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A Rant In Which Buses – and Boris – Are Denounced, and Digressions Are Made

May 13, 2010

Nearly all the vagaries of life, I find, can be experienced on a bus. Seriously, about 78% of the weirdness I encounter happens on a bus. I’ve seen muggings, fistfights, serious assault, inebriation, schizophrenia, dementia, homelessness – you name it. That’s just the normal stuff. Worse is when your ordinary innocent bus suddenly becomes a conveyance for a WHOLE SCHOOL-FULL of irritating little 6-year-olds and their singsong-voiced teachers, and WORSER STILL when it’s invaded by the foul brigade of the soulless teenagers from the local comprehensive.

I have nothing against teenagers – or comprehensives – per se, but the combination of rowdy, irritating twits whose volume control is very very broken and a vocabulary limited to swearing, in a confined space…that really brings out my murderous streak.*

Anyway! I digress. You just have to understand that the lowest lows of my existence are witnessed by buses (ON buses, BECAUSE of buses). And ignored by those silly nitwits whose heads I wish I could bash in, except I never will because I’m as suspicious as the next Londoner, and don’t care to be knifed or spat on. And so we endure the greater evil because there are EVEN GREATER evils out there, like happy-slapping.


You guys should stop me when I digress. Otherwise I digress a lot. I’m going to assume you just stopped me there, so we can continue.

There’s a shop I’ve been buying my travelcards from since I was an 11-year-old scrap of purple, and today, I dropped in to top up my Oystercard** – late and in a hurry – when Mrs Newsagent shows me a book. With dogs on it. And starts to tell a story. A 17-year-long story.

Now, I am very much not a dog-person. And I was, as I said, late and in a hurry. And she was telling the story in the leisurely way of a woman who has all afternoon. I wondered how best I could politely leave.

But even as I wondered, I listened to her story, and despite myself, I was interested. She told me that there was a lady who had worked in the Dog’s Home*** for 15 years, and you know how we think people who work there, they’re not very clever? (I disagreed – I never thought that) Well this lady, don’t you know, she worked there for 15 years – started very young – and then she moved to Australia, and ‘TWO YEARS she was looking for job, but she no find!’ Sounds tough, I agreed.

Mrs Newsagent told me about how that lady was so homesick – and then she whipped out a book and told me that same lady had just stopped in and gifted her a copy of an honest-to-god properly-written book of her Dog’s Home memoirs. She flipped it open to show me the pictures, and the autographed inscription on the flyleaf, thanking and remembering Mrs Newsagent and Mr Newsagent for all the curries. Mrs Newsagent explained that whenever she cooked, she would send her food. She clearly was mightily chuffed, and I understood that – fangirling has a certain flavour, and combined with the heartfelt pleasure of an old friend’s success, and moreover, their remembering you…that’s really nice, you know?

That’s not a bus-story, though. That’s pre-bus. Bus-stories are only very rarely heartwarming and are more usually blood-boiling and occasionally even blood-curdling.

A Bus Story

So this kid. It was BAWLING for an AGE, and her mother was ineffectually attempting to shush her, possibly telling her she was being silly, and this garbled conversation emerged:

Kid: Mummy has to tell me what I have to doooo to stop cryinnnngggggg (still wailing)
Her brother: She’s telling you, you’re not listening!
Kid: No she’s nooooooot, she’s telling me I’m sillyyyyyyyyy (/bawl)

(a few more minutes of REALLY LOUD crying follow.)

Kid: At school when I’m crying, no one tells me I’m sillyyyyyy…
Mum: Why were you crying at school?
Kid: I was crying because I was upseeeeeeet (/wail) I’m not sillyyyyy, you’re different than meeeeee…(/snivel)

This kid was really just…bawling and wailing and it was, as we say in my language, DOING MY HEAD IN. I’m all for expressing emotions, and kids’ entitlements to feel however they feel, but NOT ON MY BUS, please God, not on my bus! Then I have no compassion. I PAY to go on these awful machines, and I really can ill-afford it, and the LEAST these IRRITATING freeloaders can do is try not to make the journey unpleasant for us paying peasantry. A bus on its own is BAD ENOUGH. DO NOT COMPOUND ONE BAD WITH MORE BAD, PLS. ESPECIALLY WITH BAD GRAMMAR.

Guys. I am nice to kids, really, as my child-hating friends can testify. I like them****. But sometimes, I have really really cruel thoughts about them, like how pleasant it would be to turn around and yell at them, parents and kids alike, and maybe more drastic things that I am not allowed to say like biting them except that would be unhygienic and God knows where they’ve been and what they’ve touched.

So I was grumpy. And trying to read about Darian Frey, but I COULDN’T READ THROUGH THE CACOPHANY. I must have read ‘Olden Square sat in the heart of Aulenfay’s trade district , a wide paved plaza surrounded by tall apartment buildings with pink stone facias’ about twelve times and didn’t understand it a single time, until I just looked it up now to write it out. At one point, my mind wandered to Nokias and how people were really into changing their facias back when that kind of thing was popular, and then I pondered about the spelling of ‘facia’ and was vaguely confused about whether there was an ‘s’ in there somewhere or if I was making that up, or if Chris Wooding made it up, or if they were two different words. And then I thought about how, back in the day, people used to use the word ‘feisty’ a lot (to mean sassy, to mean RUDE) – except in council-estate land, we pronounced that ‘face-ty’, and I wondered for years how to spell ‘face-ty’, and it was only when the Spice Girls emerged – dubbed as the ‘feisty five’ – that I realised ‘face-ty’ was a badly bastardised version of ‘feisty’, and finally I understood.

As I say, my mind wandered.

* Will I get arrested for saying that? Are the CIA keeping tabs on wild hijabis driven mad by twitnagers?
*** It’s famous. If you don’t know it, you’re either foreign, or ignorant. Or
**** Kids AND child-hating friends, in case you were wondering.

In other news: we have a contest for the winning of BOOKS, hosted by the lovely Kaimalino. Enter it!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2010 12:55 am

    I must say that I bought a pair of sound-canceling headphones for the very sort of reasons you are describing. They don’t have to be nearly as expensive as Bose tries to advertise them. In fact, I bought a very nice (and very noise-reducing) Sony pair for $50 (so about…30 pounds). Honestly, I was very willing to pay this price for the return of my sanity during situations such as when my downstairs-neighbors decide to throw another raucous Wednesday night party. Just a thought, might really help you out…Of course then I would really miss these hilarious stream-of-consciousness type posts that make me giggle unceasingly. 😉

    • May 27, 2010 12:31 am

      Thank you for the suggestion!

      I must say it never occurred to me to do that. Mainly because I have an aversion to the idea of sealing myself off from my surroundings – particularly after the many safety lectures we’ve had since age dot of being streetsmart and paying attention: they told us a story of a girl on the underground with headphones on her ears but nothing on her stereo, who heard two man planning to assault her, assuming she couldn’t hear them due to the ‘phones. So I always think of that.

      It did occur to me, though, that investing in a pair of air defenders wouldn’t be terribly off the mark – for really bad days. XD

      And it’s my pleasure – you know what they say: one woman’s insanity is another woman’s laugh XD Well, I don’t know that anybody actually has ever said that, but the spirit of it IS STRONG.


  1. Words on Maggie: Linger, Fangirling & Giveaways «

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