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Public Transport Fuels Public Turmoil

A deranged public transport vehicle may have left me scarred for life after a bizarre string of events occurred yesterday. I found myself surrounded by complete madness on what should have been a routine bus journey. There I was sitting on the bus, travelling along happily on my way to buy a new computer chair without a care in the world. It didn't take long for things to start going horribly wrong.

After seeing a few more people board the already quite packed bus I decided to move along the window seat to begrudgingly make space in case someone else needed to sit down. Let's face it, no-one likes people sitting beside them. If you look down a bus when you first set foot on it, there appears to be no empty seats at all. Once you've paid your fare and embark on the hunt to find a spare seat you see that every window seat is already long gone. They were taken about a dozen stops ago. Panic sets in. You MUST sit beside someone, and NOT in a window seat.

So I'd moved along to the window seat and bloody hell, talk about sitting in the hot seat. The sun was on the other side of the bus and yet it felt like it was actually embedded into the seat cushion. I could not believe how hot it was. Something wasn't right. The heat seemed to be coming from below the seat, rising, as it does, up my leg and tickling my sweat glands. The heating was on. Oh my god! It's a sunny spring day and the bus is already being indulged by the warmth of the greenhouse sun and yet the driver has put the heating on. It must be a joke. It felt like it was 500 degrees inside the bus.

Of course my choice of clothing didn't help at that point. My black t-shirt created the perfect interior lining in what felt like a furnace encased in a portable greenhouse. When I walked down for the bus I wasn't expecting one of those new pre-summer greenhouse buses.

On the same bus I saw an NHS poster / board thingy. It was at a slightly skewed angle so I couldn't see the actual point it was making though I suspect it was some kind of counselling or advice service. From the angle at which I was sitting, all I could read of the poster was four questions each on a separate line.

Unwell?
Unsure?
Confused?
Need help?

Immediately I became ALL of the above. After reading the first word I began thinking how I'd been sneezing all afternoon but I hardly felt it qualified me as unwell. So I placed a mental cross next to that question. That was easy enough I thought and moved onto the next one. Unsure? Um…well I had thought I was in reasonable health but now that I'm being probed by a random snot-coloured advertising board I'm just not sure any more. Apprehensive about that question, I quickly skipped to the following ones. Confused? Well by this point I was very confused and began wondering who would design such a thought provoking, intimidating and confusing poster. And finally the last question of the interrogation. Need help? YES! I screamed in my head. Oh my god all I wanted to do was take a bus up the road to buy a computer chair and now I don't even know who or what I am any more. I'm a lost soul, a wandering traveller on board a drifting incarnation of public confusion. From that moment on I kept my eyes forward to avoid any further tricks and pitfalls. I kept my fingers crossed. I needed to exit this wandering mayhem as soon as possible.

Ultimately after the culmination of heatstroke meltdown and a silent interrogation at the hands of the Board of Cunning Advertising, the relief I felt just to taste fresh air again was immense. When I say fresh air, I mean, it was as fresh as the air gets in Sunderland. I stepped off the bus and onto foreign soil and tried not to think about what the return journey was going to be like. I just wanted to grab my chair and get back home to safety as soon as I could.

Incidentally while on the same number bus heading back home, someone threatened to hit me for squashing his hand against a bar despite the bus being a heavily packed sardine tin on wheels. It was during the school run time. I didn't make anything of it and the rest of the ride was mostly smooth but honestly with experiences like this, is it any wonder people don't like taking public transport?
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