An Spailpín Fánach is seldom a man to attack reading, that most wonderful and endlessly rewarding of hobbies. This evening, I am making a very special exception.
I took the above picture a little after six o’clock tonight. Sleet and snow arrived in the city this evening – great flakes of snow that melt immediately on impact and that leave you drenched and freezing in seconds. In the ten minutes it took me to walk from the office to the bus stop I was soaked, perished and eager to get somewhere warm.
Dublin Bus, however, had other ideas for me.
There was a queue of maybe ten people waiting for the bus. There were two buses at the stop. You’ll notice that the lights are on in the bus in the picture, the engine is running and the radiators are on. Did the driver open the doors to let the people on? No. He did not.
As far as he was concerned, the people waiting IN THE SNOW could damn well stay there. Eventually, once his thirst for literature was sated, this constant reader switched off the out of service sign, put up the correct number and opened the door.
You see, even though the “Out of Service” sign was lit, the bus was not “out of service” at all. It was the driver that was out of service. He was going to read his buke and anyone out in the cold could damn well stay there and catch ever damn type of pneumonia going. He didn’t care.
And do you know what puts the tin hat on it for me? He’s only starting the damn book. It’s not like Rudolf Rassendyll is facing a final, deadly showdown with the inexpressibly evil Rupert of Hentzau in the dark dungeons of the Castle of Zenda and this bus driver can’t wait, just can’t wait, to find out what happens next. He’s just acting out of principle, and that principle is that any Dublin bus driver can do what he damn well pleases and nuts to commuters freezing in the snow. Isn’t that why Joe Hill was shot, so Dublin Bus drivers wouldn’t have to suffer torment and slavery by opening the doors on a bus before they're good and damn well ready?
An Spailpín Fánach has edited the pic as I don’t want to personalise this about the driver concerned. He might have only just learned how to read for all I know, and can’t get enough of it. But everyone involved in fostering this culture in Dublin Bus, the culture that says the drivers do what they damn well like when they damn well like and only if they damn well like ought to be deeply ashamed of themselves.
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