Buses and Bitching…

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I know – nothing to do with the words of the title..but I like butterflies…

As ever, buses remain a constant source of entertainment and material to me. There is something about the encapsulated of forty or so people contained within a vehicle that makes the magic happen…

I have three little gems to present to you. The other week I was on the bus into town to meet Alex, who had come over from Loughborough for a few days. Downstairs was packed with pushchairs and pensioners, so I decided to climb the stairs to the upper deck, ticket clenched firmly in teeth Errol Flynn style at his swashbuckling finest, shopping bag gripped tightly in fist, I swung nimbly up the stairs and collapsed into the first available seat.

(“Nimbly?” O.K. maybe “with panic” would be better as these drivers never wait until you’re seated before driving away… one of these days I just know I’ll come rolling back down the stairs like an armadillo to lie at the feet of an unsuspecting O.A.P…”Whatcha doin’ down there luv…bit of a fall?” Anyway, I digress…)

I settled myself, had a mouthful of water, spilling most of it down my front and sat back to gaze out of the window and tune in…

“… yes, but my dentist isn’t very pleased with me – said the fuel rots my gums…”

Bingo! I homed in on that snippet.

Yes, because when you do fire-eating – I taught myself by the way – you have to hold the petrol in your mouth. I’ve done a few Light Nights (I’ll just bet you have!!) but obviously I can’t make fire-eating the whole act because of Health and Safety, so I do yo-yo tricks, juggling…”

A loud, strident voice breaks in:

“… but I only removed her from the group chat! I didn’t say anything bad about her – just put a laughing face emoji – and now I’m being called in for bullying her! You have to tell them I’m not a bully – she just read the post wrong…”

The bus pulled up at the changeover point where drivers swap routes, and the shift changes.

Are you all right then?”

Yeah, not too bad. Yourself?”

Oh these bloody new buses! I can’t reach the pedals!”

Someone else said that the other day – who makes these things? Do you want me to pull the seat forward for you?”

Yeah, I’m only 5’6”,” said the driver, a small, frail-looking chap.

Not a problem for me,” said the other driver, a strapping bloke, who proudly declared:

I’m 6’4”!”

Gentlemen – size really doesn’t matter as long as you reach your destination…!

“Well You Can Tell By The Way I Use My Walk…”

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This song lyric – thank you Bee Gees – illustrates beautifully the subject of today’s post… I seem to be heading towards a theme of “The Human Body In Song”… bear with me …

The way a person walks can tell an observer a lot about them. When I last visited London, for example, I walked with such determination and purpose (apparently!) I was asked for directions several times. I had absolutely no idea where I was going, most of the time, but sometimes a little “fakery” is called for.

Dog walkers are another interesting example. I see one man walk his dog regularly. What’s wrong with that, I hear you ask…Well, nothing, apart from the fact that is all he does. The dog is held on a short lead and marched around the block, with no time to stop, or sniff, read his surroundings… I find it sad.

When I walk Erin for my mother, we stop every few yards to look, sniff, comment… (“Don’t touch that. It’s dirty… oh yes, there’s a new skip full of rubbish, we’ll just have a look inside… see if there’s anything useful…” this is me, by the way, as I deliver a general running monologue to the dog…)

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We meander along quite happily, stopping to look in the bookies – it holds a strange fascination for Erin – and then we have to run quickly back. No idea why, it’s just what we do… part of the fun of the walk.

I am always interested to see women walking in high heels, slightly envious too, since after a foot operation I can’t wear them myself. You have the girls who “work it” and manage their heels beautifully; but I remember seeing one poor girl limping rather badly and bravely trying to disguise it. I just wanted to go over and press a few plasters into her hands…

But yes, there’s quite a variety of ways of getting from A to B on foot… the slipper shuffle, the leaning forward intense rush “don’t get in my way”, the mother and child drag, the stomp, the stride… My son remarked on the way I walk, toes pointing forwards, feet straight… I replied somewhat irascibly:

Well, how else am I supposed to get where I’m going??”

Then, to my embarrassment, both my sons continued watching my feet… I fell over as my feet became self-conscious…

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There is something about action, movement that catches the eye… As both my sons are over six foot tall I am always drawn to how tall men walk… you get the apologetic “Oh really, I’m taking up too much space” hunch over or the commanding “I’m here and you know it” careless stride, a contained sense of power… loose in the hip but with a certain attractive strength. A good example is the film “Independence Day”, the almost last scene, where Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith are walking away from the alien spacecraft they’ve just landed after saving Earth and the whole of humanity. Both tall men, fantastic actors… great walkers…

Me? Well, I bought these fantastic work out shoes with memory foam soles, comfortable and quiet, so I can move as silently and elegantly as one of my cats… just don’t look at my feet!

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