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All I’m asking is for the bloody Dublin Bus to show up. That’s not too much, is it?

Dublin buses regularly vanish into a Bermuda Triangle between app and reality, and nobody seems concerned

There was an online meme about 10 years ago with a picture of a yellow Dublin Bus with the caption “Timetables? Lol, we just drive around”, and I think of it every time I stand at my bus stop. Last Thursday, with a medical appointment at 9.15am, I gave myself two busses grace to make it on time. Naturally the first bus simply didn’t show up. The Transport for Ireland app alleged that it would be arriving, and the bus stop display claimed the same, but it vanished into that Bermuda Triangle between bus app and bus reality, trundling down a suburban road in an alternate universe.

Not a problem though. I still had another bus approaching that would get me there on time, right? Wrong. For a while it was “seven minutes away”, then eight, then back to seven. At one point it reverted to being “10 minutes away” and I imagined it slowly reversing back over its route like a learner driver reversing around a corner. Finally, with 11 minutes to my appointment and the bus still in limbo between seven and nine minutes away I realised I’d have to make a call.

My appointment was in a public medical centre, but obviously the receptionist couldn’t relay the message that I’d be late. I’d have to ring a number in Cork, you silly billy. The woman in Cork would have to ring the medical centre for me and then ring me back. At least the bus was finally lumbering into sight. I embarked and awaited my fate, steaming slightly under the collar. A woman, all pandemic etiquette forgotten, coughed openly like a toddler. Cork Woman rang back. The message: You should still show up to the appointment late, but they might not be able to see you. I croaked my disbelieving thanks and turned away from Typhoid Mary.

At 9.45am I took a seat in the waiting room and hoped for the best. A man watched videos on his phone at full volume. A woman yawned loudly, lengthily, and often and narrated each one: “Oh my Gooooood”, “Jesus, I’m wrecked” and my personal favourite, “Mercifuuuuul HOUUUUUUUUR”. My entire right side had begun to twitch. An older man came out of the examination room and exclaimed, “That’s not very nice at all, is it?!”. We were all there to have the same dilating eye drops applied and this elderly harbinger of doom had cast a pall over the already grim proceedings.


My name was called next, bringing my slide into Michael-Douglas-in-Falling-Down territory to a temporary halt. Phone Video Man was not pleased that the upstart who’d arrived last was getting to go before him, but I held my head high as his YouTube blared. Once in the room the eye drops stung like shampoo but they got some lovely pics of my retinas and after the morning I’d had it was like being on holiday. I had no idea what was coming next.

Obviously, my bus home vanished and I waited 23 minutes for the next one, which then sat stationary for half an hour in the traffic hell of St James’s Hospital campus, but at least I wasn’t late for anything. Finally arriving home and with vision blurred by the drops, I decided to do some phone admin. I needed a GP appointment and hoped I might secure one within the next six months. But what’s this? I’d need a blood test before my GP appointment, but in order to book the blood test I’d need to, you guessed it, see the GP.

“Make it make sense”, I wanted to scream as I prepaid the first of several €65s. Distracted, I opened my emails to a blurry message regarding my eating disorder treatment. Could I be seeing it right? Could it really be telling me that the reason I hadn’t heard from them regarding the ongoing care I so desperately need is because they’re still waiting for a HSE referral letter that was supposed to be sent in January? Yes! My Falling Down bingo card was complete!

Look, I am very privileged to be able to advocate for myself. I’m not the woman in the telltale headscarf asking the bus driver to let her off so she can rush through the St James’s traffic to her chemotherapy appointment. I can make the payments for the inexplicable double GP appointment. I might get back into eating disorder treatment eventually and was lucky to be there in the first place. All I’m asking is for the bloody bus to show up. That’s not too much, is it?