Saturday, 11 August 2012

Guess who got the bus lunatic?

It's happened before. It happened today. And as safe a bet as me not winning £3million on the lottery, it will happen again.

I got the bus lunatic sitting beside me.

It being the weekend, I couldn't hide behind the free Metro. I quickly drew my phone up to my ear to pretend I was in conversation with someone, but that didn't work. I tried to scowl like I was a mass murderer on day release from the Armley Hilton on the way back to my cell before I committed another heinous axe-murder crime.

But all to no avail. Two people plus myself spread out downstairs on the bus, and he sits beside me.

"Shame about Jimmy Savile!" he says. Plainly into current affairs, with such knowledge about Sir Jimmy who had died nine months previously.

I was so busy trying to find a way of avoiding getting into a conversation that I made the huge error of judgement by replying "Yes".

"And Ralph Richardson. And Burt Lancaster. And Benny Goodman."

Oh my giddy aunt. Back almost 35 years. Was he going to go through every showbiz star, one-by-one, that had died during the past 35 years?

"I had an aunt once, you know." 'Yes' I thought to myself. 'I had one as well.' Actually I had two.

"She wasn't a good cook and never watched Coronation Street." Panic was starting to set in. I don't mind a bit of surreal conversation now and again, but not a totally nonsensical one with a complete stranger. Should I tell him I'm an axe murderer? Or perhaps say I'm a psychiatrist and would be more than happy for him to make an appointment.

Although, perhaps wearing a Bangkok Hard Rock Café t-shirt might not be the most impressionable form of dress I could be wearing as a psychiatrist.

"I don't like that Bob Geldof, you know. Always looks so scruffy to me. OK. I'll grant you he does some good charity work. But a haircut and a tie in a Windsor knot would do wonders for him. He was a singer, you know!" Yes I did know of him, and in fact, I knew his family when I lived in Dublin and that his Aunty May was Jewish and came around for dinner in our house a couple of times, but I certainly wasn't going to tell him.

"I remember back when trains were run by British Rail". Help me please, someone.

I really should have written all this wonderful factual information he was telling me down somewhere. You can never be prepared enough for setting a pub quiz.

"Do you like Avocado pears?" Yes I do, but I certainly wasn't going to tell him.

"I did go to Bradford on the bus once." Shame he couldn't be going there today instead of mithering me. "Not keen on Bradford. Full of foreigners." Now this was news to me. I didn't think the tourist trade there was in especially full swing. Although I did know full well he was perhaps referring to the residents of immigrant extraction.

"And that Metro Centre in Newcastle. Was there only the other week. So many shops."

By now, I wanted to shout at the driver "Stop the bus I want to wee-wee."

And then. I was filled with total relief. "Well it's been nice speaking with you, but this is my stop. I'll see you again."

No you bloody well won't.

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