I relayed this story around the kitchen table the other day and even thinking about it again now, I’m giggling away to myself! I had queued for the 7.15pm train to Galway, the Wednesday night of raceweek. Seat booked, as I knew this train would be full. I was among the first, say, 30 people in the queue as I’m managed to get there early enough. I’d even paid the extra to book a seat, because you can’t be too careful. Myself and my trolleybag got onto the train, but my seat number didn’t seem to exist. I walked up and down a bit but definitely there was no seat 67. When myself and my trolleybag walked back down the platform and asked ‘the man’, we were told that ‘the wrong train arrived and to just take whatever seat we could find’.
I settled myself into a seat, took out my book and spent ages dodging the low flying hatboxes. Three girls got on and couldn’t find their allotted seat numbers. I explained that there was a carriage mix up and that it was officially ‘first come, first served’ in relation to reserved seats. They thanked me and sat down opposite. Well! Wasn’t I glad I’d booked a seat! I couldn’t believe how many people were pouring past me down the platform. I felt sorry for the guy that sat directly across from me as he’d a flight booked but missed it due to traffic, turned around, made his way to Heuston and just about got on the train, getting the last of the seats you can reserve, he told me. Heading to Raceweek is like that, awful chatty – my flight down last year was like party central and it left Dublin Airport at 8am!
Anyway. I started reading and the train pulled off. The next thing, this hand nearly took my nose off and slammed down on the table;
‘YOU’RE IN OUR SEATS!’
‘Eh, well, there was a problem and…’
‘LOOK! I HAVE A TICKET YOU KNOW. AND SO DOES MY BOYFRIEND. AND YOU’RE IN MY SEAT!’
‘Well, there’s been a mix up and they were expecting another carriage and I was told just to sit..’
‘LOOK HERE! THIS, THIS IS MY SEAT. DO I HAVE TO CALL SOMEONE?’
‘Well, you can if you want but as my seat doesn’t officially exist and I was told to sit where I could..’
‘I BOOKED THIS SEAT YOU KNOW?!’
‘I booked my seat too but CIE made a mistake and..’
‘I’M GETTING SOMEONE TO SORT THIS OUT’.
So, off she, her considerable hatbox and even more considerable arse went, dragging her very silent, weedy looking boyfriend with her. Now, you can imagine that this wan had caused quite a stir. I could see people looking down the carriage as she roared at me. Things settled down again and the guy who arrived seconds before her pointed to the Supermacs bag and Coke on the table and asked ‘Lads, do any of ye own this? It was just sitting here?’.
I spent the next 15 minutes rolling my eyes at the sheer brassiness of yer wan. She was so rude, wouldn’t let me speak. Oh a right nightmare I’d say.
Then, all of a sudden, a very familiar hand was slammed down on the table in front of me.
‘I’VE COME BACK TO TELL YOU HOW RUDE! YES, HOW RUDE YOU ARE!’
‘Oh, it’s you. Quite frankly, I think you are the one being rude here’
‘LOOK, LADY! AND I USE THAT TERM LIGHTLY BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH YOU LOOK LIKE A LADY, YOU’RE SO RUDE FOR NOT GETTING OUT OF MY SEAT, THAT YOU CAN ONLY HAVE BEEN DRAGGED UP IN SOME GOD FORSAKEN GUTTER! RUDE RUDE RUDE!’
I tried to say again that she in fact was the one being very rude, but at this point it was all I could do not to laugh in her face! The guy opposite me was in knots laughing. The girls opposite were under the table in fits of laughter. I could see people standing on seats further down the carriage, trying to get a better look. The guy beside me looked petrified, but only because he was scared stiff he’d fall into her cavernous cleavage!
And then, still having not raised my voice I said to her, ‘I think you’re mistaking me for someone you recognise from the gutter you were brought up in’ and went back to reading my book.
There was an almighty Sigh! and a Tch! and a Hmph! worthy of Miss Piggy at her best and off she went. I got a few ‘Fair play te ye’ looks and when the laughing stopped, someone shouted ‘Lads! Look! The Supermacs bag and Coke is gone! Ah sure all that givin’ out must’ve made her fierce hungry!’ And the laughing just started all over again.
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