Reasons why there should be a counselling service for those grieving over the loss of public transport

Someone play some funereal music.  I am about to grieve for a bus.

No buses have died, so technically I'm not grieving for a bus - just for the fact that I don't regularly ride on one any more now that my new job is only ten minutes walk.  In fact, if all the buses I used to ride on WERE dead, I would be happier, because that would mean that no one else was riding on buses either, so there would be no one I would be jealous of.  Or, to put it more grammatically accurately, there would be no one of whom I would be jealous.

(Using 'of whom' in a sentence describing jealousy of other riders on buses seems stoopid, so I crossed it out.)

It's true, though.  I am missing being on buses in a way I'd imagine missing my right leg (although that would be a GREAT excuse to get back on one!)  The last blog post I wrote about being on a bus was in December, because in January I started my new job.  This bus-less state is a matter of great sorrow to me.

It's no good.  The pain is overwhelming.  Please pause with me for two minutes' silence.  Excuse me if I weep throughout.

Thank you.  I appreciate your sympathy.  Does anyone have a tissue?

'What's up, my friend?'
'Oh, Picasso.  You are so kind.  I no longer take the bus, so I cannot stop weeping.'
'May I paint you?'
'Paint me?  Looking like this?  Well, if you think so .... I guess it will take my mind off my bus-free existence.'
'And it will show the world what can happen to a woman who is denied her bus.'
'Okay, then.  Go for it, Piccy.'

The thing is, the bus I used to get always passes me as I walk to work, and, compared to me, all cold and damp in the February rain, and puffing along up the hill like a 'before' advert for inhalers, everyone on the bus looks as though they're in front of a fire on a Sunday afternoon wearing thick socks and eating hot crumpets laden with melted butter.  Not only that, but I swear that one passenger held up his copy of the latest Susan Hill novel so that I could see the front cover just to GLOAT about having twenty minutes' dedicated reading time twice a day that I no longer have.  Not only that (and you can call me a fantasist if you like ....

.... you can stop now ....

.... I said, you can STOP now .....

.... okay, okay, joke OVER ......

.... thank you ....

.... as I was saying, you can call me a fantasist if you like (and you did like), but I swear the bus driver slows down as he approaches me just so's I have to look at the warm cosy passengers smiling their melted-butter smiles and showing off their copies of Susan Hill for a lot longer than absolutely necessary.  (Those of you who have read my bus posts may see this as justified revenge, but let's just draw a veil over that one.)

I guess I could make up the time by getting on a bus on Saturday mornings and staying on it for ten lots of twenty minutes which adds up to... which adds up to .... which adds up to ....... a lot of minutes, and would mean I could make up for what I'm missing in reading time.  But then on Monday when my work colleagues ask me what I did on Saturday, after saying how they'd all visited relatives or gone out to the pub or seen a film, and when I say, 'Did anyone else get on a bus just so they could read a book in the warm?' I guess there might be an awkward moment.

Maybe not, then.  Instead, I'll just carry on spending Saturdays sitting in my living room going Vroom Vroom and holding a toy steering wheel with one hand while reading Susan Hill with the other, like I have been doing.


  1. Well, here's where we differ, Fran. I think I'd be quite happy if I never got on a bus again. But then, reading on buses makes me feel sick.

    We also differ because, after not all that many years teaching English compared to my three hundred and sixty two, you have gone... slightly... loopy. No stamina, the younger generation.

    You know, depressingly (to me), if you'd lived in Prestonpans when I was teaching there, you might just have been old enough for me to teach.

  2. SURELY the care in the community bus stops right outside your house and would willingly take you away haha ?
    Anna May x

  3. I guess the bus is sort of a smorgasbord of writing inspiration but other than that, I can't relate to you much here. Just read for 10 extra minutes before bed and repeat to yourself: change is good.

  4. If I could walk to work, that'd be swell! If I could ride a bus to work, that'd be nifty! But if I had a pope-mobile, well! I'd tell them to all go to hell!

    Um. Yeah. I guess not the best poem, heh. Great post you have there!

  5. Solution: get the sack from your job and then get the bus to the job centre. Sorted.

  6. So agree, I love using public transport, though currently riding to work on my bike and really enjoying that. I love being able to people watch without having to think about where you are going or concentrate on the traffic.
    thanks for sharing

  7. I have to agree with you, bus travel is one of the great joys of life. On an almost daily basis I give thanks that I exist at the time of the confluence of free bus travel for over-60s (although the buggers will get rid of it before too long I fear) and the appearance of iPhone Apps such as "Next Bus" which tells you precisely when the next bus is due (in real time) at most bus stops. For this brief moment of time I am on the No 64 to Utopia.

  8. My daughter couldn't wait to drive having spent the past seventeen years waiting for a bus with her non driving mother.
    At least you don't get sploshed by a mean bus driver...or do you? That would REALLY add insult to injury !

  9. You miss being on a bus? Blimey, you've got me with that one! I got on a bus once and tried to upgrade to business class, but the driver said they didn't have business class, so I never went on one again.

  10. Isabelle - Me? Loopy? How CAN you?

    Anna May - And then where would they take me? That'd be round your house, then.

    dbs - in bed, I manage about 33 seconds of reading and then the print goes blurry as the Land of Nod takes over.

    Mollie - Going to work on a pope-mobile! Sounds fabulous. If a little anachronistic for an English teacher.

    Steve - you always have the best solutions.

    Martine - I'm right with you - let public transport take the strain while you relax. It's how it should be.

    Alan - there's really an App called 'Next Bus'? I am SO missing out. (Although if I got an iphone, I might miss out less....)

    bad penny - haven't been sploshed yet, but certain bus drivers in the area have good reason for that kind of revenge, so I have to watch out.

    Annie - You were the one who asked the bus inspector for another martini, weren't you?

  11. But, how do you change gear?

  12. It's a mindset thing - you have to realise that they're not gloating on the bus - they're glowering with envy - because you are out in the fresh air away from the likelihood of catching swine flu from the guy in the next seat; you are likely to be slimmer and fitter than them shortly; you're saving on busfares,saving the planet in fact, etc.......

  13. I most definitely do NOT feel for you.

    Now you're just being silly, walking is so much healthier and you actually save 10 minutes each way.

    Woud a toy bus help? You could read with one hand (or should that be eye?) and with the other (hand) you could shove the bus around. Going vroom vroom and reading shouldn't present a problem for a versatile multitasker like you who can eat olives on a bus and stick out a leg for others to stumble over at the same time.

    Thinking of that, I bet the passengers on the bus are NOT gloating; they are merely afraid that you might join them again in the future. They are keeping their heads well down.

  14. I like the idea of spending all day Saturday on the bus!
    Now here is a remarkably brilliant, new idea in western civilization, although I believe it was tried in Kazakstan in the 1880's with mixed results. It certainly has appeal and if it could be started in your town that would be a coup. Of course,this is an idea you could have swiped from ANNA KARENENIA. Nevertheless,
    think of how many Susan Hill novels you could expose your subconscious mind to...or you could meet a tall, dark stranger... who would arrest you. It boggles, it staggers, it causes pause. Buses could be the next cultural discovery of the 21st century...up there with Botox or unstructured-playtime. Well, I must get back to LADY AUDLEY'S SECRET while I change seats to get behind the driver who is going to give me her review
    of LADY AUDLEY'S PORTCULLIS. Yes, the pain is overwhelming...and, I think, understandable. My best.

  15. This post made me smile. I'm not a particular fan of bus travel but I do miss my commute on the train sometimes simply because I got to read so many books. It can now take me a couple of months to finish a book when at one point whilst commuting I used to get through about two books a week.
    I don't stay sad for too long though as I'm currently a stay-at-hom mum (and loving it) and my commute now involves simply rolling out of bed which compared to train delays and walking to the station in the dark and in the rain isn't so bad!

  16. You have definitely made the case, and I will now stop envying the fact that you can walk to work.

  17. Martin H - change gear? Why would I need to wear different clothing just to drive a bus in my living room?

    Vintage Teatime - it's no good. Even the threat of swine flu isn't enough to stop me wanting that bus ride.

    Friko - yet again, your sympathetic and understanding approach moved me to tears.

    Count Sneaky - you and I are soul mates where buses are concerned.

    Photopuddle - the rolling out of bed thing does indeed sound like a good deal compared to my walks in the rain.

    Raining Acorns - I'm just an old moaner. Take no notice. Being able to walk to work is definitely a good thing. Walking home FROM work is even better.

  18. To make up for your loss (and ours), I think you should take a 6-week bus holiday in SE Asia. Or Eastern Europe.

  19. Deborah - who will warn them that I'm coming?


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