This morning's journey to work via First Bus was a definite out of body experience.
First on the bus after my stop was a young lady of dubious sexual orientation. Short cropped hair, 'bovver' boots, a Sniffsnot, or perhaps it was a Slipknot t-shirt, lumps of metal throughout her face. Extremely 'butch' in outlook. When a late teenage blond lass next boarded and sat opposite, "butch's" eyes lit up, and she spent the entire journey eyeing her up and down while licking her lips in a decidedly "I'll be Frank, or maybe you'd like to be Frank" manner.
Then came the late aged lady who works for the university. She got rather agitated that someone had the temerity to sit in "her" seat. I never realised, even after almost 50 years of using public double-deckers, that it was possible to reserve your favourite seat.
Then the 'syndromic' Georges Gilles de la Tourette and his pal Feckless Derek stepped on. Their conversation for the journey consisted solely of profanities co-joined by a series of "ya know", "like", "know-warra-mean" and "yeh". How they understood one another is beyond my own powers of communication. If they were going to work (as I can only assume they were because I believe Job Centres were on strike), goodness knows who had been brave or foolhardy enough to exchange money for their services. Although, perhaps I am being unfair, and they were indeed brain surgeons on the way to an operation.
In the meantime, Derek had picked up a copy of the free 'Metro' newspaper, but his quick examination revealed he didn't know how to use it, so it was discarded on the floor, much to the tut-tutting of late aged university working lady, who by now had reclaimed her 'reserved' seat and was determined not to let any one sit beside her.
Next was the suited London Meeting Man, plainly headed for the station and the 7.20 National Express to Kings Cross, dragging his trusty laptop behind him, suit carrier over shoulder, demonstrating total shock as the bus driver asked for his fare. It hadn't struck Mr London meeting man that the fare his office would have booked didn't include the bus journey.
Suit was carefully folded and put on side, laptop case handle stowed, glasses put on face and wallet extracted from pocket - however, change decided to exit wallet and fall all over floor. Then, prior to finalisation of ticket purchase, phone call made to wife to check whether she was collecting him from the station or whether he should buy a day return.
By now, Georges Gilles de la Tourette and his pal Feckless Derek were intimating to the driver that he may care to "speed the journey", because it seems that they had the requirement to "f*cking get to f*cking town before f*cking lunch".
Then we were joined at the next stop by Billy Nailbiter, who, not being content with spending the entire journey chewing what was left of his nails, felt it necessary to be accompanied by an odour that was definitely "Eau de Rubbish Skip". Again I may be a little unfair, and it was just that he had an allergy to showers or baths or maybe soap.
And then to a gaggle (there being 4 of them) of my favourite type of fellow commuter - the fake Ugg-booted, Burberry-clad chattering Chavs - mobiles, of course, in hand. By now, the bus was standing room only, yet these 4 young ladies still managed to talk, text and play with their phones.
And to cap it all, the final pick up spot before my limited stop bus could pass unhindered down the ring-road was Simon Suit, who, despite the crush, insisted on reading his Financial Times, fully open.