Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Extra-short story for Love/Hate Travel

This is a story I wrote for - I thought you might enjoy it :)

Bus Soup

I’d like to tell you a story. It’s about my daily ordeal on the bus, as I travel bleary-eyed to work after a half-mile hike past an already-screaming school playground and a traffic light maze I like to refer to as “Hell Junction”.

Unlike most sane human beings, I cannot drive. Instead, I placate the aching need to be in a leathery cocoon surrounded by nice lovely retractable restraints and soothing air con by telling myself that I am eco-friendly. “You don’t need a car!” I lie to myself, as I stride over grey grass verges, watching my bus leave solemnly without me from afar. “You get much more exercise than those idiots. Look at them in their silly little pods. I bet they’re listening to Toploader. You’re much cleverer and better than them.”

I have to say, I don’t believe me. I wouldn’t be nearly so insistent had I passed my driving test. As it was, I took ten lessons until my poor, wretched instructor cried “Enough! No more!” I had to get out and promise not to drive a city compact again. “The poor gears,” he wept. “They’ll never be the same again.” My driving career was never going to flourish, and so I resigned myself to a life of buses and seemingly endless walks to-and-from train stations in improbably named towns.

I wait 15 minutes for a “ten minutes or less!” number 12 to arrive. I sit myself near the back, and listen to my music. On this particular day, the upstairs section smells like eggs and ferns. I’m in my own little headphone bubble, quite happy to stare at depressingly long queues of traffic when the worst happens.

The very worst.

The man behind me sneezes on the back of my neck.

I need a new driving instructor.


April @ said...

Ah, the horrors of public travel. I know them well. Was the sneeze purely fictional, slightly embellished, or factual?!
Great little story :)

Katie said...

hehe that would be telling, wouldn't it? :p Thanks for reading! x

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