Saturday, 18 July 2009

On the Buses

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.

16 comments:

  1. How do you know what testicle sweat smells like?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like buses too. The bus does the movement, I can be the satirical observer, or just nod off. That arrangement suits me fine.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Don't do it! I tried it and you just get arrested which is no fun.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ellie - I am sad to say that I have encountered sweaty bollocks more than once. I'm just lucky like that.

    newjenny - I like the people-watching. There's always some batshit mentalist claiming a tin of Spam is a nuclear bomb or something. I once sat next to a man who tried to convince me he was Maria Callas' father.

    Paul - You're right - I can't let them send me back to the Bad Place.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Another way to make get them to stop interrupting my concentration is to ride the bus with the driver who is unafraid to stop his bus, stomp down the aisle, and call anyone who is too loud or taking up too much room a pig.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mongoliangirl - That bus driver is my hero. Next time you see him, tell him I want to marry him. I come with a dowry of two hundred paperback books and an unsettling toy monkey.

    ReplyDelete
  7. corned beef and testicle sweat is actually an old polish recipe, which is interesting that it made it over to yr geographical region. the funny thing is that it actually smells better than duck's blood soup, which smells like hot death.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Jason - 'Hot Death' is my favourite perfume. Because I'm worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The amount of times I ride the bus I have yet to see the sight of a passenger pulling down their trousers and exposing what they got, I think that is a good thing!

    I always fight to keep myself from lolling off as I fear falling into the aisle and I know the bar stewards would just leave me there.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I don't want a new bus. The old buses are the best, as you say, in winter... the engine rumble like a lancaster, the warm vents, the patchwork hessian seat pattern from a crazy old man's dream, scarred by 6th form fag burns from the glory days when you could still light one up on a bus. I'd fight a world war (with capital letters) to do that now.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Mik - I worry about talking in my sleep on the bus and divulging all the state secrets to which I am privy.

    Mantecanaut - I'm with you all the way. You bring the bayonettes, I'll bring the butties. Onward!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Dude, ball sweat is the worst.

    I sleep on the bus.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Rassles - Ball sweat no. Fresh armpit sweat on a handsome man? Mmmmm, yes.

    ReplyDelete
  14. speaking of ball sweat -- check out bono getting some of his own. :)

    http://canofwhupass.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/07/dear-bono.html

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ellie - you have made my day. Stupid Bono.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I used to view my train commute as just a little bit more nap time.

    ReplyDelete