|exact lookalike of the 'woman' on the bus, by Pieter Bruegal the Elder|
She got on the bus and immediately confronted the driver. From the back of the bus I saw her arms waving, her hands banging on the driver's protective bubble. (Welcome to I Blog about buses Everyday.) I picture her babbling Ah ant go' ahny moneh, but leh us on ahnyweh and the driver slumps a shrug, hangdog, not interested, no confrontation, just get in, sit down, shut up and don't pester me. She – I say she, but she... it was of such low status, such sunken face, prematurely wrinkled, dead eyes, missing teeth... I presume it was a she, and with 'she' I will stick. She walked down the bus to the back; as she passed by I couldn't stop staring into that hollow, empty deathmask. She saw me looking and I followed the driver's example, cowardly kowtowing my eyes.
The uncomfortable moment passed until began a mysterious pumping sound, like compressed air being released through a valve; pfffffffff pffffff etcetera etc &c... Not wanting to turn and stare at the gollum behind me I glanced to the normals sat directly behind me to see if they were staring. They did stare, but conspicuoulsy in the wrong direction; unblinking and out the window, I'm not getting involved... Right that's it I want to know what that mysterious pffffffff sound is. I turned and stared. She held tight onto a massive container of lighter fluid and pfffff'd it into her mouth. I turned back forward and staring. I turned again and she punched herself in the face whilst ranting under her breath. The pffffft continued over and over; she couldn't get enough.
What would you do? I had a strong feeling I should do something. There were kids on the bus; it was only 5pm; broad daylight. I thought I would say something to the driver as I got off at my stop, but I was revealed as a coward. As I approached the driver I looked back and the vacuous pits in the shrunken skull of the wastrel were pointed right at me. I felt their poison and I bottled it. If she is dead on a bus somewhere, it is her fault not mine. Maybe I'll head down the needle exchange on Stretford Road and see how she is.
A couple of months ago someone turned around to me on the bus and said do you mind if I smoke. I said yes I mind and he said ok well I won't bother then. Despite all the signs on the windows, and the well known law forbidding smoking in all public interior spaces, he still felt that with the casual permission of a stranger with no authority, he would be allowed to break the law and social norms. Perhaps had there been signs expressedly forbidding huffing aerosols she may have thought twice. There is a pub called The Sea Hawk which is placed sort of on the boundary between Hulme, Moss Side and Old Trafford that has a sign reading No Drugs or Weapons on the exterior door, and then a repeat warning No Drugs on the interior. We should all go there.