One of the first posts I wrote on this here blog was about how potentially dangerous stairs on buses are and how I feared the descent from the upper to lower deck on a daily basis.
I was sitting on the top deck of the 388- an irregular but handy little number that takes me from Blackfriars to Shoreditch. Its often deserted and so I like to go to the top deck, sit at the front and pretend I am king of the bus, I will occasionally whisper under my breath as I take up my new found office 'Ahhh king of the bus'. When it's sunny I can shut my eyes, prop my feet up on the shelf and bask in the glory of my kingdom.
The bus neared its destination and I noticed it was on diversion, the traffic had been horrendous and I thought I better make a dash for the next stop before it went off piste. There was a red light and there, I thought, was my chance to get down the stairs. I picked up my bag, and abdicated my throne. I stepped onto the top step- it was going well and then onto the second- ha this is easy- I was,after all, until a few moments earlier king of the bus, going down stairs should be easy for someone like me. And then The bus jolted forward. I lost my grip, my shoulder ricocheted hard on to the wall and some how I spun round on my heel making me fall backwards. I was not gracefully gliding down these stars I was crashing and bouncing and swearing. My back smashed against the wall at the bottom and propelled me to the ground as if I had been wrestled by some invisible assailant. It seemed to happen embarrassingly slowly and I found my self lying on the lower deck, on my back wondering if I was broken.
Surely someone is going to help me. Perhaps there is no one on the bus. But then I heard a hearty laugh. From a man. with a WALKING STICK. Men with walking sticks shouldn't laugh at people falling over. But then I surmised that perhaps this was sweet revenge and he looked a bit mad- so I left him to his amusement. Until he laughed again and nodded at me. There was no hand to help me up, no 'are you ok?' just a gentle mocking laughter as if he had been watching a fat person falling over whilst eating a cake. It was the morning of April 1st, perhaps this man took me for a fool
The walking stick clearly wasn't going to come to my aid but surely someone else might. I assumed that the bus was empty until I turned to the backseats, which were full. Of mostly middle class looking women. Staring. At me, me clearly in pain sprawled indelicately across the floor. And not one of them helped me or asked if I was ok, they just watched me, as if I was on television. One women made a half hearted attempt-she half stood up out of her seat before she decided, actually no, she wouldn't. Which I think is worse some how; to think of helping, to show willing but not commitment.
As it transpired I was left unscathed but for a disappointing bruise and a slightly pathetic limp-that looks fake.
I've no idea why they didn't help. Maybe they didn't like the fact that I'd been king of the bus. Pride does come before a fall they say- except the other day when I got confused and said pride after a fall-which of course makes no sense- but I think is a sentiment not without merit.
I ought to add that when I regaled my friend at work with this tale she said
"Oh my god, thats awful, and have you hurt your face?" SHe pointed at my chin.
It was with sorrow that my housemate and I bid adieu to our washing machine. It had produced some fine work over the years, clean sheets, clean trousers... other clean things (although I only moved in a few weeks ago so this is pure conjecture).
So with a heavy a heart, a heavy hangover (the washing machine wake was a good one) and a heavier credit card I stood in Currys waiting for my housemate to come and chose a new washing machine.
Whilst I was waiting I explored the Aladdin's cave of competitively priced electronic goods until I happened upon a TV aerial that peaked my interest.
'Excuse me' I said to a man assigned to the TV department. 'How much is this?'
He took the box and beckoned me to follow him past promises of high definition, elaborate home cinemas and plasma televisions the size of market towns. We arrived at a computer and he paused and then turned to me and said...
'Can I just say something, I don't want you to be offended.'
'Oh no' I thought silently, he's going to tell me how tired I look and that my mascara has run down my sleep deprived face thus compounding the problem. Oh why is life lived in HD?
'OK' I capitulated.
'Now' he said seriously in a gentle Caribbean accent 'this is going to sound very unprofessional.'
I wanted to shout out: 'Yes, I know I went to bed at three and yes, I am still wearing yesterdays make up, but its Saturday and I am allowed to let my- as yet unwashed- hair down.'
'You have....' He paused again before sighing heavily and shaking his head 'The most beautiful eyes I have ever seen.'
'Ha!' say I to government studies into binge drinking- I thrive upon anything above and beyond the recommended number of units.
'I don't mean to stare, but seriously, I could look at them all day, so blue, so so blue.' He cocked his head to one side, as I laughed nervously. 'With that kind of beauty what am I supposed to do?'
I coughed loudly. From flattering to weird in just two easy steps.
He continued in this vein for a while until I said 'Stop it!' in a tone that said 'Thanks but also desist, you're creepy and you still haven't told me the cost of the aerial.'
'Ok' he said understanding my intonation 'I will stop.' He tried but then he started again 'But I am just going to have to look this way' He dramatically pointed in the other direction 'Because I cannot look at you, it pains me.'
Thanks a lot Keats!
So there we stood there for what seemed like an awkward hour or two whilst the computer crashed three times. In silence he forcedly looked the other way as if I was Medusa whilst I stared at my shoes and thought of terminal illnesses and dug my fingernails into my palms in an effort not to laugh.
'£34.99' He said triumphantly. 'But, you know, when Mr right comes along, tell him if he does anything wrong he has to come to me.'
I stayed silent but raised a confused eyebrow, I wanted to say 'But I don't even know your name and anyway in the unlikely event that Mr right does come along but then does something heinous how does one contact you? Should I just march him into Currys and make him wait until your shift?'
'And another thing' He continued sagely, passing the aerial back to me. 'Be careful, because there are a lot of sharks out there.'
I assumed he meant in terms of men and not actual sharks.
I dreamt that I was running around the sloping decks of The Titanic with a group of Chinese people who were being chased by hedgehogs that had been genetically engineered by Chairman Mao to run and track down dissidents.
I've been thinking about when the next really embarrassing thing is going to happen to me. It could happen at any time, at any place. It probably won't happen tonight because it is 20.10 and I am staying at my parents house and there is no one else here.
Tomorrow, however, I might go to Cambridge to do some last minute Christmas shopping, there has been a cold snap, the pavements are like slightly crap ice rinks, perhaps the next embarrassing thing will happen then. All I do know is that at some point something embarrassing is going to happen to me but no one knows when.