I caught one of the dreaded buses this morning. Any seasoned user of public transport will know the ones I mean. The ones that, at some point on their route, cross the 9.30 barrier and are then swamped with pensioners.
When you reach a certain age, you are allowed to get yourself a bus pass which entitles you to free bus travel. That’s fine. It’s a nice way of helping those of advanced years and reduced income to get about a bit. You can travel, for free, at any time from 9.30 in the morning.
FROM 9.30 in the morning.
From. Not only at 9.30. From 9.30.
But no-one seems to understand that bit.
For some reason as soon as you come into possession of one of these passes it becomes your life’s mission to make sure you are on a bus into two as close to the 9.30 threshold as is humanly possible. Some of them will be turned away because they’re too eager, clogging up bus stops five or ten minutes before the freebies kick in and then getting a bit shirty when they can’t use their pass.
But the majority of them swarm onto buses at 9.30 like locusts in a Biblical plague.
I can understand that there might be the mentality that they just want to get out and back without losing too much of the day.
But I think I have to call shenanigans on that.
I firmly believe that they all swarm into town because they are genuinely worried that shops will run out of whatever it is they need to get their wizened hands onto. Because they never seem particular eager to be cracking on when they’re standing in shop doorways have a chat with five or six of their cronies, but if you think that they’re worried about missing out on things then that tactic makes complete sense.
They’re not really talking about anything. They’re running a defensive formation. By blocking off most of a shop doorway, you see, their limiting the access for anyone else who may want to get in. By doing that they’re ensuring that their cohorts inside can get what they need to. It’s all part of their cunning plan.
I just genuinely don’t think they need to go in that early. I think they’ve seen their parents doing it, and feel that they should. Like the thing where you reach an age and start wearing fleeces with wolves on them. It’s all part of the same thing. The generation before did it, so we should carry on the tradition.
The other thing is, you see them all rushing out at 9.30, but they’re on the next bus (or the one just after that) back out of town with seemingly no change in their loadout from when they came in. I think there are just pensioners who travel on the 9.30 bus because they can. Not because they want to. They just feel they have to.
Every. Bloody. Day.
My heart sank this morning, as I realised that I’d crossed the international OAP line. It was a rookie error for someone as experienced as me with public transport. The tutting at bags on seats, the muttering about people who won’t give up their seats, the grumbling at any sudden movements made by the driver.
This is what you get for embracing the nine minutes grace that your SNOOZE button gives you.
It’s a lesson to learn from.
And learn I have.