Imagine the scene:
I'm hanging at the bus stop with my crew: Jo, Mo, Flo* and Allan**. We are the Freedom Bus Pass Gang; twice a week we gather at 9.35am to wait for the 657 bus to take us into town. (It used to be the 620 but Uno, the bus company, recently changed it to the 657 and now it comes 8 minutes later. No don't ask, because we don't know either.)
The crew are OK about the fact that I write letters to the local paper as they all know I am the co-founder of Harpenden Independent Partnership and chair of a community action group trying to stop the local town council from selling our urban green space to a developer. Thus I fire off a lot of what I like to think of as wry, witty, urbanely Swiftian epistles which always get published in our local paper.
This is because the editor knows my stuff will generate rude responses from people with humorectomies and irony bypasses who live in the posh bits of town, and see no reason why our urban green space shouldn't be covered in tarmac and Tesco School of Architecture housing because hey, it isn't their urban green space. Over the years I've developed quite a following, and am apparently referred to colloquially and locally as 'the redhead who writes those letters'.
But the crew also know that there is a darker, more perplexing side to what I do, known as 'The Writing', words usually uttered in the same cautious tone of voice that one might use for other words like 'shark' or 'cockroach'. Thus it is that Jo eventually plucks up courage and asks, 'How's The Writing going then, Carol?'
And that's when it happens. Without even thinking, I sigh deeply, roll my eyes and say: 'Had to cancel my Facebook launch as I lost my Wifi. And then Google spammed my blog so I had to go into a chat room and talk to a techie, and I had to download an app to sort it out.'
There follows a long silence that hangs around in the air in the way that bricks don't. The crew study the ground carefully. Then Flo murmurs, 'Didn't understand a word of that, sorry.' And Allan agrees. And Jo and Mo step away from me as if I might infect them with whatever I've got. And then thankfully for all concerned, the bus arrives. We scramble on board, showing our passes to the cheerful Polish lady bus driver.
Nobody sits next to me all the way into town.
* Names changed to protect their identity.
** This is his real name.
Ahhh Hedges...the pictures I have in my head of you and yer...'homies'...hangin' out at bus stops, comparing ankle tags in between the casual exchange of ASBO stories!ReplyDelete
Alien you may be to many, particularly your Hedges Crew...*does clicky fingery thing* ...but you'll always be the little Mad Wazzock to me........innit....:)
This is true ...in so many ways..but I do like them....mad and bad and sad though they frequently are..Delete
Don't you just love buses!! I'll never forget the lads - aged about 14 I suppose - who made sure everyone noticed them get on and then started snogging on the back seat, just to upset the perms-and-cardigans. There was the predictable tutting, and how they smirked when they got off. (I wanted to cheer!!)ReplyDelete
I would be lost without them...sometimes I get on and realise I know everybody ..including the driver.ReplyDelete
Brilliant blog, thanks for the laugh!ReplyDelete
welcome. I lead a life largely based on the true story of my life.Delete
Funny Carol - I don't expect people in my daily to be interested in it and usually they aren't! A close older relative, who shall remain nameless, refers to my writing as 'paperwork' as in 'Chris is doing his paperwork' as if I was sorting out my accounts or writing a letter to the bank. I think this way it makes sense to her - because making up stories seems mad!ReplyDelete
I know. Funnily enough, family are remarkably uninterested - rest of the world are!Delete
Hilarious!!!! I have to say, though, even I don't know what you mean by 'Google spammed your blog' :^DReplyDelete
I generally find that when people ask 'how's 'the writing' going?' they don't actually want you to tell them. I just say 'fine', and can see their relief. Apart from my father, who wants to know exactly what number book I am on, and how many I have planned for the next year. He's 85 and still does consultancy work - yes, one of those!!
I know - I usually just say: it's OK and leave it at that. The google thing: it decided as I hadn't signed in for a while, it would refuse me access as I might have abandoned it...thus the ensuing problemsDelete
Great story, CarolStar. It makes you realise some people live in a different world - even those you live next door to and travel into town with! My brothers would be the same as Mo, Jo and Flo by the way. They know nothing of Facebook, apps and Twitter either. Buses are great, but I don't use them if I don't have to anymore. For one thing, there is no free bus pass here and it's very expensive, and another, cycling is much more direct. I'll be back to them if it stays really cold, though. The last couple of days were freezing on my bike.ReplyDelete
I'd never cycle now...too many hills. The locals are great - they get a mention in the book...they nag me to write the next one..Delete
Love the bus stories, Carol - buses are often little communities - especially the smaller or country buses as we call them up here. I know I've a few bus stories lined up to write one of these days.ReplyDelete
Re the online jargon, I impressed a 12 year old son of a friend by responding to his 'and what do you do?' by tossing off a nonchalant 'Oh, blog and tweet, you know, writer stuff.' I got a 'wow' in response - quite gratifying!
People who don't use social media are always amazed or baffled by those of us who do! If I didn't I wouldn't sell a single book!Delete
Too funny! I am so used to talking online to blogging friends, that I am sometimes surprised when people in real life have no idea what I am talking about. :)ReplyDelete
Happens more and more..as social media takes over my life - or what I call a life.Delete
I can identify with this, as they say! My stepdaughter laughs her socks off when I speak techno, I suppose for her it's akin to a pensioner talking jive. Love the 'humourectomies' and 'irony bypass' comments -brilliant. Another great blog, Carol, and every word rings true.ReplyDelete
My D says I am the only person she knows of thus age to bee so social media savvy. Not sure she meant it in a good way...Delete
As anyone who knows me at all well will confirm, I'm not usually at a loss for words. But when people ask me "How's the writing going?" my mind goes a complete blank. Is this just me, or does anyone else have this problem?ReplyDelete
I assume they don't want to know. It's like ''how are you?'. Fine suffices for both occasions,Delete
I'm fine with the computer refs but it's the bus thing I don't get. I do have a bus pass but I've never used it!ReplyDelete
well you should! riding on buses FREE is one of life's pleasures - and you can combine it with a Railcard and use to get arounbd London and other fine cities. Go explore!Delete
Jaye wants us to get our bus passes (just a tad late!) so we can get out more, now we don't have a car. Neither of us is really safe behind the wheel anymore, but boy do I miss it!ReplyDelete