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.
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.
I give him a pound.
A grunting, constipated moan comes out “doyouavthefefeepee?”
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.
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.