Sunday, November 02, 2008

Mind The Gap

The train was filling up. Praiseach de phótairí strewn about the carriage, spreading legs and luggage across the seats in an effort to secure some space for their hangovers. Morning-after-the-night-before gaeilgeoirí. The worst kind.

She blustered onto the train at Mala, and the other passengers averted their eyes. Mine, however, were fucking glued to her. Mad, brassy burgundy coloured hair, denim jeans and a fringed denim jacket, she was all rhinestones and righteousness, looking about her like she wanted to batter the face off the next one who looked crooked at her. So I swept my handbag into a cuddle on my lap and nodded at the seat beside me. She looked grateful, and a little like she might bite me. Once she'd settled, the natter kicked off; each episode illustrated with photos from her camera phone. I'm pretty intimately acquainted with her domestic situation at this stage, everything from her ma's fibroids to her dog's gluecoma. He has a good heart though, she tells me, so he'll live for ages with it. He just keeps walking into things. I know people just like that, I tell her. She makes me smile all the way to Thurles, this pavee lackeen, and leaves me with a hug and a thank you. For what? I asked her. Nothing, she laughed, and she barrelled back out through the carriage with the same fonn troda on her that she had when she stomped in.

I think I fell a little in love with her.

As the train pulls away from Thurles we pass acres of flooded farmland. There are sheep standing in grumpy little clusters atop the hillocks that punctuate the dreary landscape. A pair of swans glide majestically across the submerged pastures, looking for all the world like they own the place. I stretch out and slip my headphones on, pleased that for the next two hours I can idle in daydreams. There are no more stops until Heuston, so I cast my thoughts adrift again to paddle across the sodden plains. More swan than sheep.


Primal Sneeze said...

Every pavee lackeen on a train or bus is just trying to "crush on to her kinnyeh" and, being outnumbered, avoid confrontation with us "farmers".

One-on-one there can be bonds, but as communities I doubt we'll ever be as one. It's a strange feeling when there's a brief bonding - not at all like that with a foreigner next to you on train who likes the same music.

Conan Drumm said...

Rosie the 'buffer', and where better than on a train. And gluecoma's a brilliant new word.

Rosie said...

i liked her, she was warm and she made me laugh.

especially with the image of the poor milky-eyed dog in a bostik-induced slumber.

Holemaster said...

I saw the real Pavee Lackeen on my bus last year with her mates. "Wow, a film star" I thought to myself. She still lives in Ringsend in a caravan with her Mam.

Gluecoma - Stuck Asleep.

Oh and sheep hate the rain, makes them very heavy.

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