June 28, 2005

Buses and Abuses

Hello, howdy, and a big fuck you to Lothian Regional Transport.

About 9am this morning I got wrenched from bed by a call from my boss, asking me if I could manage to get out to Greywalls (the garden exhibition I’m looking after) today. Now, obviously it would be grossly inappropriate for me to discuss my boss’s personal details in a forum such as this, but suffice to say she had a very good reason for dropping this on me at the last minute and I would have been the pettiest person in the world if I’d said no.

Now, at 9am there was clearly no way I’d be able to make the 9:22am bus that I would normally have taken, so instead I planned to take the 10:22am bus.

Cue obstacle number one. I called my dad to cancel our lunch plans, and he reminded me that regardless of whether or not we had lunch, I was supposed to be bringing him his car key at the office, otherwise his afternoon appointments would be scuppered. Fair enough. I figured that if I hoofed it to the university and then on across town, I could probably pick up the same bus at 10:34am in St Andrew’s Square.

Key dropped off successfully, I started my mad dash towards town, but then it struck me that I had neither a coffee to stave off afternoon headaches nor lunch to stave off afternoon hunger. Starbucks was more or less on my way, so I formulated a Plan C: stop at Starbucks, buy myself something for lunch, then hop on a bus which would take me to St Andrew’s Square in time to pick up the second bus out to Greywalls.

Cue obstacle two. After having ordered my coffee and selecting some lunchables, I reached for my wallet only to discover that in my hurry I’d left it at home. Okay, so plan D: I scrounge together enough change to pay for the coffee and an anaemic looking sandwich, and have just enough money left over to catch a city bus to the Scottish Gallery’s Edinburgh location, where I can pick up extra catalogues and borrow enough cash from them to get my second bus out to Greywalls.

Cue obstacle three. Coffee in hand, I leg it to the bus stop and wait for a bus. It arrives after only a minute or two (finally, something going my way!). But as I step on and move to deposit my fare, the driver holds up his hand and says: “Sorry, no coffee allowed on the bus.”

I reeled. Lothian Regional Transport (henceforth, LRT) has a policy of no food or drink on board its buses, but never once in my entire life of riding LRT have I ever seen it enforced. The driver had a leering smirk on his face so I thought he must be having a laugh.

“Are you serious?” I ask.

Smirk growing ever wider with his vile satisfaction, he motioned at the sign by his head that indicated no food or drink was allowed on board. “That’s the rules,” he said. (“Those are the rules,” I thought, though I doubted saying that was going to help me much.)

Now, I realize that with my iPod earbuds, giant Starbucks cup, boyish figure and stunning good looks, I may not have seemed a very likable person to such a fat, contemptible pleb. But hey, buddy, I've got news for you: it’s not my fucking fault you drive a bus for a living, and frankly I find it pretty pathetic that you take pleasure in abusing what meagre authority you have to make life needlessly unpleasant for somebody who’s never done a thing to you.

Note to readers: I was exaggerating for comic effect in the last paragraph; I’m not that conceited and certainly don’t see myself as somehow different from or better than the working class, despite what may be implied from my flagrant self-adulation and use of the word ‘pleb’. However, I stand by my assertion that the bus driver was both very fat and very contemptible, and if pointing that out on my blog is the worst thing that ever happens to him then he’s getting off pretty lightly. In any case, I suspect you now all understand why I began this post by cursing LRT.

Anyway, long story short, I walked to the Gallery, missed the 10:34am bus, and ended up having to wait around for another forty minutes before finally arriving at work an hour and a half late.



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