Monday, 13 February 2012

Tales of the 41c.

Public transport, I love it. It's the people you meet, the things you see and the overheard conversations that I can't resist. Like the drunken lunatic mumbling away to himself on the 43, smelling like the local bottle bank after St Patrick's Day.  Or the junkie on the DART that pukes into a paper bag, then tries to throw it out of the window, misses, and floods the carriage with vomit.  He gets off at the next stop.  And don't forget the oul' wans on the LUAS chatting about poor Frank who's an alcoholic but allergic to beer, he breaks out in hives every time he has a drink.  Quote: "He can handle it, Josie, but his body can't."

So the other week when myself and husband boarded the 41c, I was only dying to eavesdrop on the conversations between the dodgey looking teenagers at the back of the bus. Teenage girl: "Alrigh' Dylan, did you get expelled?" Dylan: "Yeah." Teenage girl: "What d'ye get expelled for?" Dylan: (genuinely confused) "I dunno." So yeah I was leaning back in me chair picking up such gems as; "Don't burn me jacket, just melt the things hanging off it," cue smell of burning plastic and "She was screaming cos she wants to get pregnant so she doesn't have to go to school any more." All the while husband, who does not approve of my earwigging, throwing me filthy looks.

I'm really enjoying myself until something comes flying through the air and nearly hits a passenger across from me.  The group of teens explode with laughter and everyone else on the bus shifts uncomfortably in their chairs, staring dead ahead. So it happens again and this time it lands in the aisle. I look on the ground and see it's some plastic keyring thing with an elastic on it. Next thing an empty bottle of Yop whizzes past and hits the girl across from me on the shoulder. She flinches and people shift in the seats again but no one even looks back at these little scumbags.  I can't take it any more. I turn around and tell them to give it a rest and stop throwing things. They start screaming at me; "fuck you, ye bleedin' cunt. Mind yer own fucking business." "I'll come there and fucking kill ye." I turn around again and tell her to come right up, I'm not afraid of her. She's this tiny little scrawny thing that given the chance I could snap in two. "I fucking will, I'll put ye back in yer chair, bitch!" I ignore her.  They keep screaming. Husband turns round in his chair and stares them out of it. Silence. He stares for about ten seconds and there is total silence the whole time. He turns back and they burst out laughing. "Big, hairy man" one of them shouts.

Lovely, just lovely.
Before we know it, I'm being repeatedly targeted with their arsenal of empty Coke, Lucozade and Club Rock Shandy bottles. They piss themselves laughing all the way through the air raid. All the time my heart is beating faster and I am losing my cool.  Should I go down there and rip them out of it?  Should I keep ignoring them? Should I get the bus driver involved? A bottle hits me in the back of the head and I jump up out of my chair, march down the stairs and up to the bus driver. I tell him about the teens, he listens intently before pulling the bus in at the next stop and turning off the engine.  He gets out of his seat and jogs upstairs. I can hear him tell them to get off.  They scream and shout objections: "We didn't do ant'in" "It was all dem, dey did it, we said nutin'" before finally capitulating. But not without one last dig at my big hairy husband: "I'll fuckin kill you, ye bleedin' prick." He laughs back at them: "Enjoy the walk home."  They stand at the bus stop, yelling at the windows, giving the fingers to the whole bus. The driver pulls off while radioing the other buses telling them not to pick up the kids at that bus stop. I walk back upstairs to my husband. He smiles at me. Outside it has started to rain, it's really heavy, torrential; the kids will be drenched. We look at one another and howl with the laughter.


  1. The one rule of public transport I have is to never sit upstairs. I know that makes me an oul wan but if you sit upstairs you run the risk of being targeted by scumbags like you just described. That must have been horrific. I hate that you can't even get on a bus anymore without running the risk of being assaulted, screamed at or terrified. At the very least downstairs, you're nearer an exit and the bus driver might hear something going on without you having to bring it to his attention.

    My husband can fall asleep on the bus and regularly does, but I can't, ever, I'm always on edge. And I've been getting the bus every day since I was four years old (when I started school). I'm now 33 and I still can't relax on a bus.

  2. Ah stop - it's shocking. But I honestly believe that you have to stand up to kids like that. They just need a figure of authority or someone bigger than them and they shit themselves. I know people are afraid cos they think they run the risk of being seriously assaulted and yeah, my husband was a bit angry at me for standing up to them for that reason. But when I looked at them I knew they were all mouth, just 13 or 14 years old and thinking they were the shit. I knew as soon as the driver came up they'd be put in their box. No one should have to feel like you have described on a bus or any public transport.