Michael’s Train Thoughts – Midnight Meat Train Edition

Jumped on the train at Dundalk. Relatively empty so plenty of room to stretch the legs. We were only shortly underway when I realised that according to the new timetable the train I’d earmarked for my return didnt run on a Saturday. But there was a later one so it seemed like it would be a minor inconvenience at best. So I put on my headphones, cranked up some Creedence and watched sunny fields fly by. I weep for that naive young man. I arrived in Dublin and got the Luas. I’d never actually seen a ticket inspector on one so I was going to ride for free. But momentary cowardice overcame me and I purchased a ticket. Which was just as well as there were four fucking ticket conductors on the carriage I stepped into. Ticket all in order I arrived at Jervis street and ran into Matt and Dave. An enjoyable evening of Shadowrun and shit talk followed. Though all along I could feel something nagging away at the back of my mind. The thought that while I was living a civilian pukes existence (socialising with friends) Charlie (Patrick and Sean) were in the jungle (playing FFXIV) growing stronger (levelling up). But I pushed that thought into the darker recesses of my mind (round about where the suspicion that I un-ironically like Chesney Hawkes I am the One and Only lies) and chatted away.

When the time came to start the journey back to my sanctum sanctorum Adam kindly ran me to the station. Whereupon I spent fifteen minutes shiftily moving around the platform to try and divine how noisy the various drunks that littered the platform like human detritus would prove while on the train. When the train arrived I made a beeline for a sparsely populated carriage and through tactical bag placement and looking like a shifty bearded sex offender managed to secure a seat to myself. Victory. Now it was headphones in and lights out till Dundalk. Wait. Something’s not right. My phone has a mysteriously low battery and I needed to call a taxi upon arriving. So no music. No big deal only one group in the carriage were talking (inane drivel about how the young man wanted to go to the full moon party in Thailand to “you know just experience it” certainly not to get his knob gobbled by drunk tourists while he sighed inwardly to himself that what he really wanted was to sleep with his cat – that may seem uncharitable, but he played rugby for Trinity so its probably accurate).

Then “The Couple” stumbled onto the train. Their argument already at that point where it was all angry palpable silence followed by a quick salvo of passive aggressive bile which caused the whole thing to flare up again. Oh Phone, why hath thou forsaken me? WHY? It was walk down the town when I got home or drown out the sound of idiots having a domestic in public. I hate walking a little more than I hate being a powerless spectator to peoples private lives so I chose to turn off my phone. Then I tried everything I could to distract myself. But there’s not a lot to distract yourself with on the last train out of Dublin of a Saturday night. So despite myself (and my ears best efforts to kill themselves) I was forced to listen to the couples conversation drone on and on. In summary the guy kept getting caught on the verge of cheating, twice this week, the most recent being when he secured another woman’s phone number in front of his girlfriend.

So he was clearly on the wrong side here. But in his drunken genius he refused to back down. It was masterful in a way. He totally embraced the kind of go big or go home philosophy that would make him a star of reality tv. There was the relatively prosaic, but gutsy, “Well you know what I’m like”, the tears after “Well maybe we should just fucking break up”. But (slightly more) sobriety and rage were on the woman’s side and as a neutral observer I would have given the match to her. But then. There it was. His master stroke. He busts out a drunken marriage proposal on the train. In its own way it was glorious. In an even better way they got off at the next fucking stop.

A little after that I realised I could have just ordered the taxi in advance. Which I did. Taxi at 1. The time the train was supposed to hit Dundalk. Ha. The train reached Drogheda. It was at that point the driver deigned to tell us that the train was stopping here and if you wanted you could fuck off to the car park for the replacement bus service. Because clearly giving this information at any point before we were hoofed off the train would have violated Irishrail’s legendary secrecy.

I was…not pleased. Even worse my phone was dead and I was not hopeful of the replacement bus service reaching Dundalk within the timeframe the taxi driver was likely to wait for me. When I hit the car park I found the only other Dundalk bound soul was a woman. A woman who would not SHUT THE FUCK UP. Thirty minutes rocketing down the road (it was replacement taxi not bus) in pitch darkness with terrible late night radio blaring (taxi man cranked it up within seconds, cant blame him) and this woman blathering on.

Surprisingly we reached the outskirts of Dundalk more or less the same time the train would have. Which looked promising for securing my taxi ride. Then the madman driving the minibus turned off the motorway slip-road to drive across the back arse of nowhere and come into town via the Ardee road.

When we reached the train station I was happy to see the taxi still there. Naive, weep, etc. Twenty minutes of being mistaken for my brothers and hearing how a) Courtneys looked like a dirty protestant church on the inside, b) all Bridge Street pub regulars are cunts (which in fairness I can believe) and c) the taxi drivers masterplan for a roadside pubhouse empire later I was finally home.

I walked inside (with Waltzing Matilda stuck in my head for some odd reason). I walked upstairs. I sat at my computer. Sever Error 90000. Its ok. Keep Calm. Login again. Cant find NA & EU servers. Dont panic. That twitch is natural. Try again. World is full 1017…I regret every decision I’ve ever made in my life.

I’m having a sandwich. It’s the only thing that makes sense anymore.

Vent your spleen

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