On the Buses

It seems to be the done thing around here to complain about the buses. Some of the complaints I agree with (the fares seem excessive when compared with the rest of Scotland) and some I don't (buses run late because of traffic jams, roadworks, accidents and blizzards, not because of spite). But for all the grumpy drivers (wouldn't you be grumpy if your day was spent stuck in traffic jams?) and idiot passengers (who doesn't love listening to a teenage girl sob because she superglued jewellery to her face and now it won't come off?) I'm actually very fond of the buses.

Not the bus providers. Buses, the form of public transport.

It all started when I was a little girl living in Inverness.

I clearly remember the first time I ever felt grown up and responsible: for some reason, my mother decided she didn't want to sit through The Care Bears Movie 2 (I know, right?!) so she let me go to the cinema on my own. And the second time I ever felt grown up and responsible was when she let me go to the cinema on my own and catch the bus back home! Being able to find the stop, knowing which bus to catch, having the right money to pay my way home, WOW - I could not have felt more capable.

A few years later, I was a teenager living in the middle of nowhere. The nearest Place to Do Stuff was Edinburgh and it was two hours away by bus. By cold, toiletless bus. By tends-to-break-down-on-the-mountains-in-the-snow bus (okay, so that only happened twice). And I caught that bus every chance I had. Almost every Saturday for years I spent two hours on the bus up to Edinburgh, another two hours on the bus back home, and a few hours in between wandering around bookstores and back streets and vintage shops, imagining befriending arty undergraduates with really long stripey scarves. The bus was my means of escape.

But most of all, most of all, the reason I am fond of the buses is this:

A few years ago, I started a job in an industrial estate on the very edge of town. Within a couple of weeks I realised that I was getting on the bus to work at the same stop as this blond guy about my age, that I was getting off the bus to work at the same stop as this blond guy about my age, that we were walking the same route into the industrial estate at the same speed as one another, that we worked in the same building. In fact, he worked two offices down from me.

It was getting uncomfortable, the silence between us. This guy and I were basically going to work together; we were travelling home together at the end of the day. We spent the walk from the bus stop to the office taking it in turns to slow down or speed up so we could keep a few metres between us because otherwise we'd be walking in one another's company. Silently.

It was awkward and eventually I said as much.

And so I met my friend, Martin. We spent weeks chatting on our journeys to and from work; we had a bunch of tastes and interests in common; we got on well enough that when he needed somewhere to stay he moved into my spare bedroom - but that's another story. The important point is that, at some point, I told him that my taste in men tended to tall, skinny, ginger geeks.

"Ah," he said, "you'd love my friend Steve. I'll have to introduce you sometime."

A few weeks later he did. And he was absolutely right.


4 comments

  1. Great post - love the story about meeting your guy! I don't drive, so use the buses a lot. The think I love most is the little snippets of conversation that I overhear!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

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  2. Aw what a lovely story! Damn I gotta start taking buses, they are ridiculously priced here tho! Btw my awesome polka dot duvet cover came from Ikea, totally didnt click that it matched my pjs until that day! :)

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  3. I am a huge fan of buses - though my attempts to get into work this morning did test my love slightly. Loving this entry :)

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  4. 'Course... then Steve came home this evening ranting because his farecard hadn't worked...

    Thanks everyone :)

    And, ooh, yes, I love listening in to other people's conversations on the bus!

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