Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Wheels on the Bus

The only thing that has been building up in my head as a source of stress since arriving has been the prospect of my first bus journey. Of all the activities that face me whilst out and about, quite why this one had buried its way into my head is a mystery.
It may be because bus journeys signify the beginning and end of the day outside prison, and also hold dire consequences if, for example, one is late returning. It is the first point at which the whole day can be stuffed up. Or so I thought.
Presenting myself in Reception on a bitterly cold morning I waited to sign my License - the bit of paper that authorises me to be out for a set number of hours. To then be told, "you're not going out, the Governor has forgotten to sign your license..." was a hammer blow. Of all the ways the day could go wrong, this one had never been contemplated. A bit of running about later, license signed, checked out at the Gatehouse, and I was finally freed to join the rest of the world's fools who find themselves shivering at bus stops in the early morning.
I was under the impression that I needed to have the precise and correct coins to buy my ticket. My worries had been centred on this tiny detail. What if my coins were wrong? Do I just step off the bus and return to the nick, the day a wasteland of unfulfilled hope?
And, obviously, my change was wrong!. So I poked a fiver at the driver and asked him to just burn me ticket to Location X, even if he had no change. But lo! He dumped a pile of coins and a ticket back into my hand. What had I been stressing over?
Turning to face the seats I found myself hit by a wall of eyes, a bus absolutely chocca with school kids. Doesn't every prisoner wonder if he is identifiable as such on the street? I didn't, not for one moment.
The only seat available was a jump seat near the front and I leapt on it, pushing the elderly and pregnant out of the way. Only kidding. Once seated, though, I found it difficult to find anything on which to rest my gaze. At every turn, it seemed, was a person staring at the screen of their phone and privacy was clearly not top of their list of priorities. The etiquette of this was unknown to me, but I'd think it bloody rude if someone else was peeking at my phone, and so I spent the entire journey blankly staring at the ceiling.
Hop off, a forty minute wait on a wind blasted railway platform, and then off to Derby. Even the ticketing woman on the train was familiar with Bubbles Massage Parlour. It must be good!


  1. This post makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time, what a rollercoaster of a day, but at least it wasn't dull!

    Busses and bus journeys can be very stressful, and particularly for people with mental disorders (not saying Ben has one, mind), just that it is fairly well known, that symptoms (of mental illness) are and can be exacerbated by busses and bus journeys. For example for voice hearers, their symptoms are much greater in a bus funnily enough, not on trains, nor in cars necessarily, but in busses. Strange that.

  2. There is something else about busses, its known as 'bus willy'. Its where the vibrations from the bus on ones rear end i.e on the seat, can cause some people to get carried away in sexual fantasies, and, although I have never noticed it myself, apparently it can show on the men :0 oh no!

  3. Your posts have been a joy to read, recently. I've been reading for a while and seen the quality of the posts vary dramatically. At some times you've made sense, sometimes you've seemed overly melodramatic, sometimes i've though you were a twat. But what i've been reading since you made it to open prison have been great. You can really see how good this change has been for you and how much better you seem to be feeling. Keep it up.

  4. How can I access your blog ThereIsNoHiddenMeaning? You sound so knowledgable about blogs and Ben's in particular I was looking forward to doing a comparison, you know, of things like content, style, humour, and so on. I was hoping to see what you were all about and how what you have to say on matters compares to Ben or to any one else. Have you a link at all?

  5. I don't have a blog, Mr Anonymous, mainly because my life is ball achingly dull and i seriously doubt anyone would want to read my thrilling tales of getting up, going to work in my call centre job, then coming home and pissing about on the web for a couple of hours reading about other people's lives. Thanks anyway, i guess.