a tale of two bus journeys

two or three years ago, my american, chicago born and bred mom visited me here in england. she grew up on the edge of lake michigan and is no stranger to public transportation. i look back fondly on the trips she took us on into “the city” to visit my grandma. she was always in control and thinking about it now i almost sense her excitement, her feeling of familiarity with her former life. 

life being what it is… she has through her 74 years moved further and further away from her childhood neighborhood and lifestyle. when she came to england she loved public transport, it gave her the freedom and social interaction that she missed so much. the highlight of her visit was the 27 bus.

the number 11 bus, the outer circle is the well known bus route in brmingham but i can assure you that the 27 is the lifeline for us here in south brum. it winds its way through all the shopping areas. there has been construction in northfield and things have gone a bit haywire. they have altered the route and now it circles around on itself and making a stop at the same place going both directions…i have seen a few people get on the wrong bus and they are none to pleased.

i took my mom to kings heath on the 27…she had the time of her life…first off, the bus driver was a super friendly chap, he went through this good morning thing…wanting everyone to say good morning back….i can’t hear you!!! then man got on wearing a kilt, all the ladies were teasing him saying, what do you have under there? c’mon give us a peek! is it true what they say?

after that a woman the bus driver knew could sing got on…he coaxed her into belting out a stunning rendition of old man river or something equally out of place in birmingham. who would have thought a bus could be so acoustic?

on the way back a woman got on with her dog, my mom loves dogs, they sat together and even though they didn’t understand each other my mom was way too excited to care….her first words when we got off at our stop? does that happen everyday?

the truth? never before and never again…

today mr a and i went to kings heath…the journey there was unventful………………….. the trip back???? a nightmare!!!

we got on in kings heath, i think there were 4 couples like us and a very few others and “the weirdo”. the W started a monologe with the poor unfortunate couple behind him which lasted the whole 30 minutes of his journey. as i listened i remember hearing these same monotonous stories from him on a few other journeys on the 27.

a brief synopsis…

he is swinglish, his mom is swiss and his father british, but he is a brummie. long stories about the men’s bath which turned into the ladies baths yadayada

he speaks german, he has loads of wry german/hitler jokes/wordplay

he has a huge dvd/vhs collection including the entire collection of mork and mindy, the avengers, ?stargate…assorted other losers series.

he was trashing his ex wife, although i’m surprised he had a wife at all. he said she told him to eff off after 24 years….the woman deserved a medal!

when the bus got to northfield it filled up with lots of tired, cranky kids and moms and grans…they were a welcome relief from weirdos self serving verbal diarrhea.

mr a has crossed the number 27 off our weekend relaxation transportion, luckily we can take the 45 to the 11. there were some great cafes in kings heath!!

6 thoughts on “a tale of two bus journeys

    • mork and mindy was not a bad series in itself but to hear a man, on a bus, in his 50’s “bragging” that he owns the whole series and apparently still enjoys watching it is slightly weird….

  1. Your description of the trip with your mom has the makings of a screenplay! 🙂

    I took the 69 over to Kings Heath Park yesterday for the Gardener’s Weekend. I need to get my eyes tested – I’d swear I saw a billboard somewhere that said ‘free admission’…of course, when I got there, it was £8.50! So I got on the next available bus going back my way (which happened to be an 11), and it was like a jungle in there! Everyone on board had apparently tried to buy every plant on sale at the Gardener’s Weekend…and it smelled an awful lot like manure on board. I was happy to have to get off two stops later…

    When I told DH this, he said something about some chicken farms over that way. What??? It was COW manure, man! I know my manure! And I don’t need to ever smell it again…

  2. julie, we must have just missed you!! we went by the gardners thing at the park and i was thinking i’d like to go today but happened to see the sign that said £8.50!!! i wonder though if you get a discount on the plants for that or something?? i did see the millions of people carrying plants…but no manure smell…i can get that in my own garden!

  3. I truly wish I could live like you, Nancy and Rose, but I do have my many, many memories of my time in Chicago, Riverside, Elmhurst and West Heath. Maybe another bus will come and take me away to a city somewhere where I can make more happy memories. “You can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl”………

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