Monday, June 13, 2016

The tale of a flower and a bus

After being in Ireland for 10 days, I can confirm that the Irish are, indeed, excellent storytellers who can turn the mundane into the epic and know how to embellish in all the right places. So let me take a crack (as opposed to "craic," which is the Irish word for "fun") at a tale of my own.

It's not a bad thing to try to emulate Oscar Wilde.
Jason Spann and I had spent a recent afternoon wandering the streets of Dublin and into a cool local pub, as I previously reported. We then trekked past what we figured out was Merrion Square and the Oscar Wilde Memorial. And finally, when we found our way to familiar territory, we decided to catch the bus home.

Except the next bus back to University College Dublin wouldn't be at the stop for 27 minutes, according to the digital sign.

"Let's just start walking, and we can catch it later down the road," said one of us. (Probably me.)

And so we set out down the main road, chatting and looking at the architecture. We checked bus stops every so often to make sure we were still on the correct route to catch the 39A bus back to UCD.

When we got to the next major bus stop with a digital sign about a mile away, our bus was still 16 minutes away. "Let's keep going," said one of us. (Definitely me.) 

And so we did. At the next traffic signal, we kept going straight, but when we reached the next major intersection, which was in no way familiar, we realized we should have turned. Instead of wasting time by backtracking, we figured we could cross the street, go down a block and cut over to Donnybrook.  

Alien plants? No, they are apparently Fuchsia. I had no idea.
So we set off down a posh street of townhouses with luxury cars in their driveways. And that's when I noticed this weird plant with scarlet bell-like dangly pods that opened to reveal purple petals and more dangly pendulum-like thingies inside.

I had never seen these plants. Elizabeth takes pictures of interesting and vivid flora when we are abroad. So I took out the camera. Jason had gone about 11 or 12 paces ahead before he realized I wasn't behind him, so he walked back to see what the hold-up was.

"Don't worry," I said. "I'm sure this won't keep us from making the bus." But just to be safe, I offered to buy him a pint in the unlikely scenario that we missed the 39A bus.

But at the corner of that street and Donnybrook, we spotted it.

"Run," I said, not sure how close we were to a stop.

We started running, and I turned around and waved as the bus driver shot past. Defeated, I slowed down. Then the bus slowed and pulled into a stop hidden from my view by a tree.

Buses (in the distance) wait for no one. Run faster. 
"We have a chance!" I said, half to Jason and half to myself, as I started an all-out sprint. I mean Usain Bolt-type pace.

Someone got off the bus.

I was maybe five car lengths from the bus when a Mercedes pulled into a driveway right in front of me, cutting me off.

For the briefest of moments, I considered attempting one of those moves in action films where the hero slides gracefully across the trunk of the car. I did not, foreseeing broken bones and an Irish lawsuit in my future. But it was enough to slow me down. And I looked up to see the bus driver's reflection in the mirror. I swear I could see a glint in his eye as the bus drove away.

I mumbled a few choice words (pardon my French – not Irish). And on our way to the next stop, we missed another one. Jason's iPhone said we walked nearly 10 miles that day.

I would pay off my debt of the pint later in the week. And yes, I also suppose sprinting for transportation has become a theme on this trip.

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