Got on the bus this morning with a £20 note. And no change. Not a good move.
The driver shook his head. “No change.”
“Arghhhh.. sorry, I haven’t got anything smaller.”
“No change,” he said, poking at his change drawer.
The guy behind me was jingling some coins.
“Can I get the change in town, when you’ve taken some cash?”
“Doubt it. I’ve got no change so far. The best I can do is a change receipt.”
“Ooh, Ok.. What do I do with that?”
“Take it to our depot in Outer Mongolia.” (teeny bit of embellishment there..)
“Isn’t there somewhere a bit closer to do that?”
“Oh, Ok. I’ll do that. But if you’ve got the change when I get off, can I cash it in with you?”
“No. I wouldn’t have any cash left if I did that.”
“Well you ain’t got any now..”
“Ok, I’ll take the receipt. Thanks.”
Fifteen minutes I looked up from Candy Crush. The bus had stopped, not at a bus stop.
Eh? I looked out the window. Where are we? Dunno, but everyone was piling off the bus. Speaking to the driver in turn.
“What’s going on?” I asked when it was my turn.
“Detour. High Street’s shut. The Queen’s coming.”
Not a good day for LB related reasons. But caught the 280 home from work and had the following encounter with a geezer dude. Kind of cheering…
“I went to Smithers ya’know? Smithers?”
“Ah, yeah.. W.H.Smiths…”
“Yeah. I picked up a newspaper, tucked it under my arm. £2.60 it was. £2.60. I thought I’m gonna walk out with this. Without paying like.”
“Yeah. But then I saw the man with sweets and I thought YES! I want some sweets! So I got some and thought well I’ll pay for the sweets but then walk out with the paper under my arm… You know, as if I’d already paid for it…? But then I thought Don’t.be.so.childish. Do you know what I mean??? So I paid for the paper too.”
“Do you want a sweet? There’s jelly beans and all sorts…”
“Nah, I’m fine thanks…”
“Ahhhh. Fuck!! Dropped em! [….] I’m just gonna eat them anyway. Well these ones. Not that one. Look. It’s rolled in some squishy stuff. Yuk. Look at it.. I’ll eat these though. I love jelly beans.”
“Yeah, me too…”
“Funny. Jelly beans still taste good, but other sweets from when I was a kid. They just don’t taste so good now. They put other stuff in them I think. Not nice. When I was a kid, I’d eat some sweets then do twenty laps of the room. Like round and round and round! My mum used to say ‘You ain’t having any more sweets!’ Sent me hyper they did. But I like to get sweets now and again. And like scoff em all.”
“Ha! Me too…!”
“Yeah! Maybe I need that energy rush.. Every now and again. I dunno…”
“Maybe.. Nice to meet you, I’m getting off now…”
“Well a happy Christmas to you missus!! And don’t eat too much chocolate!”
I met up with Doreen this morning on the bus to work this morning. Doreen worked for social services for 20 years as an escort and took LB to school for about 2 years five or six years ago. We loved Doreen. She was sitting with Sam who was on his way to work in the café at Oxford Brookes. It turns out Sam used to go to LB’s school so we did a lot of catching up with different kids from the past.
D: Oh yes, we used to pick up Ben T at Radley Way and then go on to Rose Hill for Sarah H, she was a funny one and then back to Barton for Tom L. Then there was James C…
S: James C? Awww… you’re kidding me! I know James C from Anjali Dance Group.
D: Yeah, James C and then Donna T, do you remember? She was at Saxon House for a while.
S: Donna T? Yes. Oh you’re kidding me! [hehehe]
D: And then there was Terry W…
S: Terry W? You’re kidding me! Oh you’re kidding me right! I know Terry W from Mencap.
D: Terry W yes. I saw him recently in town. He came over and gave me a great big bear hug, as he does. But the person he was with told him off for talking to strangers. He said to her ‘That ain’t no stranger. That’s Doreen’. I don’t know. I see ‘em now and they’re all so grown up, but I still got photos of a lot of a lot of ‘em. Anyway, I’m getting off here. Nice to see you both.
S: Do you know Joan M?
Me: Yep, I know Joan M. Do you know Danny F?
S: Danny F? You’re kidding me! I know Danny from Mencap. Mencap. Terry W. was in town. Why did the carer do that? They were wrong. Terry knew the lady sitting here. He knew her and they were wrong to say ‘don’t talk to strangers’. She wasn’t a stranger. Fucking outrageous. They were wrong. Do you know Daisy?
I’ve been ‘commuting’* for about six months now since our department moved into town next to the station. Twenty minute bus ride to the High Street and a 10 minute walk or a 30 minute bus ride all the way there.
Who’d have thought such a short, local journey could be eventful? First there was “Get off the bus, missus”. And here is the sequel. As usual, freshly hatched but, to keep things lively, a different bus company.
So I caught the bus to the station this morning. Sat upstairs, all cosy at the back. Busying myself on my ipad.
“HELLO! HELLO! Everyone on the bus! Hello, this the driver!”
“HELLO! This is the driver speaking to everyone on the bus!”
Silence. Way too awkward to shout back “Hello”. Shudder.
“I’m running very late so those of you who plan to go to the station, it would be great if you could get off on the High Street and catch the next bus.”
Two minutes later the bus juddered to a halt at the bottom of the High Street.
“HELLO. ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? THIS IS THE DRIVER. GET OFF THE BUS. EVERYONE. OFF THE BUS NOW.”
Cripes. We all shuffled towards the staircase.
“No. I won’t”, I said, jokingly to the people queuing up next to me.
* Not sure if it counts as a commute when it’s about a 5 mile journey, but it’s a bus ride instead of walking.
This is a bit of a saucy one, so be warned…. Richy Rich and I were coming back from London on a very busy bus, one Sunday morning. We were both listening to music on headphones and chilling out, when the bus stopped at Shepherd’s Bush. Richy leant across to me and said in a very, very loud voice; “Have you ever had a shepherd in your bush, dear?” Continue reading