Are You Talking to Me?
I did that thing where you react to something someone has said BEFORE my mind computed what they had said tonight. To defend my brain, I had just played football and was pretty fucked/bushed (depending on your register) so my cognitive skills were diminished by exhaustion and being kicked a few time and thus having leg-ache (which my brain had to think about).
What happened was this, which I will now recount to you with the following words: I got on the bus and asked for my stop, which is Platt Field. The bus driver said something which I didn’t understand instantaneously, which it normally does for most utterances in English. So I chose to just smile and put my money on his bus fare tray. Within a second – so I am still at full smile, the kind of smile that says “I am a nice person, I don’t care what you have said but let this smile be enough to satisfy you” but actually means “aw, fuck off mate” to the smiler – (remember this is from the Within a second sentence that I started earlier) my head now had a readout on what the bus driver had said. It told me he had said, “almost the full fare.”
I was a bit disappointed that I had smiled at that; It seemed a daft thing to say, really. I suppose if you are a bus driver, though, you could become a bit obsessed by bus fares and start thinking of everything in terms of bus fares. Maybe when hearing that someone has won £3 million on the lottery a bus driver might think of it in terms of 1,500,000 singles from Withington to Manchester OR (about) 290, 000 Megariders. Maybe even complaining that for the price of an Easyjet flight to Rome you could have got the bus from Manchester to Ashton about 40 times. My fake smile had started to drift towards a contemptuous sneer – but I stopped it, and anyway I was facing away from the driver as I walked to a seat.
It was only as I tossed my bag onto a seat that I realised the translation had been wrong. A bit like in films where they are tracing a phone call and it seems like it is coming from payphone in DC but in fact it has been rerouted via satellite 26 times and is in fact coming from THE FBI BUILDING ITSELF…*For when my brain scanned the speech as a double-check it got what the driver had actually said was, “(Going on) Dodgems at the fun fair?” See there is a fair on in Platt Field Park at the moment…ah now it all fitted into place…
Now I had got what he said in my head I could fully comprehend that the bus driver was definitely a fucking idiot. Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover; I was dressed in a football kit, heavily sweating and look my age – mainly thanks to the grey hair in my beard. I have never been to a fun fair (I may have been to a couple, what can I say? I am an habitual liar) but I am pretty sure they are not populated by overweight, bearded men in their early 30s (33 is early 30s, so fuck off) in football kits drenched with sweat. Even the paedophiles that almost certainly hang around fun fairs wouldn’t do so in a 10-year-old AC Milan shirt and shorts**.
So, it turned out my first reaction of polite smile/mild disdain was right. But you have to be careful in life – not everyone is scowling at you, sometimes it is just someone who has had a stroke. So, go easy until you know the facts. (Maybe I will have more moral endings/messages to end my blogs with – it feels more American doing that].
*Nowadays this is so commonplace in films and TV that the world map is already displayed so the phone call can be traced through Armenia and Zaire etc. It didn’t use to be like that though – they just need to keep the person on the other end talking while they traced the call and it was just to somewhere else in America. It must have been a nightmare when they first started re-routing calls, the boss must have been all like “Get me a fucking world map now.” And someone would have just had a Collins Atlas or something while they built a big world map. Bad few weeks for the phone call tracers at the ‘BI.
**Hands up this could be erroneous, I don’t know how paedophiles dress – the only 33-year-old paedophile I have ever seen dressed like Michael Jackson – it was Michael Jackson.
Picture of The Day No. 188