The encountering odd people on public transport theme continues. Allow me to share:
Yesterday evening, as I was struggling into a seat on the bus to Waterloo, lugging my rucksack awkwardly into the luggage space and perching on the suspiciously clammy seat, I became aware of an Irritating Loud Woman.
Irritating Loud Woman was on her phone, using a headset so that she had both hands free for Important Gesticulation And Shit. Irritating Loud Woman was bellowing to her caller about all the travelling she had been doing.
ILW: God I KNOW! Yes...yes...I was there too recently. Yes...booked a room on your recommendation actually. Yes, loved it. Amaaaaazing place!
A short pause followed where she rolled her eyes and played with her handbag strap as the person on the other end of the phone had the temerity to play a speaking part in the conversation. Her eyes narrowed and she threw in the trump hand grenade of bragging.
ILW: So...yeah...yeah...I was in China. Yes. (slightly louder) China. Then Spain. Then Ireland. *loud guffaw* I know! I've been home like 10 days in the last 2 months! And I'm off to the Bahamas at the end of the month! *guffaw*
It did occur to me to wonder why she was on the bus, albeit on the back seat, and not in a taxi, judging by the details of her jetset lifestyle. As this uncharitable thought played through my jaded brain, a tall black girl with amazing dreadlocks marched down the aisle, dragging a selection of bags and a shopping trolley behind her.
Tall black girl with amazing dreadlocks: (In unexpected Yorkshire accent) Scuse me! Scuse me! You. Yeah you! Can you stop being so loud on the bus please!
TBGWAD: I can hear you right down the end! Can you keep noise down please?
I had to suppress a snort of delighted glee as the Irritating Loud Woman blushed deeply, then continued her conversation in a much quieter voice. She moderated it down to normal speaking tones, I'd guess, rather than the show-off bellow she had previously deployed.
The bus started pulling away from the stop we were at, throwing the girl with the dreads and bags into a panic.
TBGWAD: (To the bus driver) Scuse me! Hey! HEY! Scuse me! I need to gerroff here! Stop bus!
The driver obliged, opening the doors. There was a long and comical struggle as several people at the front of the bus jostled to help her with all her bags. I think had we had more time, she would have been carried off in triumph on their shoulders, frankly.
I missed my train as a result but it was worth it.
I covertly watched the ILW for the remainder of the journey. She was mortified. I was glad.
Other news: My car is fucked. Gah.
I was driving home from the railway station last night. It was very dark. It was very cold. So cold, in fact, that I had had to de-ice my car (inside and out) before I could leave the station car park. It was getting late.
I set off on the short but time-consuming trip through winding lanes and troll bridges, through the woods, through the little teeny villages, past the burned-down pub, up hill, down dale, over the river and back to Hobbiton.
My thoughts were filled with the delicious roast chicken dinner* that I knew was waiting for me.
I had just emerged from the bosky glades and hit the main road (Two lanes! Some streetlights at the major junctions!) when I realised that my speedometer was stuck on 0. Zero. Nil.
I knew that was wrong. Well, I was moving, for a start.
I was dopily looking at the speedo, then back at the icy road ahead, then back at the speedo, not sure if I was seeing things or not, and then the orange "Check Engine" warning light came on too.
Ohhhh fuck noooooooo.
It may have been my imagination, but I would swear that I felt the car shudder, like a wounded beast about to roll over and die.
There was a moment where I considered pulling over and phoning Mr WithaY to come and rescue me, but I bit my lip and ploughed on. The car juddered again. I stopped. I switched off the engine, then restarted the car. The "Check Engine" light went out. I pulled away. The speedo was still dead. There were several heavy seconds of anticipation, then the orange light came back on.
If you were driving towards Shaftesbury late yesterday evening, you may have heard what you thought was a siren, wailing eerily. That was me. Well, it was if the siren sounded like someone wailing "fucking hell nooooooooooo" for 5 miles non-stop.
So, today I rang the chaps at the garage. They told me take my car down there for them to look at. There followed a couple of hours of traipsing back and forth to the garage, talking to the chaps, waiting for Chap 2 to return from a delivery to confer about technical stuff with Chap 1, Chap 1 making phone calls to Toyota, Chap 2 telling me horror stories about how badly things can go wrong with cars, and finally I was given a lift back home and told to Wait.
Later that same day, a call from the garage.
Good news: They know what's wrong. I'd tell you, but my brain did that Star Trek thing of just hearing "tech...tech...tech....computer....tech....expensive....tech.....new part will be here on Friday....tech...£188 plus VAT.....tech." I don't do it on purpose.
It's like maths lessons used to be at school. I started out every time with good intentions, but after 3 minutes my brain simply refused to acknowledge what was being said, and sent me pictures of Alex Lifeson and Bruce Dickinson, or composed endless bad poems I was going to write down as soon as I could find a nice enough poetry notebook.
I swear, if I replayed every maths lesson I attended between 1977 and 1983, apart from the two weeks we did spatial geometry, which I understood and enjoyed**, it would just sound like white noise.
Bad news: It wil cost £188 (plus VAT) for the part they need. Plus labour.
So. I'm working at home tomorrow, as my car is not really safe to drive.
And I might be selling my Rickenbacker.
*Mr WithaY is just great.
**The maths teacher was flummoxed, and would ask me with irritation "If you can understand this, why can't you understand quadratic equations?" I'm certain she thought I was doing it deliberately. It never occurred to her that my failure to understand might in some way be linked to her unimpressive teaching skills. Bah.