Thursday, 2 September 2004

My Last Routemaster 73 Bus Ride Ever

The beautiful girl paws at her boyfriend, "why do you need to wear your glasses now? Take them off!" He rattles his newspaper. She leans some weight on the hand that rests on his knee, "so you are are reading the paper? Thats for the day, its night now. Reading the paper AND wearing glasses." She pouts. He folds up his paper abruptly. Its crinkly because its Sunday's, its been in the bathroom - its pages have that steamed wrinkliness. He takes his glasses off and puts them away. Beautiful girlfriend smiles - she has her own way. And his full attention. She talks. Or rather babbles. A constant stream of consciousness based on things she sees. He listens.

A couple of seats back a couple of women have caught the bus going the wrong direction.
"Where do you want to get to?" boyfriend asks. Victoria comes the answer. "Oh, you want to get on the tube. Much faster." He's a man. He knows best.

The women aren't so sure. They'd rather not get on the tube again. A woman behind pipes up - just get off at the next stop and walk across the street and catch a 73 going back the other way.

"Oh well then, you want to see some lights and scenery? Jump off here or at the next stop, cross the road. Yeah simple" boyfriend says (reiterating what the woman behind said) patronising the out-of-town women gently. They are working class. Like he once was, but he's rich now. He turns to the woman who's directions he stole and tells her she should work for London Transport, patronising her gently too.
"Oh I used to," she says.
He and beautiful girlfriend laugh.

Later they start talking to the bus spotter sitting in the far left hand front seat. Its the last 73 routemaster tomorrow. Boyfriend gets his digital camera out and starts taking pictures. "This is officially the fastest driver in the garage," bus spotter says. I have a feeling he may work on the 73 bus route. His long hair is familiar.
"So is the 73 ending forever?" asks beautiful girlfriend.
"No, they're just replacing the routemasters with those bendy buses," says bus spotter.

At Angel boyfriend and beautiful girlfriend alight. He runs towards the front of the bus so beautiful girlfriend can take a picture of him with the bus. When he turns to face us he looks a bit like a younger Cliff Richard. All toothy smile, tanned brown skin and purposefully ruffled hair. He flashes a toothy grin at the fastest driver in the garage and he & beautiful girlfriend melt into the crowd.

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