Simon Growl

One of the fun elements of my job is that I get to experience the evening bus services – something which I haven’t had to do, in anger, since I worked for William Hill in my twenties.

The evening buses are a cultural cross-section. And, more than in the day time there are rules to be followed.

Evening buses you never, ever sit next to anyone else unless you know them. And even then if you can sit on separate seats you should always do that.

Unless, of course, I’m on the bus.

Then hey, screw they rules, just plonk yourself down next to me with your 2 litre bottle of supermarket brand cider and start growling for now apparent reason. No, really. Go for it.  Don’t worry that there’s an entire empty double seat in front of us.

Oh, an if you want to over-exaggerate as the bus corners just crack on, mate. I don’t mind. Now, lean on me as much as you feel the need but, whatever you do, make sure you keep growling and muttering throughout the whole thing.

He didn’t start off next to me. That’s what adds a whole other element to it. He got on the bus before me – there were about seven of us at the stop. And those of us behind him all patiently waited while he staggered his way towards the back of the bus, none of us able to access a seat we could sit on as he bashed the existing passengers with his smart price cider.

And then as the bus set off he decided it would be best if he came and growled next to me. Maybe he just didn’t feel the same sitting up near the back of the bus, on his own, growling away. He clearly looked around the bus at the sea of head-backs in front of him and thought, “that balding guy with the more grey than not hair looks like he’s be good company while I growl”.

And then he appeared.

And growled.

I mean, humans who growl are – on the whole – not people you want to sit next to. Unless they are actors playing the role of a growling person, or cos-players really getting into the character they are dressed as. This man was neither. I assume. If he was an actor and was going for the part of scary growly man then he’s on for a Bafta.

I’m fairly sure he wasn’t, though. He was just a man, growling, and effectively trapping me in my seat as I couldn’t get passed him to sit, you know, anywhere there wasn’t a man growling.

Ah, the evening buses. How I have missed you.