Monday 23 April 2018

Fake chivalry, armpit hell and a death wish

As the Luas slowly takes over the city, Donal Lynch braved fumes, sweat and tears for a day on the Daniel Day

Donal Lynch pictured with the Luas
Donal Lynch pictured with the Luas
Donal Lynch

Donal Lynch

When the Luas was first introduced to Dublin I felt sure it would be the sticky end of me. Its stealthy, almost-silent glide through the city seemed destined to interrupt my zoned-out phone-addled strolling with a quick and easy death. I wasn't massively worried by this. It wouldn't be a bad way to go, all told, and certainly vastly preferable to spending more years rotting at bus stops. Optimistically, I turned up my headphones and readied myself for glorious martyrdom to the Daniel Day. Maybe they'd even give me a plaque.

But as the years passed, I realised that rather than quickly and humanely putting me out of my misery, the Luas would instead turn out to be death by a thousand fetid armpits. It starts at rush hour as you hurl yourself into the gap where the door has opened and hope that you fit into the narrow, sweaty space which is a million miles away from those "artist's visions" of 15 years ago.

You firstly trip out on the smell - an eye-watering combination of Lynx, BO and wet dog - as you settle in for 15 minutes in the company of a stranger's armpit. The name of the game is not to make eye contact with anyone, while simultaneously getting an eyeful of the few attractive specimens in the crowd. Headphones ("bitch shields" a friend of mine calls them) are obligatory. They don't even have to be connected to anything, as long as they're repelling human contact, particularly that of colleagues on the same route. Everyone is on their way to work and consequently the atmosphere feels cheerless and grim. The only thing that might cheer us up is the prospect of getting off at Charlemont for an iced coffee and walking the rest of the way.

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