436. 9.30am. Bottom deck, front seat on the left.
It was just as well that I wasn’t in a hurry. You know how some drivers treat their buses like racing cars with manlier engines, and others allow theirs to crawl along like Carnival floats? Our driver was the latter kind. He was sort of grooving in his seat, too, though not to any music I could hear.
We rolled up towards Vauxhall bus station and the driver pressed a button to make an announcement on the PA. But he accidentally pressed the wrong button and called the central control room instead (one-touch dialling!).
‘Yes, come in.’
‘Oh, I meant to use the PA.’
‘OK, fair enough.’
Then the driver found the right button. He reached for it, slowly, then slowly pulled the microphone to his mouth. What was he going to say after all this build-up?
‘This bus… is terminating… at Victoria. If you want… to go… to Paddington… another 436… is coming up behind … oh, it’s just gone.’