Two takes

171. 11.30pm. Top deck, halfway down on the left.

I had just been to the movies and was in a cinematic mood. Real life seemed full of narrative opportunity. Here are two takes on my bus journey home:

1. The LED screen at the front was reminding us that ‘Industrial action planned tomorrow see’ It strikes me as odd and uniquely British that industrial action has to be so planned-for – warnings at stops and on buses, information on websites, well-signposted diversions. Heaven forbid any of TFL’s ‘customers’ actually be inconvenienced by the strikes. I know I should be grateful, but it just feels a little… well, apologetic. In any case, no one seemed to be paying any attention to the message.

2. All around me there was chatter, and if I closed my eyes I could easily have been in a buzzing cafe on the Portobello Road instead of on a rain-soaked bus near Elephant & Castle. There were musicians in the back congratulating each other on a great gig. A clump of young men right behind me was discussing bus routes and their diversions. Ahead of me a couple exchanged loving, slightly slurred words while holding hands. A carefree collection of travellers. But at the front of the deck, on an LED screen, scrolling… scrolling… scrolling… were the words of doom. The bus was trying to tell us something. The world was about to change and none of these people had a clue.


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