take one woman with low self esteem, but quite good hair
add one moronic illness
stir in some medication which causes hair to fall out
mix it all up and this is what you get...

Friday, June 13, 2008

On the buses 

I walk to the bus stop.

At the end of my road, the man with clippity-cloppity shoes and the close-fitting, slightly shiny suit approaches from the left, just as he did the day before. I am just ahead of him as I turn right towards the station, but am aware of his noisy footfalls just behind me - too close for comfort. Inevitably, I will cross the road to allow him to walk at his, slightly faster, pace.

As I turn left, up the hill, I note that he has now forged ahead. He has an air of confidence about him as he strides along, head held high. I suspect he is a lawyer.

At the top of the hill, I cross the busy junction and enter the park, near the modern statue. From this point on, I can see the road ahead running perpendicular to my trajectory. I have several minutes to contemplate the potential buses I could miss as they come from right to left in my field of vision - still a little too far away to run for. I curse my perfect eyesight, which allows me to notice such distant occurrences.

I approach the war memorial and the gaggle of schoolgirls who loiter there, smoking, chatting, flirting with the boys. The other day, as I walked past, I heard one saying: "I like your top." I'd assumed she was talking to her friend, but turned around to find that she was looking at me. "I like your top," she says again. Her tone of voice has the natural surliness of a teenager, and I'm not sure whether to take her comment at face value. I give her the benefit of the doubt. "Thanks," I smile, and continue on my way.

The long-haired guy is there, at the bus stop, as usual, with his lanky ponytail and laptop bag. Bound to work in IT. Bound to be a heavy metal fan. (I feel qualified to judge on both counts, since I am in the former category and I live with the latter). His attempt at business casual extends to substituting shabby, black trousers for his no-doubt habitual jeans.

The tall guy loiters anxiously, never stopping to sit on the insubstantial and rather uncomfortable looking bench within the shelter. Sometimes, I join him in the shade - the bus shelter being in direct sunlight, uncomfortable on warm mornings.

On the bus now, I notice the short, smiling, balding man, whose trousers are too short. An underwriter, perhaps. Or an actuary. He gets on half-way up the road, by the common. I hear him speaking to a friend - his car is out of action, which is why he's taking the bus. He grins happily for the entire journey. The novelty of taking the bus has not yet worn off.

Already on the bus is the young guy with red-dyed hair and quirky dress sense, who works at the same place as me. Customer services call centre. And he is there again, at the bus stop for the journey home. Another bus stop you can see for several tantalising minutes as you approach it via the large expanse of the supermarket car park. The long-haired, ponytail man is also there, as is the Louis Theroux lookalike whom I sometimes see.

The short, smiling, balding man just makes it onto the bus in time and soon we are heading back into town again. The huge, muscular, unlikely looking jogger is in his usual place, his black skin glistening with sweat, clutching two water bottles which look frosted, as if they'd been put in the freezer beforehand.

As we arrive back in the City Centre, I consider getting another bus home, but my ticket only allows me to take the blue buses. Countless white buses are going in my direction, but the blues are fewer and further between and yes, I can just see the other bus stop - a blue one has just pulled away.

I walk. I need the exercise.

I arrive home to Big, and the cat who now belongs to us. The cat inevitably does something amusing, and I smile and have a cup of tea.

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