Why I should stay in the low seats and avoid shame
Got on today and made my way clumsily to the back where the high seats are, hitting the heads of elderly ladies with my marking-stuffed rucksack. (Reasons for struggling to the back? 1. I can see out of the window from there, being a shorty. 2. People aren't looking at the back of my head and noticing the strange double crown in my parting. 3. A lady has to boost her self-esteem somehow, and it's not often I get to look down on others.)
I was just about to sit down when the bus driver started off suddenly. I lunged forward, hitting the bell with my one of my ... er ... let's just say, a soft area to the left of my sternum. (Who knows who might be reading?!) That bell went off like a siren, I swear. The timing must have confused the bus driver, because we had only just drawn away from the bus stop at which I'd got on. He was no doubt wondering which dork was so anxious about getting off that they'd pressed the bell a nano-second after the previous stop.
I had some choices to make here. Did I confess, shouting down the bus, 'It's okay, driver, don't worry, I accidentally rang the bell with one of my mammary glands?' Or did I sit down and pretend it wasn't me?
I tried to look surprised at the sound of the bell and sat down.
I assumed that, as it really was a long, long, long way until the next bus stop, the driver would have forgotten by then about the eejit with the bus-trophobia and would pass by the stop. Maybe, I hoped, someone would be at the stop anyway, waiting to get on, and then it wouldn't matter.
Of course, nobody was there. And, of course, the driver had a memory like an elephant on Ritalin, and I could sense him slowing the bus down dramatically, well before the stop. He was checking in his mirror, surprised that no one was getting up, ready to go. (Well, then, I thought - just drive on, dumbo. I put my hands in my lap, bent my head, and tried to look invisible. In the high seats, and in my bright pink scarf, and with a parting like the Red Sea gone wrong and a blush that announced, 'I PRESSED THE BELL WITH A BOOB', this wasn't easy.)
He stopped the bus and opened the doors. Still no one. I saw his shoulders lift up, hover, and then come down again in a kind of 'I may as well just work at the monkey house' way, before he shut the doors again, wrenched off the handbrake, and moved on.
You're thinking: how can she drag out a story for so long that has the basic plot of 'I pressed the bell on the bus by mistake'?
I'm telling you, I suffered on that bus journey. Every single second of it, I suffered.