Friday, November 20, 2015

Last Night on the 46

Ha ha.

I begin with laughter, because sometimes laughter is all we have to get through the day. This is a statement that could only be enhanced by some contemporary dance, or at least some expressive hand movements. Anyway, I digress.......

So last night after babysitting, I left around 9.45 pm and had the choice of:

  1. Wait twenty minutes at Farringdon for the next Thames Link service.
  2. Get the tube, changing once at Kings Cross. 
  3. Or, get the 46 bus and have a bit longer to read my book. Other pros of the bus are that it takes me to the end of my road, whereas the other two options involve a ten minute walk. 
So, I went with option 3. Mistake!

The bus came around 10pm, the standard waiting time for a 46 is anywhere between ten and twenty eight minutes - this figure will become clear later. And so, headphones in, head in a book we set off. 

Five minutes later, we are in the third lane of traffic somewhere along Greys Inn Road, stuck in a jam with a bus as full as rush hour - why? Was everyone babysitting? - when two young lads appear at the door, having weaved through the traffic. But what was even weirder was the two middle aged women that appeared behind them, having traversed the cars and buses. Now, I didn't realise at first, but the lads actually opened the doors themselves from outside the bus. I just thought the bus driver had done it, but it seems the bus driver actually tried to close it back on them. Anyhoo, they got into the bus and zapped their passes and then words were had with the bus driver. 

I have to interject here as to the hilarity of the situation. I'm not making any of this up but it will seem like a comedy sketch. So, the bus driver had a really thick Indian accent, the two teenager lads were both black, and the two ladies were white, one of them over sixty and with a super posh accent. This is when the headphones came out and the book closed. 

So the bus driver is yelling that they had 'no right to open the doors of the bus.' The teens didn't say anything, just shrugged. But the posh elder lady pipes up, 'What do you mean we've no right? We've been waiting twenty eight minutes for a bus and you didn't stop at the stop, you pulled out into the third lane to go around the other buses that stopped.' Then the bus driver hit back with another, you could have died sentiment, and again the lady threw back, 'but we didn't. And you had no right to skip our stop.'

This went on a couple more minutes and then they got on, sat down and the bus began to move. All good, right?

So, he then pulls into the next stop, opens the doors - front and back - and refuses to go anywhere. The women are still going on about how out of order the bus driver was and are threatening to call the bus police or something, whilst the bus driver sticks to his guns and refuses to leave until the young lads get off. They are stood, arms crossed, shrugging, no words and of course refusing to get off. I mean, they had paid their fares, so it's fair enough. 

A younger lady tried to talk the bus driver around but he was sticking to his story of, they had no right and someone could have died, blah, blah, blah. And still we weren't getting anywhere. So this younger lady then asked the lads if they would get off so the rest of us could get home. Older lady pipes up, 'Why should they? They've done nothing wrong. They protected us. They shouldn't have to get off the bus.' Small argument between the two ladies, with lots of comments thrown in from other bus users, who just wanted to get the fuck home. It was now about 10.10 pm.

Meanwhile, another posh 60+ lady tries to ring the number on the bus, for complaints, but can't get through. Someone shouts out about calling the police, but then someone else shouts out that would waste 999's time. Lots of shouting back and forth and nothing happening. I just sat back and took it all in. Thankfully, there didn't seem to be any drunks on or anything, so the situation didn't become violent or aggressive. 

The bus driver continued to say no to every one's protests and said, 'it happens every day.' Then posh 60+ lady gets the funniest line award of the evening: 'Well get another job.' Ha. Love it. But you have to imagine it in a beautifully posh accent. Amazing. I burst out laughing as did another few of the passengers. Then she continued: 'I'm 65, I've got Parkinson's, I'm ill and I just want to go home. I've worked for 45 years and I'm fucking tired!' Yes! She dropped the F bomb. Legend. Bus driver pipes up: 'language.' Ha ha. So much laughter. 

Then more women and men came up to plead, some with no money to get another journey, others with children at home, others with elderly relatives with them, and others just wanting to get feckin' moving! But the bus driver was like a defiant toddler having a tantrum. He could not be moved or persuaded or coerced, and he refused to move until 'we' removed the boys from the bus. As one lady rightly said, 'How can we just throw someone off a bus? We can't do that.' And as many others said, 'we have paid for a service, and you are supposed to provide that service.' But we were just hit again with the refrain, 'I'm not going anywhere until the boys get off.' it's about 10.20 pm now.

Then, another 46 pulls in behind us, and most of the bus vacates. If I'd been thinking clearer I would have stayed on, because the boys had jumped off and our bus could have left, without me having to pay another fare. But I forgot, in the absurdity of the situation and so I leapt off and joined the rest of the gang - bit of stranger bonding going on - and of course the bus driver wouldn't let us on for free even though he'd seen us all get off the other bus. He wouldn't listen to an explanation either, so we all just muttered under our breath and paid again. One guy did make an argument and the new bus driver wanted us to get transfer tickets - as if the other bus driver would have given them - but he had already driven off. 

And as posh 60+ lady - of F bomb fame - rightly put it, 'Of all the bus routes in London, it's always the 46. There is always someone being thrown off, or it stops to change drivers, or stopping at every stop for two minutes.' I feel your pain love, I really do. How much of my life is spent waiting for that thing, let alone the time I'm actually on it?

So, as I eventually arrived at my bus stop, I jump off to find the other bus - the bus I should have been on - trailing behind it. Ha ha. Beat you by thirty seconds. I could see some of the dejected passengers still on there. And it took me one hour to get home. 

Next time, I'll take option 1 or 2, me thinks. 

Safe travelling out there. You literally never know what's gonna happen. 


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Book Rants and Bad Decisions

You know when you say yes to something, and already you're not a hundred percent sure it was the right thing to do, but then with each subsequent email you regret your decision more and more? That's where I am right now.

But enough about me, how are you?

Okay, so I've joined the twenty first century by accepting my partner's old kindle and trying to read one book a month on it, but how distracting is the percentage? Do you not find yourself constantly looking at it? I keep telling myself, it's not a page number, it's not going to move with every page click, but that doesn't help. I can't stop looking at it. And it feels like it's mocking me. It also feels as though you're never going to reach the end and I find this sort of thinking tends to distract from the story. I've tried covering it with my finger, but then it's so easy to uncover. I then get this weird feeling that builds in me, which is a combination of the desire to finish the book and the notion that I'm not going fast enough. It feels like it turns reading into a race against.....yourself? The book? The percentage gods? Whatever it is, it's highly distracting. When I finished the book I was reading on it, I couldn't wait to get back to a real book that I could touch and that whose page numbers increase with every page turn. Ah, paper and black text, how I love to escape into you.

Although - here comes another bookish rant - when you're reading a 'classic' and they put all those numbers linked to appendices at the back, that is just as distracting. Every other line has a number and you try to skip past it, thinking, I know what that means so I don't need to read your stupid appendix, but then you think, what if I've got it wrong? What if I don't actually know what it means? What if I'm getting the wrong gist of this four word sentence? Perhaps the word will end.

Okay, so slight melodrama, but it is highly distracting and mostly unnecessary, especially when it's not even footnotes that you can see right there and then, but a separate appendix at the back of the book, that you have to keep flicking between. And reading something in this stunted way is so detrimental to the story and I'm pretty sure not what the author had in mind when he or she wrote it. I gave up after about three pages and just read through all the numbers, and, I didn't even go and read the appendices at the end. Ha! I can make sense of the book in my own way without ripping it to shreds, Thank you very much.

As always I'm doing my best to avoid all things Christmas until December, so no mince pies, even though they look delicious, no Christmas markets, no music, and definitely no bloody John Lewis advert. Even when it was shown on The Russell Howard show the other day, I turned my back and busied myself with something else. Blah, blah, blah, some cute message that tries to tell us all to love our neighbours and be kind to others and....wait, it's a super expensive shop where only relatively rich people can afford to shop. Hmmmmmm. Relatable to the people? Perhaps not. And, to add insult to injury, they've released some hideous pink pencils 'for her', because we need 'female' pencils don't we? And each pencil has on a different message which sets women back decades. Yippee!  And do you know what makes it worse? That they're designed by a woman. Damn it! I think this article sums it up perfectly: written by Hannah Dunleavy. Well said.

Oh, and one more thing, the waiting room of the ballet school is not a great place to read a book. People are chatting and there are kids changing and people coming in and out, and people moving chairs around and toddlers toddling about waiting for siblings. And I can't really drown them out with music because I have to be vaguely alert in case my charge comes out needing the toilet  - which happens nine times out of ten. I should be enjoying an hour of sitting and reading, but instead I'm distracted by sounds and movements and conversations and I just want to read! Wah!

Okay, so I should probably be writing or editing or something and now the rants are out it might be easier to do that. It's like passing a large.......Well you get the idea. You feel a whole lot lighter, put it that way. And with that I'll leave you. Happy Tuesday!