Sometimes there just isn’t anything deep or meaningful to write about, and dredging around ones mind trying to force something out simply results in babble. Like today. So in place of searching for anything with a point, I will instead walk you through a typical mornings bus ride and what goes on inside my head during it. Fascinating stuff, surely.
The entire process is about watching, mentally noting and finally, of course, judgement. It begins when I arrive at the bus stop. Although the metal seating runs long enough to easily accommodate six, there are only ever three people on it, with large gaps between. This results in a queue that stretches far out of the shelter even in rainy weather, because who wants to accidentally rub against a stranger, that’s why. Feet seem to be the focus of my fellow travellers attention. Feet and a spot on the shop facia just in front of them that they stare at mournfully, presumably to avoid eye contact with another human being. Although a genuine interest in shoes and/or window displays cannot be entirely ruled out. I like to imagine that they all suffer from short term memory loss and are confused as to how these things appeared on the end of their legs. Or that they’re trying to melt the glass using only their intense gaze and hatred of anything that occurs before midday.
Eventually, the bus will arrive. Boringly inevitable as that is. We all shuffle on and take a seat, carefully spacing ourselves out to assert our individuality, until there are no lone seats available and we are forced into close contact with one of the Others. Nobody wants to interact with another person, fair enough, but it does seem a bit much to sit right on the edge of the seat so as to create a valley of distance. Though, to be fair, I’d rather that than you be so fat that you spill out over my leg. As our temporary, metal prison starts to move, the majority of its contents will start to jab at their phones. On more than one occasion I swear the person next to me wasn’t even doing anything, they were just tapping at the screen, like some sort of beak-fingered flesh creature that feeds on luminescence. Around this time I like to make fleeting eye contact with the Strangers when they look up to remind themselves why they’re looking down. You can see the terror in their eyes, the confusion on their brow. It’s quite beautiful.
After I’ve bothered a few people this way I do tend to dip into a book, which is just as much of a hiding place as a phone or tablet, but with the false impression of intellect. If you can’t make it, fake it, that’s what I say. However, should a remarkably stupid conversation strike up within earshot I will listen in. This has the dual benefit of enhancing the smug sense of superiority already seeded by the book reading, whilst also making me pleasurably aware of the inane shit people talk if they happen to end up sat by an acquaintance, just to avoid good, honest silence. Yes, I am a bit of a prick, but at least I’m aware of it. Usually the dialogue goes something along the lines of,
“Yeah, I had fish last night,”
“Fish, yeah, it’s good, fish, isn’t it,”
“I’m not a fan.”
Or something equally sparkling, vital and incisive. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t got anything interesting to say either, but then I’ve the good sense to keep my stupid mouth shut. Judgement: immense fun. Finally, we start to close in on our destination, which is work, which is awful. I remain seated while everyone else starts to get up and move to the front of the bus. Do they think it just slows down as it approaches? That they have to jump and roll? It does stop, just wait til you arrive and then get up. Who’s so keen to get to work anyway? No one. Idiots. We all thank the driver as we file off, I’m not sure why, he hasn’t driven especially well and all he’s done is the thing he has to do because it’s the thing he is employed and paid to do. I’ve never seen anyone thank a Traffic Warden or send the local police force chocolates after receiving a speeding ticket, and arguably those jobs are both harder and, in the case of punishing speeding, more important. Controversial that, I’m sure, but if you’re a driver thinking ‘speeding tickets are unjust and this man knows nothing’, fuck you, you’re a moron.
And then I’m at work. In fact, now I’m at work. So I should go.