Thursday, 28 August 2008

The Great Unwashed.

I like taking the bus. It's a useful vehicle which allows you the time and space to read, listen to your mp3, listen to other peoples' conversation or simply switch off and gawp into the distance as you're conveyed from one mad world to another.


I draw the line at being manhandled. Particularly when it's a woman doing the handling. Fair enough it was busy and seats were scarce, but even so.
I got on and began making my way towards the back only to find that I'd run out of bus and was actually at the back in the middle between a man, his good lady and their children. No problem. The seat was there and I sat in it. It did rather spoil their ability to talk to one another so for that I apologise. I didn't plan on staying there for long and was already scanning for vacant seats at every stop.
There we were then, we happy three, (the children were out of the equation being fortunate enough to have secured window seats.) Him to the right and her to the left, with a rather distasteful onion smell wafting in the general area. It was an unusually warm day and even with the windows open, there was not quite enough air to be comfortable. I could feel her breath on my neck as she seemed to find it acceptable to look me up and down from close quarters. I concentrated very hard on staring ahead until I felt her clammy hand stroke my arm.

" 'ave ye got the time duck ? "
I clung to my handbag and drew myself in as far as possible so that no part of me could be touching her.
" Mmm, yes. It' s quarter to.."
She wasn't thwarted by this attempt to disengage and gave me her best gurn.
" You off to market are ye..?"

Dear God I'd stepped into the twilight zone of the Great Unwashed.

" Er, No. Not today."

She continued to squirm against me until the next stop when a man further down the bus got off. Smiling politely with a great desire to scream I escaped into the empty seat leaving my nightmare behind.

Or so I thought.

I finally reached my stop and went to cross the road only to catch a glimpse of the rear window and four pairs of unblinking eyes monitoring my every move.

I'm not one for horror movies - but......

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