I’m spending a lot of time on public transport these days, particularly making the shuffle between Clapham Common and East Dulwich to rearrange the cosmetics at Sainsbury’s (note to you all: if you happen to go and buy beauty products at East Dulwich Sainsbury’s, DO NOT take things out of their neat, clean and lovingly arranged display and put them ANYWHERE ELSE. Say you pick up a Boujois nail polish. If you replace it amongst the Maybelline Foundations I WILL STRIKE YOU DOWN WITH THE MIGHT OF MY FURY AND A DEATH STARE TO END ALL DEATH STARES. I’m not even joking. I stand behind customers and watch them replace products and if they put them in the wrong place, I very sweetly come up to them and say, ‘That doesn’t go there. I’ll put it back where it belongs.’ They never do it again.)
Anywho, point is, spending a lot of time on the bus. And, because you can get mobile phone reception on the bus (which is obviously not possible on the underground), you get to listen in to all sorts of interesting conversations. Here is a sampling of some from the past few weeks:
Teenage girl, giggling: ‘You can’t see my chest. No! You can’t see my chest. You’re crazy. You’re crazy! You can’t see my chest!’ (I can only presume she was referring to a large storage chest. You know, where she keeps all her private things. Like, love notes and…I don’t know, lipsticks her parents have said she can’t wear. There couldn’t possibly be any other reading of this conversation)
Teenage boy: ‘Well, my parents went to Manchester University, which is like, number 4 on the list. The list. You know, the one I was telling you about. The list of universities you’re most likely to have sex at.’
Middle-aged man, possibly a character from EastEnders (well, he sounded like he was a character from EastEnders): ‘Yeah, she just came at me! I’m telling you, I couldn’t do anything. And she’s a big girl, mate. She’s a big girl. And I said to her, I said… Look, I love you, but if you ever lift a finger against me again, I won’t hold back, I’ll hit you back. No, no, no, mate, I’d never hit a woman, but I’m not having that. I’m not having that. I’m not having someone using me as a punching bag for the rest of their life (pause). Oh, she read some text message, you know, got the wrong idea. I said, ‘Why would I go out for mince meat when I’ve got sirloin steak at home,’ you know what I mean?’
30-something African-American: ‘You don’t ditch your gym partner and go train with someone else. That’s sacrilege.’
Teenage girl: ‘So, the game is that you have to think of girls names that start with the last letter of the name before. So, I’ll start. Tanya. Now you have to think of one that starts with ‘A’. Great! Ok, ummm…. Andrea (pause). Anna. Oh, that ends with… (pause) Ah, Amelia! Oh, whoops! That ends with ‘A’ too! It looks like there’s a bit of a pattern here!’
Australian twenty-something, answers phone: ‘Hello? Are you… Gooooooood Booooooooyyyyy.’ Hangs up phone.
The following conversation was not strictly held on the phone, however it was so cute, I wanted to include it. And, it was in reference to a mobile phone, so it kind of counts.
Little Boy: What games does it have?
Father: It doesn’t haven any games.
Little Boy: No games? Can’t I play games on it?
Father: No, because its just a phone.
Little Boy: Just a phone?
Father: All it does is make phone calls. And text messages.
Little Boy: Why?
Father: Well, because… that was all I needed. You know, when I first got that phone, it was the best phone. It was the best phone there was. It was a super-duper fancy phone and it could do absolutely everything… but things are changing so quickly these days and now…. Well, I still love this phone.
Little Boy: But, there are no games on it?
Father: Maybe Mummy will let you play games on her phone.
(Mummy is at the back of the bus)
Little Boy: Mummy? MUMMY!
And there you have it. A slice of British life. As seen via their famous double-decker buses.