are we nearly there yet

What is it with public transport? for bringing out the worst in people?

Story here of a bus journey is the perfect mirror of my week-before-last’s experience on the train, except then it was a troop of teenage Aberdonians, heading south with minimal luggage and a huge box of beer, so that the hour’s delay before the train arrived* just gave them a headstart on the nuisance index for when they actually boarded the train.

“They were loud and coarse, but that was okay; I reckoned they would soon be off on somebody else’s bus. But when the No. 24 arrived from the hospital, they piled on our little country carrier. I was doomed to co-exist with half a dozen hopes for the future.”



* Don’t get me started on over-crowded trains that don’t even run on time.


4 thoughts on “are we nearly there yet

  1. I don’t understand what makes them tick. Honestly, I don’t know what makes them think that this is somehow a noble, fearless and good way to behave. I asked at a dinner party of various politically-conscious Scots (mostly Labour) why boys would throw rocks at the windows of buses serving their own neighbourhoods, and a Labour supporter shouted, “Because all their hope has been taken away from them!”

    But that made no sense to me. Nobody riding a bus through those neighbourhoods is thereby defined as a member of the ruling classes (au contraire). These boys are not victims when they are intimidating, annoying, harming or risking harm to others. They are bullies, plain and simple.


  2. Don’t have any answers. At any rate the “no hope” explanation won’t work for people showing no signs of material deprivation whatsoever, like Kenneth Roy’s half dozen in that article, or my ten at Haymarket.

    Also, catch the note of fear in Roy’s article when the woman on his bus makes the mildest possible intervention. “What was she risking, this woman? What might the statement cost her?” All your instincts are not to get involved, but maybe that’s just a bit feeble. Every time you witness something horrible in public, you vow never to walk by in silence again, but then there’s never a repeat of the same thing that you’re *now* prepared for, so the next situation catches you just as aghast and wibbling as the last:
    * a man assaulting his partner in broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon
    * two girls slapping their friend about the head and telling her to expletive off and die as they stroll down the street together
    * nice Welsh boys on a rural Welsh train mocking the conductor because they have no money to pay for a ticket and there’s nothing he can do about it
    * an entire class of thirteen year olds on the street at lunchtime mobbing their one miserable classmate, blocking the pavement all around a handful old ladies waiting at their bus stop

    Time to turn into an interfering old bat yet?


  3. Ah, you obviously crossed paths with some of Aberdeen’s intelligentsia. They are known to the the rest of us as ‘the Torry loons.’ But then again, better to have bumped into them than ‘the Torry quines.’


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