Maeve Higgins on... being efficient at doing absolutely nothing
Life & Style

Maeve Higgins on... being efficient at doing absolutely nothing

SO, 2011 was a big year for me — lot of crazy things went down in this starlet’s life, that’s for sure.

For legal reasons, I can’t divulge them all, but I can tell you some of the highlights.

These include me taking the plunge and buying an electric toothbrush, my sister’s cat running away and then coming back with a missing ear and a thousand-yard stare, and most amazing of all, mysterious screens appearing at bus stops around Dublin city centre.

Nobody knew what the screens were for, neighbourhood gossip speculated wildly. Weather warnings? Names of people who didn’t recycle? Tiny, communal TVs?

A great hush descended as we watched them flicker to life and… announce how long the wait for the next bus would be. Genius!


The channel never changed at my local bus stop, it was always 17 minutes. I would happily stare at the ground for 17 minutes.

Now, compared to my local bus stop in London, it feels like a long time.

Here, there are buses every minute. Look at me, Ma, riding the bus like a boss! Here, people tut and shake their heads if they have to wait three minutes for public transport.

That’s how important their lives are.

Maybe if I had only somewhere to go during the day, I’d feel the same. You see, like badgers and the moon, comedians mainly work at night.

night bus-n

Night buses are the same in every city in Britain and Ireland. Fiercely depressing, with a side of fear. Drunk people smoking upstairs can be a problem on all of them. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing I like better than to sit back and light up a bowl of my favourite leaf, surrounded by friends, warm cans of lager and Pitbull playing tinnily from a phone.


Actually, I tell a lie.

There are quite a few things I like better. I like watching Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model. I’ve been rooting for a little Donegal girl. I can’t tell if that’s a stir of national pride or a sign that I feel sorry for nervous red-heads.

Having grown up watching reality television, the girls start the show with a narrative they’ve decided on.

“My problem is self-confidence,” the red head regularly reminds herself, then starts to cry. Somehow, her tears — when she’s dressed like a clown and Dannii Minogue is telling her how to walk — make for compelling viewing.

Herself and a number of other girls are battling it out in the silliest of competitions.

If that sounds like I’m sitting in judgement, that’s because I’m sitting in judgement. I have no shame at home on my couch, laughing to myself, thinking about how silly the show is.

My qualms just come creeping when I wonder why I’m watching it. I’ve got better things to do, a hundred other more productive ways to use my time — like rush around my adopted city on public transport, marvelling at how efficient I’m being at doing absolutely nothing.