There's Love and There's Sex and There's the 46A
By Mattie Lennon

When you're feeling the urge to retreat and to flee 
from work that's a cartload of ess haitch one tee
when people are plastic -- the plastic is cracked,
and barely believable fiction is fact -- 
when you need to meander, to rest from the race 
be it human or rat), to explore a new space; 
gift-wrap your troubles & throw them away 
& take the great trip on the 46A.

No. I didn't compose that. It's from a collection "Comrade Dao Jones Reassesses Tienamen Square" by Sydney Bernard Smith. And it just goes to show how our successful Dublin Quality Bus Corridors ( QBCs) are creeping into Irish literature. 

Patrick Kavanagh said; "No man can adequately describe Irish life who ignores the Gaelic Athletic Association. Football runs women a hard race as a topic of conversation". To suggest that the man from Enniskeen was anything less than accurate could incur the wrath of many from the "stony grey hills", but I do contend that in the articulation stakes buses come in a comfortable third; ahead of the weather, tribunals and Eamon Dunphy. Bus-lore has featured prominently in the oral tradition for generations. Stories of buses, drivers and passengers are legion and who am I to say that any of them are apocryphal. 

Like the time legendary wit, Charlie Reilly, was returning to his home in the Dublin Mountains on a 49 bus, when he was short-taken. The irate conductor asked (rhetorically I presume) as he eyed the resultant "deposit"; "what am I going to do with that". Charlie, who had a bit of a stammer, told him "h h h hand it in to l l lost property an' if it's not claimed in a year an' a day d d d divide it between yourself an' the driver". 

Or the evening, in the early days of Telefis Eireann, when the man in Marino had left his T.V aerial down on the road while he tried to establish where Kippure was. Pressure from the wheels of a No. 24 bus driven, by Tom Murray, ensured that there would be no Tolka Row in that house for a while. The less than pleased DIY man pursued Tom to the terminus and informed him; "You are after breaking my television aerial". Tom's expletively prefaced truism; "...buses don't fly" earned him the immortal nickname "The Jet" Murray.

And what about the young lady, one night, in Dunboyne, who resembled a spancelled ass so tight was her skirt. She didn't have the necessary manoeuvrability of limb to mount the platform, so she reached back and opened the zip-fastener a bit. No improvement; so she loosened it further without any noticeable effect. Next her posterior was cradled in the arms of an able-bodied young Meath man who lifted her on to the bus. Her expressed declaration of dissent; "how dare you" was met with; "Well since you're after opening my fly twice, I didn't think you'd mind". 

Then there was the time when the famous matchmaker Dan Paddy Andy O' Sullivan, while in receipt of the Blind Pension, was at the pictures in Tralee. Halfway through the film he noticed, in the half-light, that the occupant of the seat beside him was none other than the Pension Officer. Dan sat through the film. And as John Wayne was riding into the sunset and the credits began to roll the following dialogue, consisting of three questions, took place in the middle seats;

Dan Paddy Andy: Are we near landing? 
Pension Officer: What? 
Dan Paddy Andy: Isn't this the Castleisland bus?

A bit like the literary senior citizen in Kilkee, who told his friends, when he got the OAP Pass; "I will arise and go now, and go to Ennis.......free". Or the Nun in Limerick who asked, "Where's the Effin bus?" 

But wait until I tell you about the two Dubs who took a No. 65 to Blessington on a Good Friday. For some unknown reason they thought Licensing Laws would be less strenuously applied there. Still, they had no desire to be stranded in outer suburbia should it turn out to be a "dry run". So they didn't alight but remained on the platform while the bus was turning. One of them addressed a question to the solitary figure of "The Mouse" Carroll standing at Miley Cullen's Corner; "Do you know anywhere two lads might get a drink?" "Begob I don't" says "The Mouse" equal to the challenge "But I know where three lads would get a drink".

Sierra Madre, as you all know- is the Spanish for Mother Range, and is a name often used for mountain ranges in that part of the world. Well one day on a coach tour, in the mountainous region near Seville the guide had used the word Sierra what seemed like a hundred times. So eventually when he said; "And now on your right is the Sier.." he was cut short by a member of a famous Irish ballad group. " See e'er a me *#@/&\~, if you see e'r a #@/&%\#~pub will ye pull over". Now you may not have the verbal skills or assertiveness of Finbar Fury but if you have difficulty explaining the facts of life to your offspring perhaps you could take a word of advice from Sydney Bernard Smith;

Ye parents who puzzle the meaning of life
& how does it happen ye're still man 'n'wife
After years of contention?-the kids want to know
not how did they come but what way did ye GO!
Is there life without love, is there life without sex?
Oblige them by stating, ye pair of old wrecks:
It's never that simple, we'll put it this way:
there's love, and there's sex, and there's 46A.

Mattie's articles, stories and songs