Meet Amii. She's one of us. A bus rider. Here is her story.
I live in Central Scotland, in a town between Edinburgh and Glasgow, and outside Stirling. Being beside these major cities, you'd assume the public transport services would be efficient? WRONG. At even the slightest hint of snow or gales the service operators freak out and close everything down. This March, after a really bad winter, we went into total shutdown because the RAIN was heavy. You'd think, considering Scotland's infamous reputation for having four seasons in one day half the time, we'd be used to this and have solutions? Nope.
So, now I've painted you a lovely picture of where I live, imagine this; I'm standing at a bus stop, in the pouring rain, wind blowing spray into my face, trying to hide under the measly bus shelter, waiting on another bus. Yes, another, as the first one decided waiting for a girl with a pram and screaming, tired baby was just too much and drove past me, and the second switched his 'Not In Service' flag on two minutes before he rolled past.
I've already come off another bus to come up to the town centre, and that took me from my 'lovely' little temporary housing flat in the middle of Junkiesville, after I'd waited at the stop 20 minutes listening to two men drunkenly square up to eachother on a Wednesday afternoon, a toddler repeatedly shouting 'SHIT, MUM, LOOK, I'M SAYING SHIT, SHIT CAT, SHIT HOUSE, SHIT DOG, BABY SHIT' or something to that effect, while his mother blabbered away on her phone ignoring him - not that the bus ride was much better, as unfortunately I got stuck next to a handsome fella we nicknamed Captain Gid Hat Glasses Man. (See dictionary definition of 'gid' here; http://gid.urbanup.com/755050, used sarcastically of course...)
Captain Gid Hat Glasses Man (let's call him Cap'n Specs for short) is an obese, smelly, dirty chap who always wears the same bobble hat with llamas knitted onto it, the same filthy red cardigan, bright green glasses, and trousers that are too big that bare his hairy arse crack, which is always speckled with something I HOPE is dirt. Even breathing through my mouth, I could still feel myself retching because all I can smell is BO, burnt onions and poop. My little boy screamed the whole half hour bus journey, and Phone Woman's little boy is still cursing at the top of his lungs.
Back to the beginning of the tale now; I'm still at the bus stop. I'm getting more and more pissed off as time goes on, as cars pass, and as my son screams louder. Nothing's calming him down. Eventually, the bus turns up, and the usual process happens; the driver doesn't lower the bus, I struggle to lift the pram on, the bus driver scowls and mutters under his breath after I pay my fare in 20 pence coins, and an elderly woman grumbles about prams taking up disabled spaces (don't get me started, I've fought with this woman over this matter before!). I'm yet again wondering why I'm making this bloody godforsaken journey to my mum's house for dinner, and thinking murderous thoughts about the junkie who's clearly going through his gear in a black bag across from me - it's almost the exact same nightmare every time, like a really bad, expensive recurring dream.
As we reach the village, the junkie sits next to me. I can practically smell the methadone rolling off him. He comes up close, and then hooks his fingers through my tunnel in my ear and yanks it, pulling me with it, and slurs, "So, wha'ssat fur? Puttin' bottle caps through?"
Enough is enough, I storm to the front and throw us off the bus, buggy and all, even though my mum's house is still a 15 minute walk away. As I walk, I can feel the frustrations of the day building up, and my eyes tear up. I stop to rest on a wall, put the pram's brakes on, and throw my face into my hands, ready to burst into tears. I feel a little tug on my sleeve, and look up. My little boy is looking at me, his bright blue-green eyes are filled with curiosity and his little button nose is scrunched up as if he's concentrating.
"What's up, baby boy?" I ask, trying to calm myself. He thinks a little more, looks around, then beams at me as he utters his first word, which makes the day's awful journey with those horrible people, the money problems, and the sadness melt away.
One of the worst and best days of my life!
Thanks for sharing, Amii! :)
If you want to participate in the global public transit hate-fest, if you have a funny bus story, or any tips and tricks to surviving the proletariot chariot, email me at novaisawesome(at)gmail(dot)com. I'd love to hear your story.