You sure do get to interact with some interesting people, when you catch public transport!
I catch a bus into town, and then a bus out to get to work. Because of the way the Adelaide public transport system is set up, this is the only possible way – everything goes into the city and back out again. I used to like a 10 minute drive from work but it took me about an hour bussing because I had to go in a long pointy triangle. This morning, I missed my connection by about a minute, as usual, so I was settled in at the bus stop in town to wait. There were only two people on the bench, as usual, and they were all spread out along it, as usual. I barged in anyway, as usual. Unusually, one of the people – a man – said ‘oh, sorry!’ and smiled at me as he moved his stuff. This man was WELL bogan. He was dressed neatly, but his hoody had a Jack Daniel’s logo on the front. The was carrying an iced coffee and smoking, and his teeth were almost completely rotted away.
A couple minutes later, he turns to me and asks if I can hear him (I had my earphones in) and if it’s ok to interrupt. I say, of course! and he asks a question about what bus goes where. I’m not sure of the answer but a primary schoolgirl does and she chimes in. After she left to catch her bus, the bogan dude asked me, wasn’t she lovely and friendly? He had no tickets on himself, most kids would be scared of him (he bared his teeth at me) but she was a bright spark, so helpful and non-judgemental. Then he asked me why I knit, was it to relax? Seems like a good hobby – you get clothes at the end of it! And then we had a lovely conversation about coffee and knitting and hobbies and the weather. I got the impression that he was just a lovely, open person.
I get on the bus, which is the same one he’s catching. We don’t sit together, though, which I sort of appreciate – you know when you talk to someone at the bus stop and then they never leave you alone ever again? (Like last week, when I got the paranoid woman who thought someone had followed her into town to bash her – well, maybe they had, I don’t know her life.) The bus I catch to work is also the airport bus, so there are always a lot of people who don’t catch buses much on it, looking uncomfortable and lugging huge suitcases. I sit on the back-to-back seats in the middle, and behind me are a posh old lady and her posh son. From overhearing their conversation I can tell you that they are going up to Brisbane to go to a remembrance ceremony for a hospital ship that was sunk in the war, which has just been found. The posh old lady’s dad sunk with it. When I sit down, she is saying ‘She married Jim Butterworth, you know’ and telling a story about how he was an engineer who had however many children and a story about him falling through the second floor of a derelict building.
Favourite overheards from this couple:
Her She has three sons, you know. Well, two professional sons. The other one is a painter. He paints houses.
Him: Oh, THAT kind of painter! Haha! Not an artiste! (He really truly said ‘artiste’) (also, I bet the painter son earns more and is a happier, nicer person, you old bag, I don’t know where you get off implying that the man only has two sons, because one of them does a real job. Grrrr.)
Him: Those school children don’t look happy, do they?
Her: Shakespeare spoke about a schoolchild, going reluctantly to school.
Him: I am surprised that they sent all the kids to Catholic schools
Her: They chose them because they are cheapah.
There were plenty more of that type, but I can’t remember them all. She had that kind of artificially plummy voice that slips when she has to raise it, as she did on the rattly bus. You could hear how she would practially hiss at you, if she were mad. And she said ‘Mercedes’ like ‘Meerceedees’, which seemed a bit ridiculous to me… but what do I know? I’m not posh. In a nicely timed lull in their conversation, I could hear my bogan friend up the back, on the phone to his son. He was telling him how much he loved him, that he couldn’t wait to go fishing with him again, that his ‘little mate’ should be nice to his mum, cos she’s going through a rough patch, and that he’d see him soon, and how MUCH he loved him.
I know which chance encounter I’d rather be friends with.