It’s all about the journey

Living in the countryside, I often forget that it is possible to take the bus to literally anywhere. I was chatting to a lady last week who told me her husband got from Arva to New York without having to hitch a lift anywhere. Arva to Cavan via the local link, Cavan to Dublin airport using the X30, Dublin to New York and then to his final destination by bus with a small bit of walking to the doorstep. Unfortunately not possible in the early hours without a small bit of help.

I write this sitting in front of my laptop in Brussels. I arrived here on Saturday morning at around 10am. I started my day at 1.30am that morning, rolling out of bed and going to summon my brother who agreed to take me to the bus. We get on very well, but we are polar opposites. In the mornings, I am bouncing around, it took me half an hour to get him up.

My bus was leaving at 2:40am, and they don’t hang around at that time. Also on my mind, especially considering he has an attic room, was the wind howling outside as a result of Storm Betty. All the possibilities were running around in my mind - trees down, floods, etc. Eventually he joined me down in the kitchen, looking at me through one eye as he pulled on a shoe, got a drink of water and headed out the door to start the van. I kid you not, he was doing all of these things at once. I am always in admiration; I need at least 45 minutes to get ready. He takes five. Despite all my shouting, he was sitting in the van waiting for me, seats heated and all.

Although we saw some signs on the road warning us of an accident, we didn’t see anything. We chatted the whole way in, both fully awake now. I don’t know about other brother and sisters, but our talks go from travelling to complaints of no food in the fridge (which there is), work, friends and just general messing and laughing. As we got to Cavan, he asked what time my bus was at. I told him it was at 2.40am, we were about 10 minutes early, to my delight.

“Do you want me to run you up,” he asks.

“Absolutely not,” says I, already feeling guilty that someone had to run me into Cavan at that hou of the morning.

He has a thing against buses. I did too before moving to Brussels, I was very anti-public transport. And no, it wasn’t snobbery. I was genuinely too lazy to figure out the bus timetable, where to get the bus and then dealing with it not coming was just a nightmare. Plus, I always had to get someone to bring me from point A to the bus station, and why would I put someone out when I can just drive myself? This time however, I would have to leave my car in Dublin airport at a cost of €241 (an average of all the carparks on Friday morning) as opposed to a return bus ticket putting me €14.30 out of pocket, minus the hassle of getting luggage to the airport and I sometimes forget to take note of where the car is parked – no judgement, we’ve all been there.

At the roundabout coming what we call the back way into Cavan (Kilmore cathedral side), he didn’t get into the left lane for the station. Instead, he headed out towards The Hard-Boiled Egg café.

“Where are you going?”

“Ah sure I’ll run you up,” he said.

Despite my protests that diesel is not cheap these days, he continued on out the N3.

That was that, he drove me to the airport. To be honest, I was delighted. Not because I didn’t want to get the bus, in fact I would have had an amazing sleep on it, but because we continued chatting the whole way up. I was so happy; we have always been so close. Since moving away, we didn’t fall out or anything, but we just got used to not having each other there. We probably talked on the phone a total of four times in the year I was gone. I try not to think about it too much but the evening before I was in the sitting room with my family knowing that this will be the last time for a while. When I return, I will be straight down to Limerick for the year. It’s exciting but scary, life moves fast.

So, when opportunities like these come up, be it in the middle of the night or sitting having a cup of tea during the day, you have to take advantage.

We continued to chat the whole way up, talking about everything from family to wind turbines.

We arrived to the airport and hugged goodbye, something we never would have done before I moved away. Then, in traditional brother fashion, as he was pulling off, he shouted something out the window.

“What?” I shouted back, already checking to see if I had my passport.

“You forgot your bum cream do you want it?”

I busted out laughing, he beeped the horn and drove off.

Everyone entering terminal one was staring and some laughing but I really didn’t care.

* Gemma Good is from Killeshandra and a fourth year journalism student in University of Limerick


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