It’s been a while, but today was the first day I took a bus to and from any sort of employment.
I’ll probably mention more about the job at a later date, but it was absolutely brilliant to know that no matter how long you’re away from bus-based commuting, nothing really changes.
As you may or may not remember from my past employment-filled life, the bus journeys home used to be a source of pure unadulterated pleasure. Who can forget that time a girl changed her trousers in the aisle. Or that time a man dropped his knife when he was getting on. Or the guy who got off the bus at the White Rose Centre to have a piss against the wall and then got back on as if nothing had happened. Or the time…
You get the idea.
So here we are, twelve months down the line and I’m on a bus home from a few hours of induction into the wonderful world I get to play in now and it’s like I’ve never been away. It might be a different bus, on a different route, with a much shorter journey but it still has the potential to provide everything you could possibly need to fill your day.
Basically, the bus home contained a preacher.
Who went up and down the bus telling each and every one of us how we could find eternal life. Repeatedly. I mean, his teachings weren’t particularly startling in terms of their content. It boiled down to understanding the word of whichever book your chosen denomination happened to follow. I mean, I could have gone up and down the bus doing that, and I don’t have a religious bone in my body.
And, of course, this came at a price. At one point, the bus just stopped – engine off – in the middle of a lane of traffic. The driver refused to move until our travelling evangelist had stopped offering his sermon. It wasn’t quite the confrontation that anyone was expecting, mind.
“You have two choices,” the driver said, filled with the authority that effectively holding a bus full of passengers hostage brings. “You either stop the sermon, or this bus goes nowhere.”
And lo, the man did turn to the person who had questioned the word of the Lord and did say, “What ya talkin’ about? I’m getting off at the next stop.”
Which was, to bring some clarity to proceedings, about twenty feet from where we were stopped in silent protest.
There’s not a lot you can do in that sort of situation. Aside from restart your bus, drive twenty feet and let the preacher get off. As ways to assert your authority go, it’s probably not the best example of its kind.