I travel around on buses when I am too idle or too wimpish to use my bicycle – today, being cold and rainy, is a wimpish day. I have to get to a meeting out of town, so a bus it is.
Bus travellers (and I count myself as one) can be mistaken for a whole subculture; they have a limited number of areas of conversation, including (and possibly limited to) weather, bus travel, road works, their neighbours, operations/medical problems, and shopping. Unity resides in complaining about buses that are cancelled at a whim, buses that don’t stop, or take off before you have a ticket, giving the pleasing appearance that you are in fact flying, – until you ‘land‘ on a railing, the floor, or against other passengers in an uncomfortably intimate way.
Buses, like doctors waiting rooms, encourage complete strangers to tell you about their lives, and, like mobile phones, necessitate that you broadcast your problems to strangers as a bi-product of conversation with the person seated next to you.
Sometimes people have mobile ‘phone conversations on buses (mostly arguements or shopping lists),- that is particularly annoying, because you can’t tut and move away, like you would in real life (ie life where you have more space to exist than 3/4 the width of your hips).
Today seems like it is going to be a particularly nasty experience, because of the rain. On rainy days, buses develop their own humid eco-system. They also smell of old dog basket – a smell which seems to emenate from the upholstery on wet days.
All of which points to some minor misery for me today, in the service of getting from A to B.
But if you haven’t been on a bus in a while, you tend to forget about the possiblity of overheard gems that are the minutae of other people’s lives and conversations.
Today it was this:
woman one: have you booked yer eyetest yet?
woman 2 (defensively): No.
woman one: Your eyesight’s not going to get any better…
woman 2 (expansively): Yeah, but I haven’t been looking at much lately.
I’m glad I live in a world where people think like that.