Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bus ride

I checked my watch and swore under my breath. Looking back at the timetable, the empty road and my watch again, it was clear the bus I'd wanted had been and gone two minutes earlier. At that time of night, the next wouldn't be along for another half an hour.

After ten minutes or so, another pulled up, and although it meant a tram ride at the other end, I got on. On the back seats, two men were having a drunken argument. A little further forward, two homeless men were catching up on some sleep. I sat myself in the middle of the bus and looked out the window.

As it was dark and most people were tucked up in their houses, nothing was happening on the streets. As the bus neared the centre of town though, more and more people got on, giving me something to watch. People had been at Christmas parties and late night shopping for gifts.

There was a pattern. Someone would get on and head for the back of the bus, which, apart from the four men, was empty. Then, either a drunken curse would be heard from the very back, or the new passenger would come up against the unwashed odour of the two sleeping men and abandon that plan, heading for the increasingly crowded front and opening a window on the way.

Some people obviously struggled with their emotions before taking up a standing position at the front of the bus, quickly glancing about the back and moving forward without a word. Others were less subtle, wafting the air in front of their nose and screwing up their faces with the stench.

The sleeping men suddenly awoke and raised their heads from their arms. Although one fell asleep again almost immediately, the second, a younger man, stayed awake, and seemed aware that the seats around them were empty. He looked at the crowd in the front and then cast his glance swiftly outside.

The second, bearded man, leaned against the younger man, trying to get comfortable in his sleep. The younger man, obviously not happy with this arrangement, gently shrugged him off, but caught the sleeping man's head in his hands before it hit the seat in front.

For a while they stayed like that, the younger man cradling the bearded man's head as he slept.

My stop was getting closer and the drunken men had traded their last insults and got off the bus. A few people had moved further back, now the drunken brawl was out of sight.

I looked back at the homeless men as I got up from my seat, on my way back to my warm flat when all they had was this draughty vehicle. The bearded man was still asleep, propped on his own arm again. The younger man had his arm around the sleeping man and as I stepped off the bus, I saw his hand was in the sleeping man's pocket, rooting around for anything he could get.

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Anonymous artur said...

so what? I mean ,is it really the fist time you have seen anything like that in warsaw?

8:15 pm  

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