Late on the tram

May 10th, 2012 | By | Category: Ireland

City life is quickly forgotten – things like public transport in the late evening.

Standing at the Jervis Luas stop at 11 pm, waiting for a tram that takes an eternity to arrive, it seems that a strange amalgam of humanity has gathered for no apparent reason. What reasons have brought them here at such an hour?

A young professional woman stands deep in earnest telephone conversation? Were the evening hours spent in the office? Or maybe there were drinks or a meal with friends? She turns her back and moves to the platform’s end, shying away from a group of late teen girls.

The girls have been drinking; one still has a bottle in her hand. They are loud and protest at the electronic display that shows the tram will not arrive for another ten minutes. ‘We could have had another drink. We could have spent nine minutes having another drink and still caught the tram’.

They are watched by an odd family group. Two girls, aged perhaps three and seven, run up and down the platform as if it were 11 am and not 11 pm. A young man in his mid 20s watches them and then calls them back. The woman beside him is indifferent to what is going on. The odd dimension is the dog they have with them, upon which they lavish great attention. A chihuahua, without collar or lead, which never moves more than a few feet from the man’s side. Why would anyone be in the city centre at eleven at night with two little girls and a small dog? Where would you gain admission in such company?

An African man arrives, chatting to someone in his phone. His backpack suggested an arrival from somewhere, but, if that was the case, why catch the tram at Jervis, a back street stop nowhere near the bus or rail stations?

As the tram approaches, a soldier in combat dress ambles up. The camouflage of his rucksack matches that of his fatigues. His boots are large and polished. What was a soldier doing at a city centre tram stop at eleven at night?

The tram doors open and those assembled step inside, their distinctive character being quickly diluted among those whose numbers ensure the tram is well-filled. There is a library-like silence; the only voice audible being an Englishman trying to give a telephone number to a friend. The faces on the tram are expressions of tiredness; people staring fixedly into nothingness. A man in a suit sits opposite; his pallor matching the grey of his suit.

Sometimes, there are moments when different worlds seem to co-exist in one very small country.


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