Many of life’s great mysteries can be explored, and even solved at a bus stop. Mainly, for me, mysteries like “what is it about me that makes you think I want to talk to you?” I have not, as yet, found the answer to that particular conundrum.
But I remain ever hopeful.
Quite few years ago, in Leeds, I found myself embroiled in a conversation (unwillingly) about tins and how they are quite heavy. “They’re heavy aren’t they, tins?” is one of my favourite sentences of all time. Because no-one’s brain is prepared with a response for that. It’s too busy going “I mean, yes, but what the….? Why would anyone…? Would you like me to send for help? Release the adrenaline!” to come up with any sort of reply.
And the follow-up, “Until you eat what’s in them…” just leaves you completely destroyed. Your brain has given up. Completely. You are reduced to the level of a gibbering idiot. You can’t respond. But the primal centres of you brain are already looking for escape from the situation you’re on.
The other night it was a very similar thing, although it concerned what you can and can’t hear outside Huddersfield train station because of the sound of the trains. I mean, every now and again you might hear a train. You might hear a muffled announcement. After all, the station is just on the other side – at one point, at least, of a wall. So things do carry over. But let’s make it clear. Conversations and things of that nature are not suspended every time the train to Manchester pulls in to platform 1. It’s not a train made of bells. It’s generally quite quiet.
But the talk of the train then led the woman on to the bus – our bus, I was thrilled to discover – which was coming down the road.
“Is it one of those electric ones? It’s very quiet,” she said.
I had no idea what she was on about. Genuinely no idea. I assumed she meant the bus, but they’re not electric. They’re nowhere near electric. They’ve just got wifi, for chuff’s sake, and we’ve only got that because someone’s worked out a way to do it without only being able to go so far before the plug comes out of the router.
“What? The bus?” I asked. Because I was baffled.
“I don’t know what they call them now they’re electric,” she replied.
This served two purposes. One it left me none the wiser as to whether she meant the bus or not. And two, even if she did mean the bus why does she think it wouldn’t be called a bus if it was electric?
I mean, what?
I did the only thing I could do in the circumstances.
“They’re heavy aren’t they, tins?”