Thursday, 14 May 2009

Night rider

Last Tuesday night, I trudged through the drizzle from the station to Hanley following another giddy evening of teenage rampage.

It's a forty-five minute wait for the Glorious XXI at that time of night and it makes as much sense to walk up to the bus station via the Coachmakers: "we've got a visitor," riffed the couple at the bar as I necked a swift half.

In damply pixelated daydreams the waiting area at Hanley Bus Station is easily transformed into a 1980s platform game - one has to vault the onrushing "spare a smoke" folk and splat several randomised drunks, all whilst dodging some half-programmed fist-shakers from the Street Fighter auditions.

While I counted my golden pennies, a senior gent breezed out of nowhere, enquired keenly about which bus I was awaiting, and seemed delighted to inform me that, "you'll have no trouble with that one, duck - Pawel's on tonight." Producing a dazzling golden pocket watch from within, he was able to add that I'd only be waiting three and a half minutes (precisely).

He was absolutely correct. Acknowledgments duly exchanged, we both took separate seats on the bus, me surrendering £1.70, he twitching his cap and bus-pass.

On passing Cheque & Pawn (auspicious), an appreciative rumble broke out amongst the kindly old fella and three of his peers - a spontaneous outbreak of positivity that I guessed could add years to their lives, though I've no idea what prompted it.

I inferred that all were ex-PMT workers who had never stopped riding the buses, keeping time, or doing that thing that bus drivers do when they pass one another - even when sat in the very same saloon and deprived of their drives.

I'm not sure why, but I love those moments.

Meanwhile, the boy awakens...

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