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Planes, Trains and Tina Fey

Sunday 29 January 2012
My preferred method of transport, even aged 2.

I can't drive. Or rather, I can (just about) but not legally, and not well. I loathe it. A lot of people simply cannot get their heads around this. Yes, I do live in a relatively rural area of Ireland where no buses ever venture, but I do manage to exist, which baffles a lot of people who screech "How do you survive?!" at me.

Partly because of this, I've spent a lot of time on trains over the last few weeks. A lot. Planes too, although this week will be the fullest (three flights in total - Marrakech and back, before flying back to Ireland on Saturday).

But it's trains that have had most of my company. Back and forth to London, up to Liverpool, in and out of the city, back down to London, off to the Cotswolds, and then a week of London commuting last week. I'd never done the proper tube commute before, and I felt rather grown up, if a little cramped. Or, rather, very cramped. And a man coughed on me. Right on my face, to the extent that my hair blew a little. I was not amused, and my voice has now gone. It's fair to assume the two are related.

I've noticed, with all of this trainery, that we don't just sit on trains any more. Almost everyone has an iPod on, some have a Kindle, a few even have iPads (it's really difficult to not look over their shoulder to see what they're watching).

I'm not sure how I feel about this. A part of me thinks that it would be nice to just be, to have a little break from technology. The hours we must spend in front of screens are piling up. We haven't yet seen the effects of this on any generation - how long have we been working mainly on computers? It can't be much more than 10 years, 15 maybe. What effect is this having on us all (I ask while staring at a laptop screen).

Another part of me, though, thinks "Holy shit. How bored would I be without my iPod?"

In the 5 or so weeks I've been in the UK, I've properly discovered audio books. I had a few on there, but never really listened to them. Then, just before Christmas, I started to listen to Tina Fey's 'Bossypants'.

And I was hooked.

Part of this was because it is such a brilliant, fantastic and wonderful book, read by a performer who can do it justice. It's not really a memoir, per se, but an account of various events throughout her life... wait, that is a memoir, isn't it?

Either way, it's great. It accompanied me over the Irish sea, through London, up to Liverpool and back. I was so sad when it ended that I considered just starting again from the beginning. When I was listening to it on my first week in London, I started cackling to myself as I walked the streets (a good way to get a bit of space on the tube, actually).
And now I need something else to keep me occupied on long journeys. I'm now like a petulant child in the back of a car - I need to be entertained, and I need to be entertained NOW.

By the way, a fantastic 'Bossypants' fact - Tina Fey can't drive either. And has it stopped her? No! You know who else can't drive? JK Rowling. I think the three of us will do just fine.


  1. I use audiobooks on long car trips (and sometimes just driving around town) and they are such a joy. I'm glad you discovered them as well!

    1. They're great! I do need a new one now (once I'm done with Order of the Phoenix, of course)

  2. Audiobooks pass the time so well - The Colditz Story made short work of a dull car journey through Mayo/Galway/Clare one day. I don't think I'd sit at home listening to an audiobook, but their rightful place is as part of a journey.

    1. Bang on. It would be a little weird listening to them at home, unless you're dying of the flu on New Years Eve and just want to hear Stephen Fry's voice at midnight to make everything OK again...


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