“well… come if you’re comin’! i haven’t got all day!” yelled the gnarly, bark-faced driver of the 11:21 x40 bus from Glenrothes to Kirkcaldy, as an elderly bow-legged lady, in fake fur coat and pillbox hat, struggled aboard. i watched, in equal parts amusement and revulsion, as he proceeded to clumsily thump the steering wheel with his chimp-like arms and tight, hirsute-knuckled fists. he threw the old dame a look of contempt; contempt for her age and inability? contempt for her eccentricity? the words “oh for Christ’s sake!” exited my mouth before i realised that i was thinking aloud. is thinking allowed? was i allowed an expression of opinion on this vessel of public transport? the simian driver threw me a similar look of disdain and rage. unblinking, chin up, i stared him down.
“oh the season of goodwill is short-lived this year!” i utter, under my breath, never breaking my equally contemptuous stare at this naked ape.
humans irk me, sometimes. but i try to take people as i find them. my motto is ‘be nice to me, i’ll be nice to you’. sometimes, however, my patience runs thread-bare and i find i am at breaking point with my fellow humankind. because we are not always kind. i found the driver’s impatience and seeming contempt for this beautiful elderly lady’s mere existence one of the most hideous displays of human behaviour i have ever witnessed.
“maybe serving the public is not the right job for you, buddy!” i suggested, as i took my seat by the window; a window so dirty and condensed i could barely see through it.
the bus was incredibly busy: full of elderly people, in twinsets and tweeds; the very young, comely and coy grandchildren; and one happy drunk. Monday morning and the bus stank of alcohol; stale, sour and vomitous.
with two bulky bags in my possession, despite there being ample seats, i was still forced to pile my baggage upon my lap, feeling cramped to a point beyond mere discomfort and annoyance, as an elderly man smelling of coal tar and camphor took up the seat right next to me.
i gave up on trying to catch sight of the outside world from my side window and looked out through the windscreen. the pavements were heavily frosted with white and the sun shone brightly in the sky, reflecting and deflecting off all white surfaces beneath her. it was a total white-out. a dense, chilling haar filled the sky, from ceiling to floor. the roadsides were carpeted in white fur and the sun continued to blind and bedazzle, despite the sky’s opacity. trees, naked and stark, silhouetted against the fog, were like sketches from Tim Burton’s mindscape; eerie, but rather beautiful.
the streets seemed too quiet.
spores of fragrant vapour steamed out from a Cantonese take-out stop on Rosslyn Street, where the bus drew to a halt. four elderly gentlemen, in black ill-fitting suits, crippled down the aisle to disembark. i watched their hobbled gait upon the slippery pavement. they looked like crows.
i got my seat, and personal space, back.
i looked out over the sea, or where the sea should have been, as the bus rolled up over the crest of St Clair Street; sea and sky seemed to meld into one. one misty and monochrome canvas.
outside, the air bit hard upon my bare face. although the sun was glorious, there was no warmth.
no warmth in humankind either, it seemed.
a girl, in her mid-twenties, with a wad of tangerine hair and slice of shorn skull, crossed the road and walked towards me. her attitude was colder than rime. she looked cold. perhaps today was not a day for bare thighs and a mini-kilt. i gave her my warmest smile but she looked at me as if i had asked if i could defecate in her mouth. the strangest look. the strangest girl. ugly girl. rude girl. her demeanour made her ugly. i merely smiled to her. her thin red lips gave her large gash of a mouth a disturbing allure, like a torn vagina fresh from a breach birth.
once again, i felt disappointed in humankind. disappointed in myself, that i was forced to see only the worst traits in people because, with her eyes, i am sure her smile, had she smiled, would have made the sun feint with envy.
i despair of people. some have yet to evolve.
God should have given the world to the monkeys.
(c) Kat McDonald 2014