“You don’t look old enough to have a pensioner’s bus pass” said the bus driver.
“Oh thank you kind sir” I said.
“Only kiddin’ mate. Actually I was wondering if you would need help stepping up from the pavement” he said without even a hint of a grin threatening to crack his stony expression. I decided to ignore him unsure if he was trying to be funny or rude. I thought “I’ll show you” and I started to skip up the stairs to the upper deck. But as often happens the driver took off very suddenly, causing me to grab the banister rails and hold on for dear life. They often do that, but I suppose it is a pretty boring job and that’s as near as they get to bit of mild amusement. Once I had regained my balance, and my dignity, I set about finding a seat. I spotted one and steadily made my way to the centre of deck. I was surrounded by a sea of elderly folk in various stages of awakedness – not sure that’s a word but you know what I mean. It was like sea of grey hair and shiny bald patches. (if you know me, you’ll be aware that I have greyish hair myself, but I prefer to think of myself as more of a silver fox) Several were dozing with their lolling head rolling this way and that as the bus negotiated the bendy road. A couple were reading newspapers, a couple of others looking at books, and the rest gazing blankly out of the windows. The common expression was one of boredom and disdain. Feeling very modern I whisked my modern Kindle from my modern man bag. Nobody noticed. And so I got stuck into my eBook (Exit Last by Ian Parks by the way - highly recommended although it is a bit ‘blokey’ if you know what I mean!) Well, it is a very amusing read and I suddenly came across quite the funniest thing I’ve read for a long time, and I emitted an involuntary and fairly loud dirty laugh. I was suddenly the centre of attention. All around me ashen wrinkled faces stared in my direction. It was like a scene from a horror film. “Funny book” I chirped “Really funny, ha ha!” As one they all swiveled their heads back and got on with doing what they were doing – or not doing if you get my meaning.
And then a breath of fresh air – fresh hair actually, because a very attractive young lady emerged from the staircase. The first thing everyone saw of course was her head, and it was magnificently topped by an immaculately coiffured bright blue hair sculpture. She smiled to the left and smiled to the right as she sashayed along the isle before taking a seat right in the middle of the deck. There she sat, a resplendent patch of blue like a break in the grey clouds on a miserable winter’s day. She got no response other than a few tutts and a lot of disapproving whispers.
Pleased to no longer be the centre of attention, I got back to my book. A minute later the silence was broken by the shrill sound of Bat Out of Hell coming from my mobile. Once again I was in that horror movie with ghost like faces staring at me in disgust. I ignored them.
“Hello” I said in my most cheerful voice.”Who’s that?”
“Hi there” said the caller “It’s Tillie”
“Millie” I said, great to hear from you”
“No” she said “It’s Tillie not Millie you silly billy!”
Anyway Tillie-not-Millie and I had a lovely chat by the end of which the dour assembly had returned to their snoozing, reading and gazing out of the window. Except one person sitting right behind me who muttered to his wife “Young people today. I don’t know”. I turned, feeling that his comment more than made up from the somewhat disparaging remarks I received from the bus driver. I gave him my broadest smile. “Thank you, you’ve made my day” I said mixing a hint of sarcasm with a touch of humour.
“I was thinking about my great grandson, not you” he snapped. I decided enough was enough and rang the bell to halt the bus at the next stop. I tottered down the steps as the bus jerked to a halt and as I got my feet back on terra firma I noticed the blue haired beauty had followed me. ‘My luck is about to change’ I thought to myself.
“I'm glad to be off that bus, aren’t you?” I said to her. “I’m going for a coffee, fancy one?”
“In your dreams old man” she said as she flounced off into the distance.