The Number 35 bus is a sort of moving United Nations, with people from all airts and pairts trundling through the city.
Standing in the aisle, there’s usually young tourists with huge backpacks, who don’t seem to realise there’s a whole new dimension to their rear ends.
I’m considering marketing a smaller version of reversing lights for trucks, only for backpacks, complete with an automated voice to alert the unwary by announcing ‘This tourist is reversing. This tourist is reversing’. Might save the odd pensioner being taken out by the unexpected sideswipe of a rucksack bearing the national flag of Sweden or Canada.
Don’t get me wrong, they are lovely folk, but for some reason these are two nations wedded to the giant backpack. Their young folk are also pretty giant themselves, a dangerous combination.
Americans tend go for bags, bags, more bags and pockets. As my late father once observed, never met a Yank yet who travelled light. Mind you, I think he was harking back to the US forces arriving on the Clyde during the Second World War – let’s be honest, when one is going to war, one tends to take everything and that does include aircraft carriers, Coca-Cola and kitchen sinks.
There is always at least one young person who needs to be on their phone, usually calling Spain or Italy. There is a fad now for holding the phone up at your face, presumably so mum can see you whilst you tell her in detail what you have been doing. These exchanges must be held at ear-splitting volume. They never run out of battery on those phones, y’know. More’s the pity.
It’s not always tourists asking the way to the castle or language school students screaming into their mums’ faces. Sometimes you see something on this moving festival of the world that might just be a solution to a problem.
Midweek, on the High Street, an impeccably-dressed man from Japan stood waiting in front of me at the door to get off. As the bus stopped and the doors opened, he turned and performed a perfectly elegant bow to the driver.
It was the driver, flummoxed by such respect, who stammered thanks.
Here at last, I thought, is the answer to the conundrum that’s been driving us mad since the new double door leviathans started prowling our streets.
How to say thank you to the drivers on our new buses?
Now, I am late to this party, but I’ve been in a bit of an NHS bubble. I only got a wee shot on a new bus last week. I didn’t even want to go to Ocean Terminal, I mean, who does these days? But I wasn’t about to pass up on a chance of a hurl aboot on the fancy dan transport.
They are very pretty. Very roomy. But I see the problem. As we stood about waiting at the new door in the middle the tension was palpable. Do we shout ‘Thank you’ to the driver? Will a general sort of mumbly noise do? Could we nominate a spokesperson to speak for the group? How do we feel about waving? Or should we now take the Japanese example, and bow to the driver? Might be the way ahead. It didn’t look difficult. Slight incline from the hip, back straight, arms by your side. Seriously classy. Just a thought.