War Games

Today I actually got to witness an actual conversation which contained the phrase “fought in the war”.

I thought these things were just myths and legends, stories spun to make things appear more interesting. But no, it actually happens. And it is just as funny and eye-rolling as you would imagine.

I got the bus home from work today, and one of the passengers who got on after me was an old lady who, once she got seated, told anyone who would listen about her various woes.

What it amounted to, in a nutshell, was that she had waited at the bottom of town – near the market – from the free town centre bus. It had not come and she had waited for an hour and a quarter. Eventually, after seventy-five minutes she walked, slowly (that seemed important), through town to the bus stop at the top of town and caught her bus home – the bus she was on now.

There are already issues with this. She didn’t have to walk all the way up to the top of town to catch the bus. She passed two bus stops on the way to the one she eventually boarded the bus on. One of which is only a street-or-so away from the market.

Also the free bus, as its name suggests, is free. It makes no money. So if there’s a choice between pulling that bus and pulling a bus on which people pay, it’s fairly obvious that the town centre bus will suffer for however long it takes to get another driver in place.

She then prattled on about the free bus – which hadn’t come for an hour and some, remember – only caring about the students. Students who, if they had been waiting for the bus, hadn’t see a service for an hour and some. This is when she dragged the war into it. “They seem to forget who fought for this country in the war… that it was us….”

Now.

My eyes rolled big style at this point. And I made a snorty laugh noise. Mainly because, as I say, I couldn’t believe anyone actually says this stuff. But also because my brain was quickly doing the maths. And because that argument holds less and less water with each passing year.

It’s been, what, seventy three years since the end of World War II? So to have fought in it, you’d need to be at least ninety one, give-or-take a bit of creative accountancy with the ages because everyone was hugely patriotic and desperate to drive back those pesky Germans.

She wasn’t ninety-one. I was pretty much certain of that. She was old, sure, but not old enough for the fighting. Not to mention the whole “a woman? fighting?” thing. Unless she was called Bob and disguised as a man for the whole shooting match.

She then confirmed it by saying, “I grew up with rationing…”

Boom. So you didn’t fight in the war. You’re not allowed to invoke that clause of an argument unless you’ve put in the time. A bit of powdered egg and only being able to have a sausage once a fortnight doesn’t guarantee you any sort of future bus sympathy.

I also think, in a way, it’s a massive insult to the troops who fought in the war that their efforts are primarily used to justify pushing in to queues or not having to wait for a bus.