Thursday, December 10, 2009

Just a Man on the Bus

Public transport has become a way of life for me. It's a daily necessity.

And I don't look back on my days as a car owner with fondness.

No road tax to pay, no vehicle insurance, no fuel costs1, no MOT2, no breakdown recovery and repair and no service bills.

Certainly, you get the freedom: the freedom that is the shackles of all those financial commitments. And just when you think you have some extra cash saved for a holiday to the South of France, your gearbox explodes. bang goes the gearbox, bang goes the holiday.

Public transport - in the age of the Internet - is the best place to learn social skills. Forget that social networking shit. Catch a bus or a train.

The vagrants who occupy bus stations across the land, the ones who sit there with their cheap booze, and threadbare clothes: they're the ones who have the real stories, the ones who have led real lives. Just try talking to one, you might be surprised as to what you learn.

Then there are the same people you see, at the same stops, with the same glum faces. Somebody cracks a joke about Tiger Woods losing several advertising deals but landing a multi-million advertising contract with Durex, and the glum faces are replaced with smiles.

The sounds of complaint about the weather are replaced with sounds laughter. More jokes are told.

We mostly ever see each other on the station or on the bus. But we know each other's names. And when we chance upon on one another in a pub, we speak, and are introduced to each others' friends.

Now, this is real social networking.

1At £1.10 a litre, this makes £4.95 a gallon. In us dollars, I estimate that to be around $8.00 US. It's not cheap.

2The MOT certificate. You don't have one, you can't get insurance, or if you have a certificate and it expires your insurance is invalid. But, of course, it promotes road safety.

Apologies for incoherence. Post skunk post.


Tabor said...

So public transportation has replaced the small town community.

dan said...

They certainly have over here, Tabor.

Nobody on my street speaks to each other.

RC666 said...

At least you make the best of it. When I was in the big city with public transport I didn't talk to anyone and where I live now there is none.

dan said...

RC, I guess it is pretty rural where you are.

Leslie Hawes said...

I think this "social networking" thing you've stumbled upon is called "talking to people".
I'm glad you're doing your best to re-invigorate it. Truly a lost art! :)

dan said...

Leslie, I can but try.! It seems it really is a lost art.


eric said...

why didn't i read this before?

anyway, we don't really have the option of public transport where i live. it's almost an entirely auto-driven lifestyle and economy in my city.

when i was in journalism school, one of our professors had us ride a public bus and interview people for a day. you might find it strange ... but there were so many who had anxiety about even stepping on a bus.

dan said...

i can understand where you're coming from, eric. i have reservations about using the tube in london, and always have had them about the tube.

but buses are a way of life for me.

younger bro now lives in the US and it's incredibly rural where he is too. i think you're whole country is pretty damn rural. everything is too far apart and travel is a bitch.