out of peoples lives everyday. Sometimes our effect can be profound, sometimes slight, sometimes we go unnoticed at all. But we’re there. We cross paths with the world and don’t even realise that for the briefest of moments, we are a part of these peoples lives.

I think about that quite a bit. But never more so than when I’m sitting on the DART on the way to work in the mornings. It’s fascinating to watch them all.

Just think about this – how vast is your life? Think about all the years you’re on this planet; think of all the things you’ve done, you’ve thought about, you’ve been involved in; think about all the things you did in school, in college, in work; think about all those nights out, the gigs, the movies, the shows you’ve been to; think about all the people you’ve met this week, last week, last month, last year. It’s truly epic in scale. And that’s just your life. I look around the DART and see about 50 other people on this carriage alone. Each and every one of those people have had similarly vast lives. Mindblowing stuff.

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Jul 28 2009

The Oddballs Are Out In Force

Published by under Blog,DART,Story

The oddballs are out in force this morning. The DARTs have been getting quieter and quieter in the mornings, and therefore less eventful. Occasionally, we find our eardrums accosted by Spanish students on their way to a tour of Dublin’s sites, but mostly it’s just me and dwindling numbers of half-recognised faces ignoring each other, staring blankly out at the sea or buried deep in our books, phones, laptops.

This morning, had the sun not been shining in the sky I would have assumed it a full moon. We begin with Mr. Touch. I watched him board. He gently caressed the door frame. He did not just tip his hand off it or hold the frame for support. He ran his fingers and hand along both sides and the upper part of the door frame, as he stepped onto the train. Then he stood. He looked around the carriage. As I mentioned, it’s very quiet these days, so he had his pick of seats. I didn’t see what he was waiting for. Then he reached out and grabbed one of the bars people use for support when standing. With both hands he rubs the bar up and down, up and down, up and down. More than just me was staring, bewildered at this man’s disturbing ritual.

As he moved forward into the carriage I could see he was wearing trousers that were a few inches too small for him, odd socks (black and white) and a t-shirt that was about 4 sizes too big for him. It draped on him like a poncho. His jacked was old – it was a rain jacket, black and shiny. His telescopic glasses looked like they could identify individual grains of sand on the moon.

He finally chose a seat. Not beside me, thankfully, but in the next set of four seats. As he sat down, he touched everything. Again, he rubbed and caressed. His chair below his ass, the back of his seat behind him and then the wall behind him before settling on the window. For two stations, he just sat there head down, rubbing the window. A woman sitting across from him looked very worried – perhaps concerned that he might start rubbing her. He did not. Perhaps she wasn’t the right texture for him.

At Dalkey, another odd gent got on. He was elderly, but probably not as old as he looked. Short, extremely skinny and with two bugged eyes that more or less held banners out in front of him proclaiming “I am strange”. The banner toting eyeballs did not lie. He sat directly behind me, opposite a woman who was so engrossed in her copy of Let The Right One In that she didn’t even notice him sit down.

He immediately began apologising to her. Now, as far as I could see, he had not done anything to apologise for. He didn’t bump into her or knock over her bag, so she was understandably startled by his sorries. He kept saying it – “I’m very sorry, I’m sorry ma’am, I’m sorry, I’m very sorry” and she was baffled by him. She tried to calm him with her own incessant “it’s fine, it’s fine, don’t worry, it’s ok”, but it did no good. Eventually, he just quietened down. The apologies became a dull murmur and then a faint whisper and then they were gone.

But sadly for the young woman, that wasn’t the end of it. He quietly said, “excuse me ma’am, excuse me ma’am”. She had no choice but to respond. He was very quietly spoken and I couldn’t make out what he said. Neither could she it seemed, at first. I heard her say “oh, Sydney Parade? Yes, I’ll tell you”. Presumably he had asked her to let him know when he reached his stop. This was followed with another minute-long tirade of “thank you, thank you, thank you very much, thank you ma’am, thank you”. This too eventually dwindled and tapered off.

At Sydney Parade, she did her duty and told him it was his stop. He immediately began a new set of thank you’s and as the train pulled out of the station, we could see him staring back at her, still mouthing the words – “thank you ma’am”.

Is it a full moon tonight?

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