I got the bus home from work yesterday. I sat upstairs and had, basically, the whole top deck to myself. Well, I had it all to myself once the guy with the really long beard and the chain mail wristbands got off the bus. Surprisingly, I also felt a little bit safer once he left. Although a part of me was wondering what the chain mail was for apart from, obviously, deflecting sword blows using only his fore-arms.
But, as I was sitting upstairs, reading my book and fighting the urge to fall asleep, a man and a woman got on the bus. They sat downstairs but, I assume, somewhere close to the stairs leading up to the top deck. I say this because I could hear every single word they said.
And it only got better when the conversation turned to exchanging contact details.
“I have a really easy mobile phone number,” said the man, loudly. “It’s really easy to remember!” And then he recited the number, incredibly loudly. And you know what, it is easy to remember. I could actually tell you what the number is right now. I won’t, because that wouldn’t be fair – to broadcast a complete stranger’s phone number across the internet – but him shouting it out on the bus seemed to be absolutely fine. I wondered, if I waited long enough, he’d reveal his bank details. Sadly this wasn’t to be the case.
There may have been a reason he was bellowing his number out. It may be the woman he got on with was a little bit deaf, or chose to sit further away than the adjacent seat. Or it may just have been that he’s one of those people who has a hard time regulating the volume of his voice. Like Brian Blessed. Only a Brian Blessed that doesn’t climb mountains, choosing instead to travel around on the peasant wagon.
And while I was sitting there mentally taking note of this man’s phone number, an idea started to creep into my mind. I had – still have, technically – this man’s phone number. This loud, loud man’s number. I, by my being a passenger on the bus, was privy to this information. Something which, you’d think, I should only know if I was an acquaintance of the fellow or was, say, a form upon which he had to write his contact details.
But I had his number.
Would it be wrong for me, squirreled away on the top deck of the bus, to enter his number into my phone and compose a text message. Something along the lines of, “Hello! You don’t know me, but thanks to the booming qualities of your voice I now have the means to communicate with you and would like to take this opportunity to respectfully ask you to use your indoor voice.”
Or, probably because I’d be riding the crest of an adrenalin wave as I knew what I was doing was wrong, “I’m sorry, can you please STOP SHOUTING!!!”
I didn’t do that though.
But I wanted to.