Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The people on the bus

It's quite amazing the detail you can know about the people on the bus. The man with fleshy earlobes, his right ear has three tiny moles, the tiniest nestled right near his neck. He has dandruff, but just a little. The woman who sometimes sings along to the hits and memories who has golden red hair and wears her beret perched on her head, like the lid to a large disposable coffee cup popped on top of an egg cup. The young woman who smiles and looks like someone you'd like to know who turns out to be partnered with the young man from the earlier bus who always says 'hello' in the mornings, and when they appear together they also belong to a jaunty and observant toddler who is never, ever on the bus himself.

There's the woman who wears a red coat and reads the same two prayers, over and over again, every morning with the same intense concentration and look of patient pleasure. The girls who can talk and talk and talk to each other or their mobile phones and we all know about their boyfriends and betrayals and the parties they are going to but they haven't told their mums. I expect the mums really know, but they could ask anyone on the bus if they needed the details.

And on the way home, the dad with the little girl, who goes to sleep facing the wrong way on the seat and has to be carried off along with the briefcase, the schoolbag and shopping for dinner. And all of us waiting, waiting, waiting to get home to dinner and the warm and the light and maybe a little bit of TV and sleep, before we all wake up and stand at our stops, climb aboard and ignore all the other people on the bus.

6 comments:

cristy said...

I love this post.

I almost feel nostalgic about buses. OK, I do.

kazari said...

Sometimes, like today, I read your post and wish I wrote it.

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

I love your comment on the girlie secrets - so secret and yet so widely known.

Courtney said...

This is a beautiful post.
Buses and trains are magic. A poor fellow had a shocking seizure at a stop the other day and a surf lifesaver in a dapper suit jumped off to help while the driver called the ambos and everyone else told terrible tales of late ambulance dispatches. Swine flu has mostly driven me off public transport for the time being, but once I'm no longer pregnant I will take great joy in returning to fold. I hope nobody notices my dandruff, though...

Misrule said...

Ah, gotta love ACTION buses! (And Canberra!)

Mark Lawrence said...

I, too, love this post. It also make me wonder what I'm doing while riding the trams each day, and why I'm not honing my observation skills and taking notes. And wonder what other people notice about me on the tram.