The Afternoon Bus Trip Home
It’s a rainy day, there’s three of us huddling under the balcony of the Town Hall hotel. The rain drizzles down slowly; the ashphalt and brick building glisten damply. We’re chatting about garbage collection in Scheme as the bus pulls up and everyone piles on. The three of us take seats at the back and A, R and I keep talking.
A little further down the road (maybe the West End hotel stop, but I wasn’t really paying attention) a guy gets on and takes the seat in front of me. The bus continues; droning out of Balmain, onto the Anzac bridge. The sun appears out of the clouds briefly - playing across the bridge pylons and the last vestiges of the working harbour beneath. Our discussion is getting animated - what can I say? Scheme and garbage collection matter to us.
And then suddenly, the guy sitting in front of us interrupts. ‘Hey!’ You’ll have to imagine the nasal, pinched drone for yourself - ‘Does any of youse guys has a mobile phone you could lends me?’ ‘Sorry mate; no.’ We respond.
And that was enough. ‘Where’s the fucking Australian spirit? Ya bunch of fucking wankers. You’re all just a bunch of fucking c#&ts. Fuck youse.’
We tried to go back to our conversation, but he wasn’t having that.
‘Nah! I don’t want to fucking hear it. Shut the fuck up, ya poofs.’
Then his phone rang. Yes, he had his own phone. The guy on the other end was told (loudly) about how this poor traveller was surrounded by a bunch of un-Australian c#&ts.
The bus continued along the Western Distributor, over Darling Harbour and into the city. At the next stop, on Sussex St, A, R and I all decide to get off.
We’re followed off the bus by more descriptions of our patriotism, anatomy and sexuality. R blames my long hair for the last. Having a look back at the bus we can see him screaming at us and pounding the window. Wow.
The Morning Bus Trip to Work
I run into DC waiting for the bus. She’s reading a book: ‘Scaling Software Agility.’ It’s about RUP and agile for big and growing teams. We start talking about it, and continue talking after we’re on the bus.
As our bus crosses the Anzac bridge, heading west, there’s a lull in our conversation. And into the pause, the old lady in the seat in front of us turns around. ‘Would you look at that? Evidence for global warming if ever I saw it.’ She gestures towards what appears to be a cloud bank over North Sydney. ‘All that smog and all those new cars waiting to add more.’
Below the Anzac bridge is the White Bay car wharves - just about every new car in Australia has passed through there. They sit, gleaming, sparkling cleanly. Waiting to be shipped off around the country to their excitedly waiting owners.
At first DC and I are a little taken aback - as you usually are when a random person on the bus starts talking to you.
‘Well, actually, I think that’s fog; not smog.’ From DC, after a pause.
‘Yeah, we’ve had quite a bit of rain recently, that would be fog, I think.’ Me, this time.
‘Oh? Are you a climatologist?’ Now that surprised me. Such a sweet old lady, so confrontational! I had tried to be polite. There must have been some shock or surprise in my face though, because she quickly continued.
‘I’m sorry for interrupting, but I’ve just been waiting for a chance. Listening in on your conversation has just made my year in Sydney! It’s sounded like such an intelligent conversation, especially compared to the usual inanity I overhear on public transport. You know, the usual he said then I said and she said. Just so inane! Anyway, I thought you may have been scientists. Are you climatologists?’
‘Close,’ DC replies, ‘we’re both engineers.’
And then, alluding to her experience in public health policy, she regalled us with her very high opinion of engineers. All the way through the narrow street up the side of the Balmain peninsula and to our stop, opposite the Town Hall hotel.