Do you use Public Transport?
Above on the left is the destination I travel to by tube four days a week...Coolhaven. I come from the left (not on the map), Spijkenisse, which I reach from Hellevoetsluis by bus.
All in all I am shivering at my bus stop at 6.40 in the morning, to arrive in Rotterdam at 7.40 - if I'm lucky. The journey back is longer, as for some strange reason the powers that are think that there are less people travelling back from work than there are travelling to work. Hence there are fewer buses. (Where on earth they believe those extra people stay, is beyond me!)
As I said, I take this bus every day. So. Picture this. You are in a Dutch queue.
(Ever seen a Dutch queue? Its most marked characteristic is that there is a cluster of pushing, shoving, toe-stepping, elbow-clashing often bad-tempered people all trying to get through the door at the same time)
You manage to get inside the bus! This gives you a warm glow of satisfaction. The next hurdle is to obtain a seat. You say 'hi' to the driver, who, on a good day, says 'hi' back. On a bad day he or she grunts. On a really bad day, he or she closes the door in your face, just when you come up panting from the killer-doors in the tube. I have been there. I know how it feels.
But this is a great day. You've got a seat, better still, you've got a seat in the area where most drivers keep the interior lights on. Now you are able to read!!!!
Mind you, I have sat in such a seat, all ready for my little e-reader, surrounded by happy people settled in with their newspapers, paperbacks, tablets, iPads, crosswords and knitting and then the driver turned off the lights. They do this. Bus drivers are God's bum when they are behind that large wheel.
Not long ago I sat in the bus with my daughter, coming back from an after-work shopping excursion, and across from us sat two middle-aged women. One had a can of coke, and a shopping bag. The other had a suitcase. The one with the suitcase eyed the can of coke. The one with the coke eyed the suitcase. As soon as the bus started to move, the one with the coke made a grab for the suitcase and wrestled it away from the woman. She started yelling. The people around them first pretended not to see or hear anything. We Dutch are good at that. Those three little monkeys have nothing on us. But when they started to fight in earnest, there was a ripple of movement in that bus. People standing up, moving slightly forward towards the driver, as if he could protect anyone whilst manouvering that huge bus around the too tight roundabouts. Unfortunately, the woman with the suitcase was shoved onto the lap of my daughter, who sat there frozen and miserable. But the driver had had enough by then, edged on by some passengers urging him to 'do something about it', so he made an emergency stop (people flying through the bus and crashing into each other), opened the double doors next to us, stomped his way to the women, grabbed the can of coke and threw it out of the door. The can woman then got a boot up her backside, and flew after the can. The other one grabbed her suitcase and ran towards the back of the bus, where she continued her journey looking very smug. The shopping bag was left behind in the aisle, as a little grubby white reminder of the joys of travelling by public transport.
But. There are saintly bus drivers as well. When I was thirteen, and had fallen asleep in the last bus home from the youth centre in the next town, where I had inhaled too many second-hand fumes of Black Afghan (or whatever it was called), and missed my stop in the middle of nowhere, there was this driver who noticed I was still fast asleep in the back row when he parked his bus in the bus car park. He shook me awake, asked me where I should have got off, realised it was just pitch black meadows and orchards and that it was at least half an hour's walk back, and then turned his bus around and drove me home.