Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Bus From Drumsleet

It is my task and pleasure, gentle readers, to take at least four autobuses a day backwards and forwards from the picturesque hamlet of Penpont to my work in the vast sprawling post industrial sump town of Drumsleet where I am employed to teach tousled headed children the finer points of the Unification of Germany or the religious schisms underlying the revolt of the United Provinces from the Holy Roman Empire in the 16th century.

These bus journeys are usually dry affairs, the only small pleasure to be gained being from reading timetable alterations or from the invention of nicknames for the travelers who every morning come down from the impenetrable bayous of the Upper Nith valley with their goats and chickens to sell at market. These include ‘Man-Woman’, ‘Square- Arse’, ‘Jimmy Clithero’, ‘Mike the Maddo’, ‘Old Leather Heid’, ‘Sister Barbara’, ‘Smokey’, ‘Mary Tudor’, ‘Cro-Magnon’, ‘Sally Stacked’ and ‘Billy One-Eye’.

Recently, however, my routine has been interrupted. For two days a week one of my buses has been driven by the WORST TEMPERED BASTARD IN THE WORLD. This man drives the shuttle bus that picks me up from Penpont and deposits me at my connection in Thornhill. This is a two mile journey, which should take five minutes and should be a calm prelude for the main journey to come. It was immediately apparent, however, on first entering this driver’s bus that here was a man on the very limit of his endurance and sanity. This morning, as illustration, he screeched to a halt at my quiet bus stance and frantically began pummeling at the lever to open the door. Even muffled by the considerable bulk of the bus I could hear him screaming PIECE OF FUCKING SCRAP OPEN UP YOU BASTARD. When the bus door began to move, he threw himself into the tiny gap, wrenching and kicking at it until it opened fully. Mopping his forehead with a rag he then resumed his seat, scorning my attempt to pay the fare. They should be fucking paying you to come on this, he muttered darkly before roaring off through the village at well over the accepted speed limit. Having aimed at and just narrowly missed another car’s wing mirror as it attempted to maneuver from the pavement he turned round, wholly disregarding the road in front, and shouted LOOK AT THAT FUCKING IDIOT SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED TO DRIVE THE FUCKING TWAT COULD KILL SOMEONE JESUS. A few minutes elapsed and then he could be heard bemoaning, to no-one in particular, the lot of the working man. Toothless unions, he muttered grimly, that bitch Margaret Thatcher. I SAY, turning round again to scream down the cabin, THAT BITCH’LL GO TO HEAVEN AND THEY’LL TELL HER GO TO THE OTHER PLACE WHERE IT’S HOT AND HERE’S A SHOVEL. BLOODY BITCH. When she’s buried, I SAY WHEN SHE’S BURIED I’LL DANCE ON THE COW’S GRAVE JUST TO KEEP HER DOWN THERE.

I do feel that this man cannot possibly continue to function at such a finely tuned pitch of desperation and rage and pray that the psychiatric department of Stagecoach buses intervenes before it loses a committed and articulate employee.