Friday, November 04, 2005

Bus Stop Blues

I’ve lost my bus pass for the week!!! It was only 3 days in as well. Have you ANY idea how angry that makes me?!

I discovered this yesterday morning, as I was getting ready to leave the flat. It’s a 20 minute bus ride to work usually, so I always leave myself 45 minutes from leaving the flat, to allow for the unlikely occurrence of dramatic unforeseen circumstances on the 3 minute walk to the bus stop, or the much more likely occurrence of 4 stuffed-like-sardine-tins buses chugging past before I can squeeze myself onto one (getting a limb or occasionally my head gently squeezed by the closing doors in the process thanks to an oafish or impatient bus driver). But yesterday morning caused me to spend a further 10 minutes in the flat - checking my pockets, overturning tables, throwing things into the air, before rechecking my pockets - as I searched for my bus pass. But no, it’s gone. No doubt eagerly claimed by some urchin who is now enjoying a long weekend of merrily tootling round the capital for free after I probably carelessly dropped it on the bus’s floor last night as I thought I was stuffing it into my pocket. I think what makes it worse is knowing it's nobody's fault but mine.

And so, I arrived at the bus stop with half an hour to still get to work. Not too shabby I thought. However, I then looked up at the board, and couldn’t believe it. The next bus was due in 25 minutes. What?! Two routes visit this stop, and on a weekday morning the best either could muster was a visit in 25 minute's time?! Outrageous. This is supposed to be London, not the Yorkshire Dales. You can never trust those displays usually, but that morning they were true to their word.

I hate a start to the day like this. My journey to work is usually an opportunity for me to mentally prepare myself for the day ahead, either by desperately trying to get 20 minutes extra sleep, familiarising myself with the current affairs of the day by surreptitiously reading someone's newspaper over their shoulder, or by vacantly gazing out of the window. Stressing about the fact I am going to have to sneak into a lab class I am supposed to be demonstrating on 20 minutes late, or tight-fistedly wrestling with my mind's dilemma as to whether I buy a new bus pass (which will make it a certainty the old one turns up) or do without for the rest of the week, is less than ideal.

The real irritation was saved later for the day though when it was time to travel home, and I found myself having to buy a ticket from one of those irritating machines that don't give change and only having a two pound coin. The looks of horror I elicited from people at the bus stop as I attempted to ask them if they had any change for a two pound coin was striking. There's two things Londoners hate more than anything else: being talked to, and being asked for money. In the end I gave up on the miserable sods and went and bought a Mars bar.


deanne said...

Makes you wish you *were* in the Yorkshire Dales, eh?

Chris Cope said...

I am shocked that you asked Londoners for money. Are you on crack? Why don't you go around rupturing holes in the fabric of time while you're at it?

Gareth said...

Ever though about getting an Oyster card, much better than those paper tickets you know.

Huw said...

Gareth - Well, thing is, Oyster Cards... Hmmm. For starters, I'm not too keen on the whole Movements Being Tracked thing (not that it would make interesting reading for someone anyway though). I also like stubbornly refusing to use one just to irk tfl. Secondly, and I may have been misinformed here, but I heard you can't get a 7 Day Bus Pass on them: only the more expensive 7 Day Travelcard. Certainly, that's what the website continues to imply. And I only use the bus, and to a greater extent than Pre Pay caters for...

Advice, anyone?