The Wheels on the Bus

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“The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round.”

The small child and her mother had wandered past him singing the old rhyme as he’d stood at the bus stop, and the simple tune had now managed to seep into his brain before he’d managed to get his headphones on. Unfortunately it had stuck in his head, and a few minutes later, the tune endlessly repeating in monotonous reel through his brain, he sat in abject misery with the abnormal bunch of pillocks that he shared an unhappy twenty minute portion of every morning with.

He’d taken to wearing headphones on the bus at all times, in order to avoid having to talk to any of the sociopathic nonentities that seemed to inhabit public transport, but the tunes on his MP3 player had as yet failed to take over from the small child’s singing. Normally, he read his book while listening to music in order to completely block out his surroundings. Sadly, that morning, due to searching for his umbrella to combat an unexpected shower before he left the house, he had forgotten it. The option of staring out of the window was sadly denied due to all the windows steaming up after lots of damp people had got onto the bus which, unless everybody stopped breathing, left him the age old pastime of people watching instead.

Maybe it was some sort of evolutionary step he mused, looking over the heads of the passengers on the bus. Perhaps Darwinian evolution meant that a sub-species of human would evolve that could only survive in the confines of the diesel fumed, chewing gum infested mobile shed that the local bus company laughingly called public transport: a new species of human able to exist only for short periods of time outside their natural environment of “bus” to forage for fast food and top-ups for their mobile phones.

On closer inspection, there even appeared to be sub-categories of numpty-man or Homo Moronicus as he’d come to think of the new sub-species.

For something to do, he mentally began to compile a list of the various Moronicon stereotypes. His gaze alighted on a lady near the front of the bus. A prime example of the “mad old bat”: generally female, usually smelling faintly of urine, cats or lavender and indeed sometimes all three! Not always old, but usually an indiscriminate fifty-ish woman with a large handbag of tardis-like proportions, who talked incessantly about the “state of the world today”, “how teenagers assaulted people for pleasure”, “the fact that the council weren’t collecting the bins often enough”, anything in fact that they could have a damn good moan about, often including various medical problems that they might be experiencing, in excruciatingly nauseating detail.

Looking around for his next stereotype, his eyes came to rest on a teenage boy who was standing by the door, waiting to get off at the next stop. Tall, gangly, spotty, pants on view from the rear of his trousers that seemed to have a crotch somewhere down by his knees; “skate kid” was usually harmless unless his trousers fell down, but insisted on wearing massively large headphones around his neck instead of clamped to his head, thus enabling the whole bus to faintly hear the “guck tsh, guck tsh, guck tsh” of the rhythm.  

Thankfully his own noise cancelling headphones were still working, throwing out a soothing counterpoint to the interminable drivel being spouted by a “twenty-something moron” behind him. Unlike “skate kid” who could also sometimes be female and quite frankly not a problem, “twenty-something moron” was always male, always an ignorant arse and nearly always seemed to be sitting just behind him. Dressed in a variety of clothes from smart (I’m in my first real job) suit, to (I’m unemployed and don’t give a shit) sports gear, the only real prerequisite was to talk overly loudly on your phone, play with said phone incessantly, or put some heavy beats on loudspeaker so that even those people blessed with inner ear ‘phones couldn’t tune it out: the only exception (sometimes) being the invariably smelly “alcho-guy” or anyone with a hearing aid, so that they could turn it off and remain in blissful, ambivalent, and happy silence.

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