It’s been a day of bus travel today. Milking a Metro Day ticket for all it’s been worth, I’ve caught upwards of five buses in the pursuit of registering my grandmother’s death. I’ve witnessed my mother become agitated at the way my grandma seeming changed her name on a whim somewhere between 1920 and 1944 and mentally prepared for any faff that might throw up. Which, all being well, will be none.
And after the simple job of registering the death we decided to call it quits on anything else, regroup and start sorting out the other stuff next week. I have to track down a sensibly dressed probate advisor, but other than that things can wait until next week (with a teensy-weensy bit of appointment making to do this week). There’s no rush, in the greater scheme of things, and you have to be mindful of the amount of stress it’s seeming to put mum under.
I got the bus home and about half-three this afternoon. It was my fifth or sixth bus of the day. I had travelled in a variety of temperatures, nearly nodded off, sat on comfortable and uncomfortable seats and generally experienced all the joys that the peasant wagon could hold.
And then there was a tap on my shoulder.
“Excuse me, are those things good for reading on?” asks a timid lady. I already knew what she was up to, having clocked her at the bus stop.
“Yeah they’re great.” I said, remaining courteous in the face of what was essentially stranger danger.
Some back and forth ensued about the electronic versus physical book, and an anecdote about how her mother forbid her from reading when she was a child because she didn’t do anything else.
Now, at this point she was sitting behind me.
She then moved to sit on the seat across the aisle and continue talking to me. Believe me, I am aware what my face looks like. Nothing about it ever screams “Hey, why don’t you come and talk to me random stranger?” and especially not when I am on the bus. Reading my Kindle and minding my own business.
She then pulled a book out of her bag and showed it to me, like a magician. “Have you ever read this?” she asked.
The book was the Book Of Mormon.
I remained polite. Which is probably only because I was on the bus.
“Don’t start.” I said. I wasn’t surprised by this move as, luckily, Mormons in a free-range environment like to wear super large badges which advertise them as such. I had seen this badge waaay earlier, being ever observant of my surroundings.
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you mean?” was her response. Because “don’t start” is not clear enough, apparently.
I then had to ask her not to try and push her religion onto me. I’d already been quite hesitant of whether I should even read the book I was currently on with as it was about the collection of various religious artefacts in a sub-par Dan Brown-esque way (I know, right) and I was aware that to the trained, nosey over -the-shoulder eye, certain words would leap out at a person.
So I asked her not to try and push my religion onto me.
Which is when she told me that was not what she was doing at all. Despite having, unbidden, got out her chosen religious text and waved it in my face. I mean, if that isn’t pushing religion onto someone I’m not sure what is. I mean, short of injecting it directly into me, that’s about as close as you can get. And, now more than ever, no means no. This was definitely non-consensual.
I couldn’t have made it clearly I was uninterested in her. I was reading my book.
And yet she carried on yammering at me. Explaining that she wasn’t pushing, she was just putting across her beliefs. Which is pretty much pushing. But hey ho.
And then when I said, quite nicely, “Sorry. Can I just read my book please” she responded with, “Well, there’s no need to be rude.”
There’s no need to be rude? You’ve just waved your bloody book of nonsense in my face and I’m the one being rude by telling you I’m not interested? What the actual…
And since all that happened I’ve been kicking myself. Absolutely kicking myself.
When she showed me the book, I should have said, “No, I haven’t read it, but I’ve heard the stage show is amazing.”