A daunting experience.
Not because I have any issues with her driving. Not at all. She’s a fine driver. Perhaps a little speed demon but I have no problems with Mrs Grump having the car.
But I do really. You see if Mrs Grump needs the car, it is there. Always. No questions asked. But that means I’ve got to get the bus to work:
Ah the bus. It’s nice to travel on you again.
How I’ve reminisced of waiting for you in the charred remains of a bus stop in Dudley and yet, today I get a chance to take shelter in the exceptional high quality cover of the aforementioned bus stop. It would be nice to take shelter from the wind but for the missing panes of shatter proof glass that appear to have been shattered or stolen but it’s ok. We’ll call it air conditioning.
It is an overload for all the senses as I feel the breeze on my face, admire the spit on the floor next to what look like toe nails, hear the delightful conversation of my two co-travellers talking about their 15 year old friend expecting their third baby and what is that delightful aroma I can smell? Mmmmm piss.
No wonder as I make eye contact with the drivers of passing vehicles do I sense a brief sympathy from their cosy drivers seat. Or perhaps they are really sniggering at me.
But I wasn’t waiting for long. Not quite within the 12 minute window that the timetable stated. But still, 18 minutes for a bus that’s supposed to arrive every 9-12 minutes isn’t that bad. The fine warm greeting I was welcomed with as I entered the bus was well worth the wait. The driver was all smiles in a kind of angry, down turned mouth, furrowed brow kind of way and I think it’s wonderful that Network West Midlands give these sort of people a chance and employ them. Many jobs would find it impossible to employ a man who lacks even the most basic communication skills in a customer facing role. It must be such a delight for anyone who also speaks in the very rare language of “Grunt” to be able to converse and get the most up to date travel information from the driver. Grunt is after all a very rare dialect.
This is not the driver of my bus. He looks like a nice man.
The downstairs of the bus is full so I shall head up to the pent house on the top floor and after finding a seat that didn’t look as stained as the others, I sat myself down to the relief of my buttocks who relish the comfort and satisfaction of sitting on a seat with the padding beaten to almost dust like thickness. There’s a lot to be said for sitting on something so solid.
No, I was comfortable and looking forward to this rare treat.
I assume it is Network West Midlands policy that first class seating (upstairs) doesn’t endure the loud, deafening sound of the diesel engine like the economy class passengers downstairs. Their faint coughs from the emitting fumes could be heard from below. Instead, in house entertainment is provided by a member of staff on the back seat. You can always spot them as they all wear the same uniform. It must be the Network West Midlands entertainment division with signature cap and tracksuit. The sound of the energy infusing, pumping bass through those tweeter speakers of the mobile phone, playing some sort of urban, fresh, rap, shit is really creative. Especially when it is accompanied by dazzling special effects. Namely, the smoke effects being blown out by the special effects team also sat at the back. The light emitted from the cigarette or spliff as they take a drag and then blow out the concoction of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide and if we’re really lucky, marijuana. It really does add to the whole experience.
What can I say? I was so glad that I hadn’t got a short hop to make and felt that I was really making the most of the £2 that I had spent for this pleasure. They don’t give change on this bus but it’s ok. I didn’t want it. I know a bargain when I see it and I was going to enjoy this ride to work through gritted teeth and exuberant grimace.
To be continued…………………