You gave me a little lesson in life today. So thoughtful of you.
My kids love the bus. They like to sit at the back. They like to look out of the window. They like to comment on the scratched-in graffiti on the windows (“so naughty!”). They like to press the button to ring the bell when it’s our stop.
I was not aware that any of this was a major imposition to your day. But I was wrong.
From the moment you sat down beside us on the long back bench seat, I knew.
Listen to Holly telling this story on the This Glorious Mess podcast, here:
You don’t have to be doused in petuli oil to feel hostile vibes when they’re surging as strongly as yours were that morning.
My daughter’s school sandal brushed your trouser leg, ever so slightly. You tutted, you eye-rolled.
I smiled. It’s my default position to be nice, I’m a bit pathetic like that. “We’re getting off in a minute,” I told you, as per nothing. You pursed your lips.
My daughter reached up as high as her fingers would go to press the button for the next stop. And you turned on us.
“You and your children should not be on this bus,” you shouted at me. Do you remember saying that? It seemed like a weird thing to say.
My daughter was sitting in between us, so you were talking over her head, eye-to-eye. She’s six.
“I am going to complain about you.”
I don't like confrontation. It's a great weakness of mine. But something about you really pissed me off that morning, and I don't think we have to think too hard to work out what it was.
The details of public transport rules are not interesting to anyone, but I gathered, from your words, that you were upset that my little kids and I were on an express bus to the city early in the morning. And we were getting off a few stops in.
I was sent into a flurry of self-defence - the bus was stopping here anyway to let more people on; I had specifically asked the bus driver before we got on if it was okay, my children weren't bothering anyone, etc etc