'It's all over, the friend's stage...'

The Buses I'd left work and made the usual five minute dash to the bus stop on the other end of town so that can get home at a reasonable hour (if I go to the stop near work I then have to sit as it crawls through traffic -- by going this way I'm essentially heading it off at the pass). Sure enough when I get there, the bus is already there and I start to queue up behind about four other people. I glance across at the bus and it's basically empty, a few empty seats here and there. But people are standing at the entrance to the bus and a but up the isle, there is a gap then some more people bunched up at the back.

I get that relieved feeling that I've having killed myself getting there for no reason. Then I hear someone say:
'He's not letting any more on.'
My work addled brain snaps to attention as I hear the driver say:
'No more room.'
Now somewhere within me something breaks. I don't know if it was the adrenalin from the run, the wierd disappointment you get when this happens or the fact that I'm sick to death of buses in Liverpool, but I pushed forward and stepped onto the bus anyway.
'Hold on a minute.'
'No more room.'
I glance up the bus. It's not empty, but there still enough places for the three or four people who were standing there.
'But there is room.' I say. 'It just needs for some people to move up.'
He looks up the bus and shakes his head. I start to gesture madly -
'Look - there's a gap halfway up the isle. With the greatest respect it just needs for them to move up and we can all get on.' Or words to that effect. To be honest, much of what happened is a blare. What I do know is that I was strong and firm, but I didn't swear. I'm proud of that at least.
'With the greatest respect', the driver says turning my words back at me. 'I don't even have to let people stand if I don't want to.'
I looked at the passengers. A couple had obviously been listening and moved up a bit finally. But most of them were looking at me. I could tell what they were thinking, because I probably would have been thinking the same thing.
'What's your problem? It's only a bus. There'll be another one along in a minute.'
I turned to view people at the bus stop. The queue I was defending had dissipated and everyone else had that same thought.
'What's your problem? It's only a bus. There'll be another one along in a minute.'
In my Fawlty-like haze I now felt like I needed to justify myself.
'All I'm saying is that if people moved down the bus there would be plenty of room for the three of us who were standing here to get on.'
'And the bus is still full.' He said with the kind of cheese-eating grin of someone who has the upper hand.
'Right.' I said. 'I want your number. What's your number.' By now I have branch of the tree and I'm hitting it all over the car. I repeated the number.
I got off the bus.
'Make sure you've got the right time.' He said sarcastically. 'Five-past-five.'
'RIGHT!' I said as he closed the door and drove away.
The people at the stop are still glancing over at me. I turn to someone nearby -- who had been in the queue I was trying to defend.
'I've never kicked off like that before.' I say. She didn't register. I'm not sure she believed me.

But really were does this come from? This was bus rage. A full blown roar which seemed to appear from nowhere and got me well, nowhere. It's not in my nature really and I'm surprised I had the capacity. But given how poor the bus service tends to be in the evenings, to night after night see half empty buses driving past stops full of people waiting to go home, either because the driver is running late or he doesn't like the look of the people standing there, tends to bring out the moral crusader in you. What amazes me is that it doesn't happen more often -- that other people don't stand their ground. I'd watched a similar things happen before and I think part of me just thought - not me, not this time. I know it was silly, illogical and I made a performance of myself, and given that I couldn't really see who was on that bus for the red mist in my eyes probably ruined my reputation with somebody. And minutes afterwards I was all calmed down and trying to ring the bus company to turn the other cheek and apologise even though I'm not sure was in the wrong (didn't get through). And I realise that the reason no one else said anything but just generally looked stunned is for the reasons I outlined above: 'What's your problem? It's only a bus. There'll be another one along in a minute.' And there was. And it was packed out. But I still managed to get on it. I hope everyone is allowed one of these lapses once in their lives. [Insert cheesy Hollywood speech ending].

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:39 pm

    calm down dear, its only a commercial!