Thursday, 8 December 2011
The Shuttle Bus
Today I went to a specialist follow up visit at the local hospital and decided to catch their convenient shuttle bus service from the nearby stadium. This free service saves on a $10 parking fee, $50 in wasted fuel while you search for a non existent park and takes the stress out of the endless car queues and traffic snarls.
Although the service is useful it does have its drawbacks.
You don't get to choose who gets on the bus.
There was only a couple of other people waiting to board when I arrived - nice, normal looking people. I managed to get the seat behind the driver which is close to the door for a quick getaway at the other end. It looked like today was going to be a pleasant little trip.
Then the circus folk started to roll up.
The first one up the steps was an ancient man with wild, white hair, a beard and black leather gloves. He plonked himself down in the seat behind me while his wife slid into the seat on the other side of the aisle and shut her eyes. A rather big lady asked if the seat next to me was free and I reluctantly nodded - there goes the quick exit. As she parked herself in next to me I saw the little black gloved hands of the old man in the seat behind. He was holding on to the back of the seats and had jammed his face in between the gap. He was staring at me. I figured it was because I was turning blue - the lady in the seat next to me had squashed me up against the window and I was finding it hard to breathe.
The next ones on were by far the largest couple on the planet. The axles groaned and we listed to one side like the Titanic taking its last breath. I think as a safety measure the driver should have put them over the back axle to spread the load. Then I heard a strange noise and it takes me a moment to realize the old lady in the seat across the aisle is snoring. I thank a higher power that it's only a ten minute trip.
The driver is a no nonsense, 'I'll make my timetable no matter what' kind of guy. As soon as the clock ticks over to departure time, he folds his paper, slams his window shut and pulls the lever to close the door. Ready or not we're on our way. As he swung out onto the road the extra weight in the back had the front end of the bus rearing up like some demented pony performing an intricate dressage move. I'm lucky I'm sandwiched in, otherwise I'd be splayed on the snoring lady's lap.
The bus driver seemed oblivious to our lopsided load and hurled down the main street and flew around the corner. The woman next to me leaned into every twist and turn as if she was riding a roller coaster. She's bug wide-eyed, her hand is shaking and I swear she is passing wind in fright.The only one not bothered by the driving is the bus driver. Or the old man. He's still staring at me.
We finally arrive at the hospital and the woman next to me is too slow getting out of the seat and the circus parade beats her to the door. That is, all except the old man and his wife. She would have waited for them too, but it was the words of the wife that made me urge the woman to get moving before we got caught in the vortex.
"Oh my goodness .......you've wet yourself again."
And I have to catch the bus back......