There aren’t many things I genuinely hate, you know, I’m a pacifist and stuff. Okay, there are, but not as much as I hate having to rely on public transport in this city. This is what I imagine hell to be like:
Giant blue beasts racing down the streets with deafening roar and bawl, their grotesque faces distorted from years of abuse and anger, breathing out black clouds of fumes, controlled by raving mad men who urge them as if there was no tomorrow, no future. And there you stand, damned to wait for all eternity, while the cold rain is pouring down on you, soaks your shoes, your coat, your bag, and you wait, wait, wait.
There, is it a dream? Is it a mirage? You get tense, focusing all your attention on the forehead of the beast that is quickly approaching. Will this be the one to take you back to the safety of your home? The feeling of relief when you realise that you are lucky at last is almost impossible to bear – yes, YES, the monster does carry the two magic numbers above its eyes!
You climb up into the belly of the creature, get hit by the foulest stench, push your way to the desired position, surveyed by the piercing stares of your fellow travellers who do nothing to hide the fact that they are also fellows in misery. Water is dripping down through the window, adding only little to the dampness of your clothes that slowly turns them into a lifeless cold matter clinging onto your skin, while the adolescent join the never disappointing parade of tribal rites, accompanied by the loud rattling sounds of unknown atrocities played from strange metallic boxes.
Finally. It is your time to get up, stagger and squeeze your way towards the creature’s mouth, touch one of the red tumours that have grown in its belly, one last screeching scream and the monster comes to a halt, opens it lips and vomits out a stream of people eager to escape the horror.
Run! Run! Run for your life, your health, your sanity.
Don’t know if you could tell, but I really don’t like getting buses in Manchester.
To make all this more fun, 11,000 students* have signed a petition on Facebook to get the Magic Bus Drivers to wear wizard outfits while driving around their drunken arses, probably to give them something to laugh at while they’re trashing the bus, leaving their rubbish everywhere, throwing up, shouting at people on their phones, smoking pot and being generally annoying. (Trust me, one of the regulars at the bar I used to work at used to come in after his night shifts driving the 142 Magic Bus. I have heard even worse stories.) And because Stagecoach LOVE their customers so much, they have come up with the amazing** idea to give in and, yes, let the drivers wear wizard costumes on their so called Wizard Wednesday in June. Humiliation in the name of charity.
But you know what?
I’ve got a bike now. The first time I was riding it I cried from relief. No more black magic in my life.
* idiot nutcases with too much time
** absolutely stupid and pathetic
[Photo by Gregoire Chabrol, who went from Manchester to London in a Magic Bus. I’d love to hear that story!]