21 June 2006

The grumpy commuter's tour of Sydney

My second-worst bus trip ever
One of these days I'll say something nice about catching the bus to and from work, without resorting to a comment about how much worse public transport is in the developing world. But not today. I need to rant about last night's trip home, in the spirit of 'better out than in'.

The wait for the bus was a long one. No express services came by, and the only non-packed buses that stopped didn't go past my destination. But I am a patient woman, so I quietly waited for another hour until a suitable ride home appeared.

In the meantime, I met Mr Drangdumargewine, who came along and squeezed his aged arse between me and the girl next to me. I assumed this chap's name was Drangdumargewine, because I'm sure that's what he said as he sat down. But then I took a dizzying whiff of his breath and realised that it had probably been Pensioners' Happy Hour at the City Bowlo all afternoon. Mr Drangdumargewine was extremely good at asking the beginnings of questions and then waggling his head around as his consonants faded into fuzziness. I managed to wring out of him the notion that he wanted to catch a bus to Balmain, but I don't think I was successful in communicating the fact that all the buses at this stop headed for the Northern Beaches. He just said, "D'yez know what I... um... gbrrr" and waggled his head.

It was at this point that I decided to jump on the next bus that came along, and thankfully it rolled up only about 75 minutes after I'd left the office. Still quite optimistic, I found a seat, ground my iPod headphones into my ears, adopted the blank commuter stare out the window and sank into blissful not-quite-thereness.

I soon snapped out of my meditative state when I noticed that the bus had driven right past its exit and was headed down the Warringah Expressway in the direction of Hornsby. Most of the passengers seemed a little confused, and as one particularly voiciferous and abusive commuter went to the driver's end to enquire, I heard him say something about not being able to 'get over' into the correct lane for the exit. That's all well and good if you're a non-assertive driver in a four-cylinder Corolla sedan (and I know what I'm talking about!), but a bloody awful excuse if you're driving a ton of Mercedes Benz with Right Of Way Over Everyone off the bridge with 80 people on board. Pah.

The driver took us on a lovely tour of Naremburn, Northbridge and Cammeray while he tried to figure out the best way back onto Military Rd and onward to the Peninsula. Meanwhile, the Voiciferous Man was kind enough to remind us every five minutes that he "just wanted to go hoooommmmme!!" and that the bus driver was something of a bastard. As far as I could figure out from his tirade, Voiciferous Man lived somewhere near a "far canal". Although his ranting didn't help us get home any faster, it certainly provided entertainment for all the other giggling passengers until we finally got back on track, about 40 minutes after we'd left the bus stop. Only an hour more and I was home!

Still, it was better than the stinky, crowded, chook-pooh covered, four-hour bus ride we took from Kampala to Jinja in Uganda last year...

No comments:

Post a Comment