You know when we do very stupid things without thinking?
I did one of those things today.
All of my daily news wrapped up in puns and dusty car fumes
Metro-men and Metro-women are the people in big yellow jackets that are on the Dublin streets early every weekday morning, handing the free Metro Herald Newspaper out to commuters and other such people.
They are a very friendly bunch, and I’d rather take a Metro from them instead of taking one from the bag placed on street corners and lamp-posts, because you always get a smile and a thank you – I genuinely feel as if at seven o’clock in the morning somebody is delighted to see me.
Needless to say I love the Metro-people.
I get on the same bus every morning, at approximately the same time every morning: very early.
At one particular stop in Dublin, at which I do not usually exit my vehicle, stands a Metro-man. He is young(ish) has glasses and a very kind face, and the biggest, warmest smile, which he beams to everybody passing. I love and truly, honestly appreciate kind people like him, I really do.
Almost every time my bus drives past this stop (henceforth labelling it the Kind Metro-Man’s Bus Stop) the Metro-man and I make eye contact. He is on the street, I am on the bus. We smile, sometimes wave, sometimes we just do that warm, squinty thing people do with their eyes when they are saying hello without saying it at all.
However, I have always wanted to actually say hello. Nothing dramatic, nothing movie-worthy, we aren’t going to run away into the sunset together or go and have a cup of coffee. All I literally want to do is say hello.
For the last few bus rides, my Metro-man wasn’t at his post. Perhaps he was poorly, perhaps on holiday, perhaps with the love of his life somewhere romantic. But today he came back.
As the bus pulled up to the Kind Metro-Man’s Bus Stop, at least five stops away from where I actually needed to get off, I saw him. Back from his days of absence. Today he didn’t notice me as the bus slowed. My daily encounter with the Metro-Man hadn’t happened, the bus would drive away and nought happy smile would result.
So, as I mentioned up at the top there, I stupidly and without thinking followed a stupid and thoughtless impulse, and I got off the bus. Away it went, taking with it my chances of catching the next bus to university on time.
Oh well. No lectures until twelve o’clock anyway.
I mean, in my previous post I said, I specifically said: “in future I’ll get the next bus.” Some things just need to be done there and then – and for some forever unknown reason I counted this as ‘one of those things.’
He was down at the corner, handing out Metros and smiling ever so nicely at everybody.
I stood there thinking: Bugger. What do I do now?
I felt very sheepish all of a sudden and wished I could run away, but no. I was going to punish myself for my rash decision to leap heroically off a bus and greet this absolute stranger by making myself carry out the now completely embarrassing deed.
I took a few steps.
I was sure people were staring.
I didn’t belong at this bus stop, I radiated foolishness, everybody knew now.
I took a few more steps.
He turned and began to walk up the street towards me, handing out Metros.
So I just stood like an idiot, an absolute idiot: eyes wide, mouth open, terrified, thoughts of “why me?” “why my brain” and “you stupid wally!” all screaming through my head at the same time.
He walked past with his big, happy walk, smiled at me and offered a Metro.
“Thank you” I said quietly, taking it.
“Thank you!” he said loudly and cheerfully as he walked away giving out Metros to everybody else in exactly the same manner and not taking a second glance back at the fish out of water – thank goodness.
So I turned and began the twenty minute walk to my correct bus stop, and after all that I hadn’t even said hello.