Wednesday, February 6, 2013

[what the bus just happened?...]

Dear future car owner and driver,

Just writing to fill you in on a perfectly normal trip home on the bus today.  London transport can be quite iffy at times but in any case it (usually) gets you from A to B and that's the main thing.  Today was no exception.

Diary of a bus trip
(*times are estimated*)
(*pictures are from my archives*)

1745:  I am luck enough to step off my bus and straight onto the one behind it.  I call this 'the speedy interchange', and today I'm super grateful for it cos I just had to wait almost 2 1/2 hours for my ten minute appointment, we have dinner guests coming and I'm a little over it. 

1746:  Two dudes practically push me out of the way to get on the bus ahead of me.  I'm not sure what happened to chivalry but I don't intend to let it die so I give one of them the opportunity to be a real man and I forcefully let him go behind me.  I'm kind like that.

1747:  I'm standing up, now in between the two dudes, under one of their armpit with my... ahem... chest in the ladies face who is sitting down.  Sorry lady.

Bus driver is ranting about how we need to move down inside the bus and no one listens - it's only safety after all, and we all just want to get home.  Every man for himself.  So the driver kicks the front-est guy off the bus.  There's a lot of yelling.  There's a lot of 'is this not polite enough for you, sir'.  There's a lot of 'it was my bag, not me'.  The guy eventually gets off and we leave.

1750:  A baby is squealing.  You know the squeal, that one where it climbs inside your brain and hacks away at your sanity with a small, high pitched chisel.  I feel sorry for the Dad, who does nothing about it despite death ray looks from other passengers.  He has probably learned to tune it out I guess.

1753:  We stop the bus, and let a few people out the back door.  Still we don't move down the bus, we're just glad we've got more room.  No more pit in face or boobs in head situation.  I'm actually breathing in my own air instead of recycled air.  A couple ladies are waiting patiently at the front door for it to be opened for them when the driver pulls away.  He's still too full.  I couldn't hear over the chisel in my brain but I think I saw her mouth the words 'why didn't you buckets move down inside the bus?'

1758: At one of the main stops, a whole bunch of people get off and I manage to move up the back.  There are graduated steps up towards the back seat and I sit in the first one up the step.  I choose the right hand seat because there is something wet on the left hand seat - a lady with a baby (not the screamer, but another one) is sitting there and I can only assume it's wees from her baby, or perhaps breast milk.

1759:  The guy I sat next to wants to get off so I get up to let him off and get my foot stuck under a bar so I'm kind of half up and half down, but he still tries to climb over me.  I manage to get my foot out and he's on his way.  Lady with the wee wee/breast milk baby now has a muttering talking shouting screaming completely losing his rag baby on her hands.

1801:  A couple of steps on, a man waits to get off the bus and I scope him out from feet to head.  He's in sneakers and cargo pants.  No biggie.  Further up I notice a dark t-shirt with a leather bomber jacket over top.  Little bit rocker.  Then we reach the top and I notice a head of completely grey/white hair and... wait for it... a sweat band.  I surmise he's off to band practice and he likes to keep the sweat out of his eyes.  Rock on, Gramps.

The guy behind me, in the seat one further up the stairs (as in, his knees are at my head) starts to cut his fingernails on his lap.  It may be my imagination but I'm pretty sure my hair is now peppered with dirty fingernail clippings.  I'll find them later.

1803: The wees baby is interrupted from his screaming by a man bringing his double buggy in the back door.  He moves wees babies pram over to behind the pole and parks his extra wide load in the gap.

Here's the kicker.

1807:  Wees babies Mum must remember at the last minute that this is her stop.  So she gets up with the screamer under her arm, and heads for her pram which is somehow wedged in the corner with a double buggy and twenty-five people in front of it.  The on and off process for this stop is coming to an end fairly swiftly so she does what any normal mother would do when their buggy is stuck on a bus with not much sign of release in the near future.  She walks calmly off the bus, puts the now eerily quiet baby on the pavement in the pitch black on a busy London road and gets back on the bus.

Let me repeat - bus is packed, buggy is stuck, Mother is on bus, baby is standing in the middle of the pavement.  In London.  On his own.  In the dark.

Driver shuts the bus doors and engages the gears to drive away. 

I am looking out the window at the baby standing with a quivering lip on the dark sidewalk, his face lit up by passing cars.  I send up a quick prayer to the One who listens and I ring the stop bus bell fifteen hundred times until the doors open back up.  By now, double buggy guy has lifted wees Mum's buggy over top of his mobile and biffed it at her.  She calmly walks off the bus and proceeds to wrestle her baby into said buggy, and although he has made himself into some kind of toddler shaped ironing board and refuses to bend at the waist, she straps him in.   Doors close, end scene.

1810:  We have arrived at my stop and I disembark from this normal, everyday journey in the London Transport system.  Let me tell you, it's never boring.

Love, public transport user and appreciater.  xx


  1. holy smokes! I bet you'll be looking forward to coming home and driving your own car around!

  2. Okay, I had to laugh at the ironing board baby...but what the heck was she thinking leaving him in the street?! Insane. I'm so glad my days of public transport are long behind I'm just the mum with the tribe of kids in a people mover with the double buggy and two nappy bags everywhere we go ;)

  3. You truly make my day Stacey. Such a funny story ( though true, I realise) and so well written. I think when you are waiting around for your baby to scream/poo/wee/gurgle will be able to spend your time writing stories and making lots of money in the process! Lotsa love, Nana xx

  4. Oh.My.Hideous. I will never complain about being stuck in traffic (for like 5min tops in Whangarei!) in my air conditioned car with the comfy seats and armrests!!


Thanks for your comment - you really do make my day!