Public Transport is a Breeding Ground for Undesirables


Jan 6th: Bussing it in Bedlam

Went to Manchester today and met up with my trash-culture partner in crime, Josephine. She is climbing up the Starbucks corporate ladder, knife in mouth, to take the world of hot beverages by its vajazzled balls.

She is a coffee connoisseur, a filter flaneur (perhaps even a frotteur), a mocha rocker.

She risks the glare of a jobsworth to ask for The Most Difficult Drink Ever, with the cocksure unblinkingness of a pro barista: a “One Shot-Soya-Mocha-with Amaretto Syrup” from NEROS. Interesting choice of name that, seeing as he let Rome burn to a crisp- a bit like calling your shop ‘Berlusconi’s’ and expecting people to stomach your ‘fish finger surprise’…

But the main rant of today is reserved for BUS DRIVERS. The lamb-chopped ferrymen of Hades.

"DOYOUHAVEANYHOTWATERORDOIHAVETOKILLYOU?"

Today’s driver looks like Catweazel (which in case I am the only person who gets this reference, is a TV character Medieval monk transported to 70s rural Britain. You got a mental image now?).

I think, ‘oh it’s ok, he’ll be nice to another member of the long hair club‘. Then, ‘oh shit, I’ve been thrown out haven’t I, I’m in the camp tintin club now’.

But ‘Oh he’s got a beard, he’ll give me the secret signal coz of that’.

But no. He is the grumpiest hippie I have ever met. I get on with my student card.

“50p”

I give him a pound.

A grunting, constipated moan comes out “doyouavthefefeepee?”

“Pardon?”

Again, the noise comes, and I can just about pick out these words:”doyouHAVEthefiftypee?”

“No.” As he slams the change down, I think ‘He’s no hair compadre, he’s a pre-postal serial killer’.

As I walk to my seat, I hear his gritted-teeth mantra echoing down the bus every few seconds as the queue jumps aboard. It’s like the guttural groan of Newspaper Vendors , for whom ‘The Manchester Evening News’ becomes a chinese poo-strain ‘Maaannneeeeezzzze”

As I sit and reflect on the emotional rollercoaster of having hair, I think back at the motley crew I’ve met on buses.

One time I got on and the busdriver said “You shouldn’t be allowed on here”. “Me personally or something I represent?” (bloody students, queers, men over 5 feet 9?) I ask, genuinely intrigued. Someone pulls the string in his back and he parrots “You shouldn’t be allowed”. I take my apparently undeserved seat.

Another classic was when I was really late for work, and I asked the big skinhead in front of me for the time.

“Time is irrelevant” he intoned, and turned back round. I should have said that to my boss.

One time, Aldo was waiting at the busstop, and a woman stopped and asked for the way to Mecca.

“Hmm, let me see, the sun is pointing that direction so East is over there…” he mused

Impatient, she butted in “No, Mecca Bingo I meant!”

“Dunno” he replied, suddenly deeply depressed.

“What would sir recommend?” “A little of everything?”

My new favourite phrase is “What would you recommend?” said with a disarming smile. You can cover up your complete ignorance of anything with this.

“What gear ya looking for?”

“What would sir recommend?”

“What stop do you want?”

“Hmm, where would you recommend?”

“To be or not to be?”

“Whatevs, I’m not fussy”

I think most of the recommendations would be a good kicking followed by A&E.

BORING AND UGLY 6


Bad Santa

Nov 30th: Santa’s Bleedin’ Grotto

For 8 months, I’ve had to walk round the shitty Sheffield Eye to get to my busstop. It’s not as if there’s anything to see up there, apart from grey stuff drenched in rain. And apparently, we only got it because York (that cultural capital of the mid-North) turned their nose up at it. It’s not even a hand-me-down because at least the first in line uses it first. It’s a NIMBY. But it hardly ever stopped going round. Who paid £6.50 for an elevated view of the chav hordes? Just take the T. K. Maxx lift. Anyway, so they finally dismantled it, presumably to pass it down sibling-style to the next runt in line- Bradford or Skegness or somewhere.


I think; Ah, finally, I can see if there’s a bus waiting at the stop and run to catch it. Nope.

Because now they’ve built a sodding behemoth of a fake Christmas tree there. Santa’s hollow-tree Grotto has a little mock-log cabin ticket office where you fork out £4 frickin’ 50 for the pleasure of perching on some alcoholic’s knee and getting a wrapped-up McDonald’s Happy Meal toy. Out of my fucking way Santa, my need to go home RIGHT NOW is REAL unlike your sad-sack polyester beard.

It’s a Snow Day today. You think I’m happy? I’m terrified of having nothing to do. At least when I’m at work I get swept along in the stress of it all and time kind of bleeds out. Time flies when your mind is numb.

But enforced idleness is petrifying. What the fuck does one do when one isn’t at work?

a) ‘The million and one things that you put off all the time’? I was Uk champion in Procrastination for the Nation last 10 years running, I’ll have you know. I got Aldo to pick up the awards though.

b) ‘Think’? God how therapeutic. Puke. The last time I had a good think, I got so morose that I had to eat 3 mini-magnums to feel better. And sicker.

c) ‘Relax’? Frankie never gave very clear instructions about how to do this. Note to self: Write a letter to the remaining band-members asking for clarification.

Dec 1st

Where’s my fucking advent calendar? It’s snowing today, drifts are about a foot deep outside. Did you know that my shoes are a 12 inches long. My feet are a foot. Facts like this make me feel safe. Something makes sense.

No cars are going anywhere, and the gaggle of annoying kids isn’t flowing past the house as usual. The parents have had to entertain them at home, ha ha ha. I’d love to be a fly on the wall: the bleeding heart liberal mummies and daddies around here have given their kids (Flora and Tyger) ADHD and megalomania by giving them everything they ever wanted!

It’s the worst snow for 17 years. Being snowed-in means that people who have no life don’t stand out for once. Everyone has to sit on their arses chain-drinking tea.

I was pretty bored, so I came up with a list of Apps That Should Exist:

"There'a an App for that?"

1. Flower Identifier- Take a photo of a flower and send it to get the name and family and possible uses. I might be the only person in the world who would use this. But I would.

"Respect the Cock, Tame the Cunt"

2. Life Coach- When you’re feeling down, touch a button and get an instant pep talk: “You’re fantastic, you’ve got friends, you succeed at the things that matter, Christ, you made it this far!”. Like Horoscopes, they would need to perform the trick of being applicable to everyone, while seeming being individually tailored for the recipient (“OMG that’s exactly what I was thinking! I need to eat more chocolate and get a new carpet!”).

"I'm feeling a little hoarse"

3. Pun Generator- Can’t think of the right one-liner? Simply enter the word you’re trying to make ‘punny’, then wait for your options. Card writing has never been so easy. Powered by a universal dad’s database which is updated regularly from snippets culled from BBC’s Have Your Say website.

Dec 2nd: Snow Day 2.

We have a lie in. I decide to write a novel. But I write this instead.

Esther woke me up sobbing last night. We had watched ‘The Killer Inside Me’ where Casey Affleck beats the shit out of lover Jessica Alba. While he smashes her face in, he keeps apologising and saying “Don’t worry honey, it will be over soon”, and she doesn’t scream because she loves him. The look on her face is confusion not fear. After she’s dead, he is gutted.

Esther tells Lisa about it today. Lisa is nonplussed: “It’s good to have a bit of trauma. It adds to your personality”.