Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Four-ninety. To. Heathrow. Terminal Five.

The bus is half-empty with most of my fellow voyagers enjoying the rarity of a double seat to themselves. I am occupying the second best seat, just beyond the rear doors, slightly raised to allow a full panorama of the equivalent of the sun rising on a beautiful day: leaving Wigley Road, Hanworth to head for Feltham Police Station. Life does not get better than this.

A corpulent, aromatic lady embarks. Displaying admirable manoeuvrability, she squeezes this way and that, a smile beginning to emerge from the facial creases of tension as she champagne corks herself out from the last pair of double seats into the "reserved for disabled/buggies/disabled buggies" oasis at the centre of the bus. My fellow passengers emit an inaudible sigh of relief, collectively acknowledging that she has chosen the optimum position for driving safety, equidistant between the axles with a low centre of gravity.

Suddenly, the bus wobbles as the heroine of this piece rises from her hands-on-knees exhaustion to a mere severe stoop. Breath regained after her initial exhaustia and with renewed aplomb, she focuses on her mountain and climbs both steps to look expectantly at the seat on the far side of me. Rotating all the folds of her neck almost in unison, she looked longingly at the seat on the other side of another passenger. Neither myself nor the passenger across the aisle understand her intent and resume the delights of Feltham as the Police Station approaches.

Huffingly, Brenda (as she is probably not known), mounts the third and final step and deposits her load on the High Chair, atop the rear axle. Momentarily, the driver is lifted into the air. Unfortunately, Brenda's mouth remains open as her thoughts flow: how rude her fellow passengers are, not offering up the seat beside them. Do these men not realise that she too has paid for this journey? Have they paid more than she and this entitles them to a double seat? How very rude of these men.

Viciously, I begin planning an off-the-cuff, cutting ad lib. With just a few seconds more required for my spontaneous outburst, my fellow passenger skips from his seat to the door in front of him as we approach the famous Police Station. Quicker than she could think of free cake, Brenda has taken his seat and let rip with a volley of mildly sexist remarks as she pointedly folded herself into a single seat, resting her chins on her bag on her knees, without the slightest bend of her neck.

Changing tack, I set my mind racing along a new line of spontaneity and remained silent as the soon-to-be-disembarking Chap responds with the most beautiful tirade of abuse, liberally scattered with f and s words. Abandoning all plans of formulating some beautiful ad libs of my own, I sat back to enjoy a good old fashioned spat. Brenda becoming more polite with each unjustified sexist utterance while the Chap upped the four-letter-word ratio to almost world record proportions.

Had there been a reputable bookmaker present, he or she would have stopped taking bets on the winner as the Chap was clearly in the right and would surely beat Brenda down with his effing and blinding. However, he fell at the last, as he was by now on the pavement, continuing the dialogue with Brenda still squashed into her seat on the bus.

Brenda: sarcastically, triumphantly: "Well I hope you have a very good day".
Chap: flummoxed, f-bomb tank empty: "Well, I hope you a very er bad day".

The bus winced as one and saw the blush rise in his cheeks as he turned towards his parole officer, a defeated man. 

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