This isn't because only my guitar will agree to travel with me, although if you've read any of my other posts about what happens to me on buses, you would be forgiven for thinking this. (Check out the 'Me on the buses' posts and make yourself feel better about your life.)
Anyway, I'm here to tell you that if you get on a bus with a guitar, don't expect a quiet ride home. Or to maintain any kind of good reputation in your local area.
'Got your violin, then?' one old chappie said, chortling, as I sat down on one of the seats at the front where you're sideways on to the rest of the passengers. (I always hate this. My profile isn't my best feature, which is a shame, as it's actually my face. I would prefer to be able to say, 'My navel is not my best feature' or 'One of the toes on my right foot is not my best feature.' My face? - that's kind of public.)
So, the old man's chortling away, waiting for my reply. I just wish people who know they can't hear your answers wouldn't strike up conversations. Maybe he was a dentist before he retired.
'It's not a violin,' I said. 'It's a guitar.'
'It's a car? Looks like an instrument to me. Ha ha. A violin?'
'No, not a violin. A guiTAR.'
'Pardon? Speak up, lass.'
By now, everyone further down the bus knew there were, at the front, a) a woman with a guiTAR; b) a very deaf man; c) a situation potentially more interesting than just turning your bus ticket over and over until you reach your stop.
'I said, it's a guiTAR.'
'Is it a double bass?'
'No, a guiTAR.'
Okay, there was nothing for it, but to mime. Hopefully, he'd get the point. So I laid the guitar case on my lap and strummed away at it. I just wish I hadn't chosen a moment at which the bus had stopped and thirteen other passengers were boarding, all wondering why I was pretending to play a guitar case. And at this point, the old guy seemed to have lost interest for a while and was staring out of the window as though he had nothing to do with the situation. Thanks, granddad. I owe you one.
Everyone moved down the bus, steering well clear of the dork strumming a bag.
Which is when, of course, my persecutor decided he still wasn't satisfied.
'What is it?'
'A guiTAR. See?' I said, still strumming. (By the now, the repetitive action was a sort of comfort. You know, like rocking backwards and forwards in your cot, or banging your head against a wall.)
'Oh, it's a guiTAR!' And then he started to mime. Only he didn't have a guitar. He had a musical walking stick. Now we are a band. Yay! What shall we sing?
'It's a guitar,' he repeated.
'That's right. A guitar. Guitar.' I don't know why I kept repeating 'a guitar' too. I was beginning to lose all sense of reality.
'Where have you been playing that, then? In a pub?' he said. (Oh, please, no more, no more.)
'NO. AT CHURCH.'
'It hurts? Why does it hurt? Is it very heavy?'
There are days when bus travel goes well, folks. Honestly, there are.
|Yeah, so it was two o'clock in the morning, and the guitar weighed a ton, and she'd walked for miles to get home. But compared to being interrogated by rabid octogenarians, it was bliss.|