Well. Let us begin this little escapade, this foray into the waters of the mundane, waters that, to the chagrin of some, could hardly be described as uncharted. There may be too many charts, and too few interesting ones, but some of them have their charm. This exercise is to be primarily a cathartic one for me and so the interest of others is welcome but not strictly necessary. As such, I unabashedly present to the attention of my audience a small, grainy picture of a bus stop.
Yes, a bus stop! Hardly the most interesting item I could have chosen for my first attempt at my new format, hardly the thing to draw the interest of a prospective reader, but here you have it – a bus stop. My reasons for choosing this particular item are simple, it turns out to be quite difficult to take decent pictures with this little toy camera of mine, owing chiefly to the fact that the viewfinder is more inclined to show you what you are not taking a picture of rather than the opposite. As such, after a day of snapping off the occasional shot, the only presentable picture I had at my disposal was that of a bus stop. I have run the image through a few filters to make it a little clearer, which is why the colours have a certain air of artificiality to them (I like to think of it as “charm”). I particularly like the strangely vibrant green of the grass in the background.
My relationship with buses has been a long and troubled one. The morning this photograph was taken (yesterday morning, in fact) I was in a particularly grumpy mood, having slept overly late on a day where I could not afford the loss of time. To add insult to injury, I arrived at the bus stop to find that I had missed the bus by a few seconds (hence the lack of people in the picture). So, I was forced to wait 25 minutes until the next one, during which time I decided to begin my career as chronicler of my own life and take a few pictures of the deserted stop. Now, the bus for me has often been a cause for something close to despair. The bus from Cork city to Ballincollig is (relatively) infrequent, seldom punctual, extremely expensive and usually odorous. For the past four years I have found myself sat in it twice a day, silently (or sometimes audibly) bemoaning the its variously offensive aspects. I have stood long hours in the rain mentally picturing the brutal torture of tardy bus-drivers. I have crushed myself into too many buses full with too many people and muttered violence under my breath. I think it is fair to say that I am not fond of the bus, nor its many stops.
It must be said, the bus has not always been a source of gloom in my life. It has even brought some comfort. There have been times that the only chance I have had to do a little reading is on the bus, during my morning and evening commutes. I have sat on the bus clutching some beloved book and hoped the journey will take longer than usual, because when I arrive I must work, or eat, or do some other trivial thing. I have more than once forgotten to get off at my destination on account of being absorbed in a story or a poem. There is also the social aspect of public transport. The Ballincollig route is not exactly known for its talkative patrons, but there have been times when a stranger has had the courage to start a conversation with me and shone some light on a dull morning. There are some of these people I now know by name, there are some that I have even had occasion to meet outside of the confines of the bus.
Still, positive considerations aside, it is a source of private joy that my long and unenthusiastic affair with the bus is about to draw to an end. Mr. Bus and I will be seeing increasingly less of each other from now on, due to the arrival on the scene of a shiny new bicycle (which deserves to be, and will be, the subject of its very own post). As a friend of mine recently put it, in conversation on the bus as it happens, I am “raging against the machine by using a smaller and less complicated machine”.