Sometimes it pleases me to take the bus to nowhere special. I sit on the top deck, at the back. The seat you choose on the bus is a clear indicator of your position on the snakes and ladders board of morality. When you are on the bus there is nothing you can do about it. It’s another place, suspended animation, and all you can do is sit back and wait for your stop. People can’t help but nod off, morning and night, against their will. Sleeping on the bus is like lapsing into a series of short comas. I like to watch them as their heads loll until the bus jolts and clunks their skulls against the window or they snort awake of their own accord and slyly wipe away their drool. Some winter nights when the heaters are working, the natal throb of the engine lulls us all to sleep, the whole top deck enchanted in our scarves and rain-damp coats. The bus is best in the winter. In the summer it smells of corned beef and testicle sweat.
I sit up there on the top deck and I look in through people’s windows, catch glimpses of the Other through half-drawn curtains. I like to see where they sleep. Sometimes, though, there are girls behind me talking about ISAs and weddings and what they are going to have for their tea, or gobshite chavs spread-eagled one to a seat listening to tinny trance on their mobile phones, and I can’t concentrate on my spying for thinking about standing up and turning round and exposing myself to them, pulling my trousers right down to my knees and showing them everything.