I love anybody who smashes social boundaries, directs two brazen fingers towards established "norms".
There was a woman who got on the bus one Friday evening when I was heading home from work, up the M1 from Belfast to Dungannon. She was mad as a brush, in her mid-thirties I guessed. I can say she was mad as a brush because, in my idealistic world with no boundaries, you can say someone is mad without offending the PC brigade...I hiss like a cobra at anybody who uses words like "inappropriate"...She was 'mad' in a good way; eccentric even.
My new soul mate trudged down the aisle of the bus with not a care in the world.
"SOME DAY ISN'T IT?" She exclaimed to no one in particular, trailing her handbag and a couple of shopping bags. I smirked to myself. It was indeed, a nice day. What made this comment so brilliant was that the bus was icy-silent and no one responded, apart from an amused smile from me. I guessed she was something of a character.
Anyway I forgot about her and started reading the newspaper, me sitting at the back of the bus and she was about two rows in front, to the left. She befriended a young student-like girl and talked loudly to her about her studies and about how she couldn't wait to get home, it being Friday evening. After about ten minutes or so up the motorway her phone began ringing. This was her ringtone:
I found it funny that this was her ringtone and had another chuckle to myself.
"HELLO!?" she answered. "Jist comin up the motorway here now, will be in Enniskillen in about an hour and a half. Aye not too bad, we went for a few drinks but then we fell out and I told him to fuck aff"
Turns out she was meeting somebody in Belfast. A man, unnamed, romantically-linked in some way I gathered. They were having drinks of some kind and then it all went awry. Normally I wouldn't eavesdrop on things like this but the whole bus could hear it. No one else was talking.
She hung up to her companion and began talking to her student friend again, launching into a spiel about this guy and what he'd done and what he'd said, and all the bastards under the sun that he was, too. By now the hairs on the backs of some passengers' necks started to prick. There were a couple of people, middle-aged, sitting at the back of the bus along with me...They weren't amused. Her phone rang again, the brilliant rendition of Countryroads' "Almost Heaven, West Virginia", booming proudly through the bus again.
"HELLO!?" she answered.
Turns out her phone kept ringing and ringing and ringing the whole way up the road, I'd hazard a conservative guess of about ten times at least. It must have been her botched 'date' because some sort of a row ensued, all sorts of expletives and threats of litigation and "You're dead when I see you" shouted down the phone. Once she'd finished that conversation she'd ring her friend on the phone and recount what had just been said during the other conversation, along with furious fiddling with texts and the occasional opinionated update to her student-friend beside her on the bus, in case she didn't already know.
I looked at all this with great amusement, thanking her for providing me with entertainment after a long boring day at work. We were nearing Dungannon now and it was almost my time to get off. The middle-aged people beside me, one of them bald-headed, had had enough. Sitting in the seat in front, they tapped her on the shoulder to get her attention.
"Excuse me, can you stop using your phone like that? It's very rude and annoying"
The woman looked taken aback, mildly shocked at the prude behind. She turned round in a rather dramatic fashion and pointedly sulked while staring serenely at the seat in front. Her phone rang again. Countryroads. She answered.
"HERE, I CAN'T TALK TO YOU NOW BECAUSE SOMEONE ON THE BUS DOESN'T WANT ME TO"
His red-faced scowl was priceless, like a well-smacked baboon's arse. Sarcastic, audacious, a brilliant retort. "What a bitch" I was thinking, but in a funny way. "Why couldn't she have sat beside me?" I thought.
To see the effect of her poison spread throughout the bus like an infectious disease, driving a horse and cart driven through the tranquility, made my day. To many casual observers she was obnoxious, a few too many beers perhaps, but I liked the fact more than anything that she didn't give two fucks.
The world can do with a few people like that every now and again.
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