Monday, December 16, 2019

Bus Stop Blues

Mu baby got dem bus stop blues…oh yeah
Mu baby got dem bus stop blues
The 1B bus ain’t comin’ an’
I got a hole in mu shoes

I mostly don’t have a problem waiting for a bus. Not when the 1B was due in five minutes according to the information board. I counted down the numbers. It was worse than a watched kettle. Then, it was due and all eyes were fixed on the corner where the bus turns. There were number 5 buses, two number 3s, a number 7A but no 1B. The information board moved on to the next bus coming in half an hour. Not a 1B. The next one of those, that probably wouldn’t turn up either, was in an hour’s time.

Then the man started up. It wasn’t a quiet rant. I’d kind of promised myself that bus stops were fertile ground for gleaning writing prompts. It was a long grizzle about what was a) wrong with the bus system, b) wrong with Inverness and c) what was wrong with Nicola Sturgeon. The man had, apparently, visited a lot of cities all over Europe. Inverness was a joke – but he wasn’t laughing. He wished, time and again, that he had never moved up to Inverness. After fifteen minutes I also wished he hadn’t moved to Inverness.

How much was the weather talking? Had it been a sunny day, had he been licking an ice cream, had he been basking in a heat wave, would he have spoken so critically? He would have had something to say about sunstroke and midgy bites.

a)       The bus system isn’t great but it beats walking. The bus drivers probably have little control over the route or the road conditions. Most of them are cheerful and doing their best. They are never rude. Sometimes they don’t wait long enough for me to find a seat, but I can cope.

I miss the old No 13 bus. That used to be perfect. It didn’t head off into the hills. They were every twenty minutes. Then again, I had a car in those days, so bus journeys were not the norm. And I didn’t have the older person’s entitlement card.

b)      Inverness hasn’t been a city for that long. It has a lot of catching up to do. Most eating places, certainly the chip shops, close at 10.00pm. BUT it is so close to so much beautiful scenery. What’s not to love about Loch Ness?

I remember the morning after the evening I arrived in Inverness. I was all set to work for a gospel outreach team for a year. I stood on a footbridge that spanned the river. I looked at the castle perched on the hill. There was a settling inside and a feeling of coming home. It was exactly the time and the place where I was supposed to be. Every so often I go and stand on the bridge to see if I can recapture that feeling. Inverness now is nothing like it was then but I have had no marching orders.

c)       Please don’t slag our Nicola. Someone on TV yesterday said that she is a rare commodity in politics – she is honest. I’ve always thought that honest politicians are an oxymoron. She has never hidden her desire for independence, but it will always be according to the will of the people. It will always be our choice.

I don’t know what it is about the logic people employ. The independence vote was lost because of the fear that Scotland would end up out of the EU and getting back in wasn’t going to be easy. Not on our own. Westminster played on that fear and insisted that a vote against independence would mean our place in the EU was secure. Now they have taken us out. Yes, the vote was supposed to be a once in a lifetime vote, but things have changed. The promise to stay in Europe is not there now. The result might be very different now.

The man carried on with his complaints after he was on the bus. Had I been the bus driver I would have stopped the bus and told him to get off.

Of course, the man has every right to freedom of speech. He can air his views as often, as loud and as going-on-and-on as he likes. I’d like to think that he is thankful that in doing so he doesn’t end up in prison, or worse.

There are worse places to live than in Inverness.

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