By sean mcnulty
I become frighteningly aware of my biological constitution as I’m picking up the kids for the city centre schools every morning at about 8 in Santry. They usually scramble on board falling over one another as polyphonic ringtones worm their way into my head. One at a time, I always have to shout. Today they board the bus much the same as they always do, pushing past an old woman and a Chinese couple with a pram and baby, then bustle up to top deck out of sight.
Once they’ve all boarded, and I’ve pulled away from the shelter, the awareness starts inside to consider first of all my stomach and its recent guests – I’m conscious of the tea, the toast, and rashers, now compressed, a swirling flotsam and jetsam, demonstrated by digestive bleeps sounding from the area, a squelchy techno track I’m almost certain some of the passengers can hear. I imagine it’s like a bubbling bowl of porridge in there, a thick sloppy colourless gunk.
As I swerve around Whitehall and begin to descend the Drumcondra Road, the awareness also swerves around to consider my lungs as they suck in the air of the bus. In, out. In, out. I can’t see my lungs, but the awareness rules them to be rather fragile, and I’m careful not to breathe too hard in case the bags burst.
The throbbing heart swells in my understanding as I reach Dorset Street. I’m aware of its rate of pulsation, the slowing and speeding of the cardiac cycle. Why so slow now? Why so fast now? I can’t understand it. I’m frightened by the drum’s apparent constancy, for the awareness also tells me that it won’t stay constant.
Stopping at the end of Dorset Street, I swing open the doors and more passengers climb on board.
Do ya go anywhere near Ranelagh? asks one of the new fares, a young guy about 20 with spiked blonde hair and a rugby top. I look into his vacant mug as he giggles a bit with the two pretty college girls standing behind him, also about to board. I’m thinking about the brain doing its work inside his head. How does it do what it does?
Ranelagh, yeah, I say.
I soon forget about my biological constitution, and drive on, stopping and starting, but I expect the awareness to return again tomorrow morning at about 8.