Mad house…… Sunday 6am start. Boy child Will, has a soccer game in Lurgan (that’s up the North, Co.Armagh). Will plays for a team in Dublin, we live in Kildare so the bus was leaving their training grounds at very early o clock. The three dogs, three cats, three chickens (my girls), the lonely hamster, the two kids, Brian and myself, had to be fed, mental!
This morning was different. We were bringing our youngest child Roisin(10), on her first ever Luas trip. The plan was, to get the Luas from the Red Cow into Abbey Street, visit Trinity College and the Book of Kells. Then go to Kildare Street to visit the Museum of Ireland. Then, the Royal Hibernian Academy to see the tapestries by Grayson Perry. Lunch, Luas and home.
Roisin was diagnosed with dyslexia in 2016. She loves to learn by listening and seeing. She is very visual and extremely creative. She finds reading difficult but has a hunger for knowledge. Brian and myself try to expose her to learning in a different way, that makes it enjoyable, hence the day trip.
Dolly (the Granny) was shocked when I told her about Roisin’s dyslexia.” Oh, Jesus Christ how did she get that?”” It’s a specific learning difficulty Mam”, says I.” You don’t just get it, you are born with it”. What if someone asks me what’s wrong with her?” “Sure there’s nothing wrong with her!” “Well to look at her you wouldn’t think she had it”. “What do you think she has?” says I. “Well it’s where she can’t read or write and sure, if she can’t read or write she won’t learn anything in school. I wouldn’t mind, you know Ciara, that Roisin would tell me things about history and science. How would she know all that if she was dyslexic? I’d get her assessed again. Doctors differ patients die you know….” “Mam, Roisin will not die of Dyslexia nor will she end up being thick! It’s all about managing her dyslexia and giving her all the supports she needs, Richard Branson is Dyslexic you know?” “Yeah well, Roisin won’t turn out like him cos she’s petrified of heights so I don’t know what you’re going to do with her?” Eyes thrown up to heaven, end of conversation.
Right so we dropped Will at the bus, wished him well and told him to enjoy himself. We were all set. Roisin’s excitement was palpable… Oh, thanks Mammy and Daddy this is going to be the best day ever….
We parked at the Luas, fumbled my way through buying the tickets. I frantically tried to look like I had used the Luas ticket machine before. I’m 43 and it was like I entered a time warp. Red line or Green line and a map? Where was the button you press to go to O’Connell Street? People were standing behind me, I could feel them breathing. It’s was 8am on Sunday morning where the hell were all these people going ? I could hear the exhaling of breath finished with a tut. Oh Fuck I’ll just press one of them. Red, two adults one child, return, entered my pin, and collected my tickets. Easy. Yeah and I perspired a small country.
“Mammy I want to sit beside you”, says Roisin. “Grand” says I, but keep your eyes open for three seats together we can’t forget about Daddy”. Daddy was dragging himself up the rear, the thoughts of spending a few hours with myself and Roisin in Dublin walking around museums and art galleries was like pulling each eye lash out individually. “Will is playing his first game up the north you know, I should be there for moral support. I haven’t missed one of Will’s games in the past two years.” Right” says I, “Every Tuesday,Thursday and Friday night, every Saturday and Sunday morning myself and Roisin hang out together, because you and Will are gone to soccer. Roisin wants a few hours of your time and I hope this isn’t too much to ask?” He stops talking, he knew the look I just threw him was meant to wound his heart and paralyze his voice box, it worked!
Three seats together in a four seated area, bingo! We sat down, Roisin beside me, her Daddy across from her and across from me was A MAN. A very strange bald man. A man who looked like this 8am Sunday morning Luas trip was his walk of shame from his nocturnal activities. His clothes told a story about the night before. I imagined his night progressed from his house, to a pub, to a nightclub, to a chippers, to a party, to someone’s bed, finishing the last leg of his trip home on the Luas. Half of his curried chips were on his trousers but there was evidence of him trying to clean his lap under his badly eaten finger nails. His black denim trousers were stained a colour of mucky yellow and squashed potato. His crotch was staring at me in a horrible hue of curry. I kept staring at his crotch for reason s even I don’t know. It was making me ill. His shirt indicated his love of country music, (a Nathan Carter fan, perhaps?) which was a navy and red check which didn’t match his trousers. I think the majority of his hair had fallen onto his chest and grown uncontrollably up his neck and burst out through the top of his shirt.
He started to stare at me and belch. Belches, that came from the pit of his stomach. They gurgled up his oesophagus and landed in his mouth. He made a shape with his mouth like he was blowing up a balloon, but all he’s doing is holding the belch there. After 1-2 seconds he blew it into my face. It was so vile it should have come out his arse. The belching seemed to continue for hours. He smiled in my direction as he blew the stale stench of Guinness and curried chip right into my face. His head was bald, with a sprinkling of spikey hairs in the middle of his forehead. He looked like he was about 30 years of age. Brian was in hysterics. What is it with men, when they see one of their own, still drunk from the night before. There was a type of pride in Brian’s reaction to his neighbour’s situation.
I was repulsed. Roisin was traumatised. She had forgotten to bring her hand sanitiser. Roisin’s world was cleaner and healthier when she had her hand sanitiser. Some kids have a blanky, Roisin has hand sanitiser. There is a gross man sitting in her breathing space. She’s 10 going on 20, to her this is just unacceptable. He was ruining her first ever trip on the Luas. This experience was meant to be “Awesome”. She was so upset, her face turned red.” This is turning out to be the worst day of my life Mammy“. ”Stop being so melodramatic Roisin. We have a few more stops to go and we’re there”. “Mammy I think I’m going to be sick” “Have a drink of your water” “I can’t, his breath will be on it” “Roisin, we will be there soon, pretend he’s not there”. “I think he’s going to vomit on you Mammy” I knew what Roisin was saying was a very real possibility, but the Luas was full. Where was there to go?
Roisin made her communion last year, she wore a gorgeous white dress and looked like an angel. Today, I heard my angel whisper softly in my ear, “Am I allowed say a bad word?” “You are not” says I, “behave yourself and go stand over there, if you want”. She grabbed my hand tight, scrunched her face up and whispered in my ear, “He’s a smelly bastard”. My heart stopped beating, my eye lids forgot to blink. “What did you just say?” With that I could hear rumblings coming from the stomach of aforementioned man. His eyes were closed but his stubbly mouth was smiling, breaking the crust of curry sauce that was caked around his lips. In what seemed like slow motion, I grabbed Roisin’s hand, accidently kicked Brian HARD in the shin and fell into the lap of an elderly couple. Just as we hit their laps the smelly baldy B***** let rip, one of the smelliest loudest farts I’ve ever had the misfortune to experience. We got off at Abbey street.
We went to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells. Closed until 12pm.
We went to Kildare Street to see some Viking stuff. Closed until 2pm.
We went to the RHA to see the Grayson Perry Tapestries. Closed until 12pm.