My bus experience

Yesterday I was in a proper, big, Waitrose for the first time in years. I almost cried with joy.


On the bus home I sat next to a middle aged woman. The stop after Beckenham Waitrose, still early in the route and the bus fairly empty, a family got on. The woman was trying to pay for two adult tickets with a £20 note but the driver didn’t have any change. “But I’m taking my son to the hospital!*” she exclaimed. The woman next to me offered to change the twenty for smaller notes. What a nice lady, I thought.

Later, at another bus stop, the woman next to me started talking. Not to me, to someone I couldn’t identify.

Not here.
No way.
Not in a month of Sundays.

What the…? I thought.

This aint Romania.

Oh. Right.

We pay for buses in this country.

Oh for fuck’s sake.

By this point the bus was packed and I couldn’t see what was going on, but clearly someone up front was having difficulty paying. I later got this version from the woman next to me, on the phone to someone else.

Two Romanian gypsies** tried to get on earlier. They didn’t have any English money or whatever, tried to get on for free. Of course they eventually found some money to pay. Typical, aint it?

I leave you to compare and contrast the two events.

*They actually got off outside the bowling place in Lewisham. That isn’t near a hospital.

** I didn’t see anyone get on the bus who looked faintly Romanian. Whatever ‘Romanian’ looks like.


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