Crazy Crutches

Transports of Delight

I’m six feet and one inch in height. That’s tall for a girl. It’s tall for anyone outside the world of competitive basketball. So I’m used to sticking out, to being noticeable. I’m used to people pointing me out like I’m a sideshow attraction.

I am not used to being accidentally sat on.

But this is what happens while I’m waiting for the bus. It is one of “those” days. I’ve just been shouted at by a bus driver. I’ve gotten on the wrong bus and had to get off again, and now I’m waiting for the right bus to appear so that I won’t be late for work. I’m feeling a bit fragile, a bit sensitive. There are empty seats on the bus stop benches. Sweet! I sit down with relief.

While I’m sitting there, recovering the shattered pieces of my ego, a woman hobbles into view. She’s about middle-aged, wearing several layers of clothing, and clearly a bit mad. She has one crutch in each hand, holding them out in front of herself like dual walking sticks. A younger woman darts at her side, like an anxious hummingbird.

The woman on crutches spots the benches and, with surprising speed, heads towards the empty seat next to me. Or so I think. Next thing I know, her butt is lowering itself into my face. She is saying “No, I need a seat with the arm rest on the left! On the left!” I angle sideways, sliding myself out of her trajectory just seconds before she plops down in my seat.

I stand next to my now-occupied seat, a little startled. I feel like Anne Hathaway inThe Princess Diaries.Before the make-over. The hummingbird woman murmurs an apology over her shoulder, leaning down to help arrange the older woman in the seat. Not sure what to do, I sort of turn on the spot. A woman sitting on a nearby bench catches my eye. She saw the whole thing. I can tell, because she’s trying not to laugh. I grin back at her.

And, out of the haze of this average morning, I feel it. Transports of delight.

Gif sourced from whendoiturnbackintoapumpkin.tumblr.com

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Condescending Santa Claus

Transports of Delight

Ugh, why do they do this?

I’ve got my Go Card ready to swipe, I’m getting on the bus in an orderly fashion, but the driver stops me. He has something to say.

I wait, wearily, standing with my bags full of shopping in the entrance of the bus. I think I know what’s coming, because I’ve become familiar with this routine. I’m about to get the “You’re An Idiot and Here’s Why” speech.

The bus driver barks at me. “Did you get off here for the markets earlier?” (This is not tricksy detective work on his part; I’m holding a potted fern in a plastic bag and a flyer for the Australian Greens.)

I look around. I’ve been walking around the area all morning, and I’m not sure which bus stop I used. “Um, yeah, probably.”

The driver laughs, but he says the laughs – “HA. HA. HA.” He is pleased to have identified my stupidity. His thick white beard shakes, making him look like a condescending Santa Claus.

“Dude,” – it’s weird hearing ‘dude’ from Santa – “I stop at the markets until twelve today! HA. HA. You could have gotten off there! I sang it out when we set off, didn’t you hear?” I stare at him. I wasn’t on his bus earlier.

Finally he lets me go, and I find a seat while the rest of the passengers watch me. This is so frustrating. I am still new to this town, so I already feel like a lost idiot most of the time. I appreciate when bus drivers offer friendly advice, but now they’re taking extra time to point out things I could’ve done better? Come on, dude!

This comes after weeks of bus drivers pointing out my idiocy. One driver, when we reached a stop, pulled the bus over with a wrench and turned to glare at me. “GIRL IN THE PURPLE SHIRT!” he roared down the bus. “THIS DOES NOT GO TO YOUR STOP! GET OFF HERE!” I thanked him with all meekness and immediately got up to leave. As I went to step off the bus, the driver held me back. “I TOLD YOU THREE TIMES! I SAID, THREE TIMES, THIS DOES NOT GO TO THE ‘GABBA! I TOLD YOU!” I repeated my thanks and quickly jumped off the bus, burning with embarrassment. I now realise that when I had earlier asked him politely “Does this bus go to the ‘Gabba?”, that mumbling sound he made was in fact the word “No”. Ah geez.

But I say to you, bus drivers, that you are not so perfect! Some of you run into fire trucks! And last night, I snapped this:

As soon as we reached a red light, the bus driver whipped out the paper and had a read of the news. Safe driving? Smart choices? Intelligent, well-balanced publication? No, no, and nope.

Bus drivers: 2.

Me: 1.

I’M FINALLY ON THE BOARD! Take that, bussies.

The Bus Driver Who Sideswiped A Fire Truck

Transports of Delight

I’m sitting on a city bus in Brisbane, wondering if I’ve made a huge mistake. Should I have moved to Brisbane? I’ve been catching Translink buses for weeks now, and my experiences have been nondescript. This worries me. Will there be no more Transports of Delight? Do my crazy bus stories end here? I miss Fremantle!

These thoughts are interrupted as my bus runs into a fire truck.

It is such a beautiful moment.

The other passengers are looking around in concern, muttering darkly. The bus driver sags in his seat; the mood is sombre. I am grinning like someone who just saw snow for the first time. Transports of Delight lives on! Oh ye of too much faith in the competence of bus drivers! Huzzah!

The driver’s door swings open, and he climbs out of the bus, careful not to make eye contact with any passengers. I’m craning my neck, willing light to bend so that I can see the damage on the back of the bus. Onlookers are crowding the busy street outside. We’ve sideswiped a big, red, parked fire truck.

It seems the fire truck was chock full of firefighters, all of whom are now standing around the pavement and looking stern. They seem annoyed that this has happened – annoyed, but not surprised. The bus driver, looking very small in his Translink uniform, is slowly approaching them. It looks like he’s going to try to suggest that it was their fault.

Our bus driver walks up to the main firefighter, a man who looks like he will always be called “Captain” regardless of his actual rank. Captain is standing with square shoulders and perfect posture, gazing down at him like a disappointed Phys. Ed. teacher. All that’s missing is a lanyard with a whistle around his neck. Bus Driver doesn’t stand a chance.

I can’t hear anything the two men are saying to each other, but it looks like Captain is winning. He calmly listens to Bus Driver’s hand-gesturing insistence, then razors across that with a few firm words and some clipboard-pointing. Bus Driver weakens. Other firefighters are stalking behind Captain, casually circling the two men. I’m strongly reminded of the scene from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where Harry and Voldemort face off within a circle of Death Eaters. (Not that I’m comparing our Bus Driver to Harry Potter … No. Harry would have seen the fire truck.)

Meanwhile, although the bus driver is clearly absent and the bus is splayed across the road with a fire truck sticking out of its bum, people are still getting on the bus. And more than one person is looking privately pleased that they didn’t have to buy a ticket. Free bus ride! Just watch out for parked rescue service vehicles!

After the incident has been thoroughly documented with everyone’s iPhone cameras, Captain dismisses Bus Driver and Bus Driver slinks back to his seat. We unstick ourselves from the fire truck and rejoin the Brisbane traffic.

When we get to my stop, I’m strangely reluctant to get out. I don’t want to leave this bus – I’m invested now. I kind of want to see what else this bus driver will do. But hey, there are plenty more reckless bus drivers where he came from. And, luckily for me, heaps of them work in Brisbane.

Bogans on the Bus

Transports of Delight

I get on the bus, and it’s empty except for three other passengers. One man in very nice shoes is sat right up the front of the bus, looking like he’s trying to practise invisibility. The other two are a couple of clearly drunk middle-aged persons. I tag on and walk past Mr Nice Shoes. He stares straight ahead. I soon learn why.

As I’m about to pass the couple, the bleary-eyed man says “Heeeello” and reaches out a hand to grab at me. I dodge him, say “Hi”, and keep going. This from the Grabber: “F–k you c—t, I was only being polite.”

From my position far, far down the back of the bus, I now notice that the woman with the Grabber is holding a dirty Chux to her forehead. She starts a halting but firm diatribe at the man.

“Who are you … even though I’m with you … who ARE YOU to tell me … to tell me to shut up?”

Man: “Oh, here we go.”

Woman: “Who … are you …”

Man: “Heerre, suck on this.”

Woman: “I’m not sucking on anything! I’m bleeding!”

Man: “Just finish this [evidently meaning drink].”

Woman: “I won’t finish it! … We’ll share it.”

Man: “How will we share it with you … with you bllessshhudinuh?”

 

The woman suddenly shrieks at the bus driver. “SHUDDINAHHHERE? We gone past it?”

The bus driver, to his credit, calmly replies, “Yes, we stop at the train station.”

Woman: “This gaawdutha train station?”

Bus driver: “Yes [sigh], we stop at the train station.”

 

Me? I press the bell and get off at the next stop, no matter where the hell it is. Sorry to the bus driver and Mr Nice Shoes, you’re on your own.