Timetable surrealism in southern Poland

At the mercy of the PKS Myślenice bus company over the Easter break I spent more time than I might otherwise have chosen at Myślenice bus station. Once I had exhausted the entertainment possibilities of counting dead flies in an empty kiosk I turned in desperation to a close reading of the bus timetable. I wish I’d looked sooner. Stapled to the outside of a locked and shuttered ticket office it was a document of rare surrealistic quality.

The Polish alphabet has 32 characters. Every single one of these had been used to add footnotes to the schedules. The compiler, not satisfied with this surely more-than-adequate level of annotation, had in fact gone on to use several of these letters in both upper and lower case as well as numerals, hashes, dots, exclamation marks, asterisks and a range of other obscure symbols that lurk at the periphery of keyboards. The list of footnotes was longer than the schedule itself and included nuggets of information along the lines of:

This bus stops at Gryfice except on Tuesdays in February or if Bartek is driving because he doesn’t like turning left.

or:

This bus doesn’t run on holidays or on June 17th (for no apparent reason).

timetable2

A truly mind-boggling set of footnotes from A to y³ and beyond.

I was about to allow myself a satisfying outburst of exasperation when I spotted the following astonishing entry concerning buses to Hrubieszów:

timetable1

Twenty-two points, plus triple-word-score, plus fifty points for using all my letters. Game’s over. I’m outta here. Scrabble addict on the lose in southern Poland.

I don’t know if this strange insertion was joke on the part of the compiler himself or a remark from the poor devil who had to type it up. Either way, I’ll never look at a bus timetable again without a smile.

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21 thoughts on “Timetable surrealism in southern Poland

  1. Brad Zimmerman says:

    Ahhh Myślenice! I guess I am fortunate that all of my visits there, most of which were to the Stek Restaurant, were via car. Though it sounds like the journey via bus would have been entertaining (once) or at least educational.

    PS: A shout-out to Matt Payne’s English School of Communications Skills which has brought so many wide-eyed, native English speakers to the quaint corner of Poland that is Myślenice. :)

  2. Scatts says:

    Nice to see that a sense of humour can be found in even the wildest of outposts.

  3. Gabriela says:

    You can never imagine where you’ll find inspiration for a post!
    Saludos.

  4. MaterialGirl says:

    June 17th – date to check in polish callendar (if it’s Thursday it could be God’s Body Holiday, though I don’t see here this date and only information: “not going on Boże Ciało”), usually these are days after (like 27th of December) or before (24.12) or between other holidays (like days between Christmas and New Year).

    P.S. Sorry to all my opposition, this isn’t (unfortunately) attack on
    island1! :D

  5. Ania says:

    It looks like Corpus Christi is on the June 11th this year, do why in the world June 17?!
    Ha, that’s a marvel! Driver’s birthday, obviously… Or MOT day.
    Thanks for such a good hearted, warm post, Island.

  6. Crayden says:

    Brilliant example of PKS efficiency.

    My local PKS is similar, I am always amazed by the announcements over the P.A. at first I though it was my Polish that was bad, but I find out from my wife and her friends that every word is intelligable to all Polis people.

    This leads to some interesting scampers of people accross the bus station when there are any changes, everyone is oblivious to what is announced.

  7. boattown guest says:

    t- kursuje co drugi dzień- does it mean: Monday, Wed, Friday, Sun or Tue, Thursday and Sat? Does the term ‘Ferie’ (w, W- winter holidays) refer to ferie in every voivodeship or only in Silesia? :)

    Thanks Island1! You made my day:)

  8. ansien says:

    Have you noticed that some of the listings have more then just one symbol? It’s like some mystery code which is not available for everybody…
    F.e. Poor people trying to figure out in which days they could take the bus to Koniki at 21.31…:))

  9. Bob says:

    It looks like Corpus Christi is on the June 11th this year, do why in the world June 17?!

    Because it is in the 6th month 11th + 6 = 17th – perfect logic

  10. island1 says:

    Brad: Myślenice is a nice little town, completely and utterly dead on the Saturday before Easter though.

    MaterialGirl & Ania: The footnotes don’t actually mention June 17th. I extrapolated from the given data – or in other words, I completely made it up.

    Crayden: You should think yourself lucky you have the luxury of announcements :)

    boattown: Clearly they need to add a footnote to that particular footnote.

  11. Lon says:

    I was looking to see if this was a late April 1st (fools) post that you got us with… but not…. very funny.

  12. Ania says:

    …you completely got me.

  13. Lon says:

    Ania…. me thinks that someone needs to go find this bus stand and call Island on his bluff….

  14. island1 says:

    Don’t get me wrong. The bus timetable is completely genuine. I just exaggerated the weirdness of the footnotes. I take it nobody believed Bartek doesn’t like turning left either.

  15. Paweł says:

    Island1, this is hilarious:> I’m surprised no one noticed this english text before:$

  16. island1 says:

    Pawel: It took me a good ten minutes to notice it, and then only because I had absolutely nothing else to do.

  17. MaterialGirl says:

    island1,

    I knew you made it up, but lately, after reading story about Inka in newspapers I decided to be some GangstaGirl, so I practice the way of thinking as short as possible. It’s hard work. Today some gangsta looking guy wink at me, and I didn’t make the same! :( Perhaps I’ve lost my only chance! I should change more my mentality to be successful!

  18. Raf says:

    Love the scrabble score. :-)

  19. aron says:

    you can depend on buses with letters N, U, L and D. They run everyday except public holidays ( Christmas, Easter, New Years Day, etc.). S – means runs only on schooldays, F – means runs only on workdays, A – runs everyday except every Sunday and public holidays and B – runs everyday except every Saturday and public holidays.

  20. island1 says:

    More than a year later, somebody posts their own sighting of the rogue timetable:

    http://niebezpiecznik.pl/post/wirus-na-dworcu-pks/

  21. Well, that strange insertion is actually a computer virus :) Let’s hope, they don’t have malware in buses’ engines.

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