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Clocks on Bus Eireann

Off the bus in Ninemilehouse

Republic of Ireland, autumn 2009 —

I got put off the bus in the middle of the countryside near the Kilkenny-Tipperary border in a little village called Ninemilehouse. I'd been caught using a disabled pass that disabilitypass somebody had given to me. More accurately, I was given the opportunity to get off the bus, and I took it.

I was traveling from Cork, where I was living, to Kilkenny, where I had lived before, would again -- and where I spent most of the time that I was in Ireland.

With two stops in-between, I had to show the pass three times. In Clonmel and in Cahir I had brief conversations with the bus drivers. This was the downfall of my time with a disability pass that didn't belong to me — bad planning due to a gimpy feeling, probably.

A capped uniformed guy boarded in Carraig-on-Suir, and began asking everybody for tickets, front to back.

He asked me, as he did of everybody with a travel pass, to write my date of birth. Oddly, I knew the proper answer and didn't give it to him.

He went sat back of bus, calling the dates in to Dublin to cross-check against recorded travel-passes.

This travel-pass, which I'd had for a few years but had then only recently decided to use, had an especially tawdry provenance. It was "pure gold," from one perspective — but it also never did feel right, which is probably pretty much why I got caught.