Remember, remember the month of November. It has different connotations for us all.
Movember is moustache month for the guys (which reminds me that I really need to do something about my own dark stubble). They have a month to let their hairy lips raise awareness for men’s health issues.
NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month of November when highly motivated and prolific writers spend every waking hour writing a complete novel in just thirty days. No, of course I’m not participating in that. Are you crazy?
For me this is Busmo, or Mobus, or maybe even Nobus. Name it as you wish. This is the month when I, oh priviliged, spoilt brat of a woman, have to take the bus to work.
How come? Because the thousand-place free car park beside my office is otherwise occupied. It has transformed itself into a gigantic, shiny, noisy, candy-floss-flavoured fairground. And since I have no intention of fighting with the other nine hundred and ninety-nine car owners for the twenty spaces which remain in town, I went and bought myself a bus pass and have started to discover what life is like on the other side of the road.
Life is stressful and snappy and sad and smelly. I am no longer an independent driver but a fully dependent passenger. Decisions on when to leave and the choice to dilly or to dally are no longer mine to make. The clock dictates my every move.
It rushes me from the breakfast table to slap on my warpaint and run out the door. It makes me gobble my lunch in five minutes flat. It forces me to harass my colleagues and shove them away without a final loo-stop.
I’m a pain at home and a pain at work. Everything I do is timed by the little numbers ticking loudly inside my head. If I miss that one I’ll be late for work. If I miss this one I’ll get home at nine.
And the journey itself is worse. Nobody smiles. Nobody laughs. Everyone stares straight ahead, with the same sad look set hard into their face. It screams – don’t look at me, don’t talk to me, don’t dare give me the hint of a grin! Phones are scrutinised. Bags are placed on empty seats as protection against the unwelcome neighbour. Dirty clad feet are set upon the bright green velvet of the chair across the way. They speak loudly too, those feet. Bugger off, they say.
Three more weeks to go until the fair is over. Then another week to clean up the sticky, oily mess. Will it be enough to stop looking at my watch, stop sprinting out the door, stop sighing at the bus stop when the headlights don’t appear? Will I have time to get a smile, a nod, a quick ‘Bonjour’? Will I ever manage to teach the other passengers a quick Michael Jackson song or a dance as we all weave our lonely way home? Or will I need to do this every day for many years to finally accept the sadness and stress of a trip on the buses?