The other day one of my daughters was speaking about booking a holiday and it reminded me of how different I was to her at her age, and how much of a chancer I was. I shared a memory with her and it was funny to see her reaction.
When I was a nineteen year old student nurse we had a scheduled two weeks off. Five of my buddies had booked a holiday in Cyprus and with only days to go I decided to join them. We decided that I’d pay for my flights and bunk in with them in their apartment, unofficially of course. The apartment cost would then be reduced further for all concerned.
It was a great plan except for the fact that I had no transfer from the airport to the resort, which was approximately an hour and a half away. There was no way I was paying for a taxi and without the help of google I’d no idea if there was a local bus. That didn’t bother me so when we arrived at the airport I grabbed my bags and bid my friends goodbye telling them I’d find a way.
It didn’t take me too long to manage to convince a bus driver to sneak me onto the bus. I sat quietly at the back and even though a head count was made by another person, the driver must have added me to the list, for as I held my breath we got the all clear and I eventually arrived at our apartment a good while before the others. I took myself off to the beach, bags in hand and waited, hoping the others would come find me when they were booked in.
All went smoothly. We’d a fantastic holiday during which I met the man who went on to be my other half for the past twenty five years. There was one small hiccough during the week when security arrived and tried to figure out were we all legitimate, but one of the girls was a real charmer and by the time they left we were on very good terms.
The final day came and we packed up to make our way back to the airport. I was gutted to be leaving as love was definitely in the air and the thought of us separating to live in different parts of Ireland was sickening. However I’d another, slightly more pressing problem, I had forgotten to sweet talk any drivers in order to secure a free spin back to the airport. With all my money spent I had to get onto the bus unnoticed. The girls knew my plan to sneak on as did my new young love. The only one who had no clue was my young loves brother. So I decided I’d sit beside him, knowing he would not look guilty and give the game away. I sat on the inside seat, heart pounding.
It was almost time to leave, when the rep began to travel down the bus counting passengers. Three times she counted before speaking with the driver. Then the driver passed along counting aloud. My non guilty companion remarked that there was some sort of problem. I pretended to be oblivious to it. Then we heard the announcement,
‘Would the person who is not scheduled to travel on this bus please leave the bus immediately’.
My fellow passenger was amazed,
‘Oh my God, someone is bunking on the bus. They’ll have to leave now’.
He looked around the bus, as did almost everyone else, waiting to see who would leave. The announcer spoke again,
‘We will not be departing until the person who should not be on the bus leaves. Please do so immediately as we are now late for the airport’.
Well this latest announcement sent my passenger’s anxiety to a new level.
‘We’re are going to miss our flight. Who is this person? Get them off this bus’.
I sat beside him nodding and agreeing furiously. When he actually spoke with the woman checking the numbers I nearly burst myself stifling a laugh, as my young love, sitting behind me kept poking me.
‘What are we going to do?‘ my non guilty friend said before shouting, ‘This is ridiculous, whoever you are please get off’.
All the while I nodded and tut tutted beside him. I couldn’t have wished for a better partner in crime. Time passed, another count and threatening announcement was made until eventually we heard the engine start and slowly we pulled away from the apartments. I felt a surge of delight and relief as well as a giant poke in my back. I turned around and shared a grin with my fellow culprits before telling my passenger that I was fairly sure I knew who the guilty party was… pointing out a rather rough looking young man near the back.
It was not until we were safely on the plane that we shared our guilt with my passenger who was shocked at my conduct. We got a great laugh out of it. Sharing that story with my daughter I was taken by the fact that I had not one jot of guilt at the time for not paying for the apartment or the bus. If one of my children did that today I’d be less than impressed and would perhaps question my sucess as a mother.
However thankfully, over time I did develop a conscience and even went on to be a fairly okay citizen, although I can’t promise I’m no longer a bit of a chancer on occasions!