The doctor told me this week that I can drive again (hooray!). Last weekend though, I couldn’t and I’d booked myself in at the hairdressers. I was feeling a bit cross that, rather than jump in the car and whizz up the road for 10 minutes, I’d have to wander to the bus stop and spend 25 minutes watching the word go by. As it turns out though, it was the best bus trip ever (I admit, I only have a handful to chose from, but still…).
First, I met Audrey at the bus stop. It turns out that Audrey lives down my road, on her own and, being rather short, has issues with changing light bulbs. I have offered to help whenever required and in return I heard all about her cats, nephew and childhood at the other end on Bumpkinsville.
At the next stop, Shirley got on. Everyone, bus driver included, was most surprised to discover Shirley was only going as far as Bumpkinstown as usually on a Saturday she does a 2 hour journey to a town much further away. Shirley ‘wasn’t feeling her best’ today though, so was just going to do her shopping locally.
Three stops later and the elderly people in the ‘priority seats’ moved to make way for some even more elderly passengers. By this stage the volume was loud. So loud, that the ladies behind me had to make a real effort to tell me about where their daughters lived, how many grandchildren they had and how often they saw them.
A few stops later and a big shiny Range Rover had parked so badly that the bus had a matter of centimetres to spare to get past. I led the applause as the driver managed to pass without hitting it.
At the next stop a gentleman got on and told me that he would be sitting next to me as I was a credit to the sun shiny day that it had turned out to be. He then sung to me and told me jokes for the rest of my journey. The annoyed the two ladies behind as it made it even more difficult for them to tell me about where they had lived and worked as younger women…
When I’d got on the bus I’d asked the driver where the nearest stop was to the hairdressers (knowing it was a good 10 minute walk away, but hopeful he might stop at a slightly closer one, not on the timetable). He told me to ring the bell when we were close and he’d stop a bit nearer. As we approached, I interrupted my neighbours serenade to try to get out of my seat (bus moving, wobbly older gentleman and bags involved, this was a bit tricky), and rung the bell as instructed. I’m pretty sure it’s not allowed, but the driver stopped on the road a few steps from the hairdresser and smiled at me. It was almost a taxi service.
I turned round as I got off the bus and everyone – that’s a full bus – waved goodbye to me.
Now, it might have taken 3 times as long as if I’d driven, but I bet if I had gone in my car, I wouldn’t have been smiling quite as much when I arrived. I might have my licence back, but maybe I’ll get the bus occasionally anyway. It was a very smiley experience! :o)
This story makes me very smiley too – how wonderful people can be! This story also makes me miss home, where many people stop to talk to each other and look out for each other. There’s a lot in London, but it’s often missing this kind of head-up, outward-looking, open loveliness.
I couldn’t agree more. And at least it helps us appreciate the loveliness more when it happens :o)