So, it seems as though I spend a lot of my time on sweaty, closer than comfortable sardine-packed buses (metaphorically speaking, of course)… And day after day, I see the same faces and get to know their routines.
I often find myself spotting the same things, even if not with the same people, that I reckon are universal bus-occurances, and I thought I’d share. My number 41 bus is like a Where’s Wally? page, with a checklist of things to look out for. Well, I have a checklist.
I leave work, and hurriedly rush to the bus station, where I expect there to already be the same crowd, waiting for the bus. First annoying ‘check’ I can always bet on is the small handful of people stood outside, ensuring they get on the bus first. Apparently the people who’d been waiting longer than them don’t matter. They don’t even ever head for the back of the queue, they shoot straight to the front. More than annoying.
But, I do manage to get a seat, although choice is rather scarce. As I walk past the little reinforced plastic window, separating the public from the driver, I scan the seats.
Right, I have a few options. The first is next to a rather rotund man, with his arm around the top of the seat next to him. I think he’s trying to be inviting. He’s coming across pervy, and very odd. Hmmm. I don’t really need to even contemplate that, because he smells pretty bad.
The next seat offer is beside a a rather elderly woman, verging on about 100 years old. She is talking to herself, and knitting. Yes, that’s right, she is knitting. Can she be any more cliche? Probably not. So she’s a potential, but not ideal.
The third option is next to a college kid; she’s got stripey socks on and platform gothic boots. Her hair is in dreads and her face pierced all over, but she’s not knitting, or lazing like a sloth over my seat so, I pick her.
My bus is often a gathering of Bedford’s social extremities. You see all types on there (although not all are particularly nice to see…) But there’s the commuters, attached to their Kindle, catching up on some reading. There’s the Grannies (an awful lots on my bus) who all seem to know each other, perhaps from some WI-Church going- garden club type grapevine.
The schoolkids head to the back of the bus, because that’s where all the cool people go to play music without headphone, because obviously, everybody on the bus loves hardcore punk rock, right? And there’s the unashamedly chavvy couple, talking about their Jeremy Kyle-esque life through gum-chewing mouthfuls, rather too loudly on the phone. Oh, and don’t forget the nose picker… Don’t go there.
This social snapshot is known the world over. Same people, same commuter habits, and I’m pretty sure bus-w*nkers like me know these types of people.
Driving lessons can’t come soon enough.