I am a commuter currently living in Beaumont. I have to commute by train and bus every day. I don’t know whether it’s the cold mornings sitting underneath the grey bus shelter, wondering if you should subtly slide to the left or right of the seat, to give the optimum distance between yourself and the person you see every morning yet have never spoken to. While both of you know that the face of recognition is on both faces on the seat so they have their side and of course you have yours. Or awkwardly avoiding pigeons at the Drumcondra station or carrying multiple bags onto public transport that has inspired me to write this article. Or maybe it’s the fact that if you have a lecture at 11 in the morning it requires you to wake up at 8:30. I feel it’s the waiting around at bleak desolate train stations or having the times of the trains revised or immediately recognising that dreary voice of the train announcement commanding you to ‘have your tickets ready for inspection’ or every single stop that you arrive at, having the stop name regurgitated in Irish.
You become so fatigued from either running for a train/bus or waiting for 42 minutes until the next one takes you home. You arrive into college, you try so desperately to keep yourself awake in the lecture from the train journey. It’s the packing the night before, making sure that you have enough food for the day, enough smokes in your packet, enough change in your pocket for additional food or a pint or enough money to afford the euro coffee in Londis. When there is a break in the lectures you feel somewhat lost because even though there is an abundance of meeting spots, mine for example is outside John Hume building while I smoke and with my eyes, follow the people walking past to see if I recognise them because on this campus, there’s no home for a commuter.
You begin to realise how filthy the trains and buses are yet you rest your face up against the old fashioned patterned seats. You feel that the train must be faster and then you realise that you have only gone from Maynooth to Leixlip Louisa Bridge, in what feels like half an hour. It’s the thought of getting up and waiting in traffic and knowing it’ll be the same when you are returning home, inescapable.
However commuting isn’t the worst all the same. It’s the little things such as seeing the sunrise over the turn stalls, the birds competing against each other for the smallest crumb on the ground and finally getting to the place you feel fully comfortable, home.