Bus-Chasing Madness

(putting the ‘d’oh’ in ‘anecdote’)

To get home from school, I take the 34 bus route, from Barnet Church, to Arnos Grove station, via Whetstone, and then I walk from Arnos home; I got out of school about two minutes early yesterday and, displaying the quick-thinking and time-management skills of an expert at Papa’s Pizzeria, I thought I could get an earlier 34 home. However, I was inconsistent, in choosing not to walk particularly quickly from school to the church, and when I saw the bus pull up to the stop, I didn’t begin running for it until it had already started pulling away, and I was too late to catch it.

Dejected, I checked the timetable on the stop to learn, with horror, that the next 34 was coming in six minutes, a length of time that is amusingly far too short to do anything constructive on Earth, but when referring to a waiting time, it becomes practically equivalent to the duration between the Big Bang and the invention of the pizza wheel. Not wanting to wait, and fuelled by a sense of shame and indecision in both the result and cause of my 34-missing, I hopped on the 263, a fancy, double-decker and rounded-corner vehicle, that goes as far as Whetstone.

Having jigged about by the doors like a bloke really needing a piss at a football match who’s unwilling to miss even a second of the action despite that fact that it’s the 23rd minute and you’re watching Grimsby versus Macclesfield, I leapt off the 263 with all the grace of a gazelle in a suit (with Parkinson’s) as the 263 stopped at the same stop as the 34. This time, I ran straight for my bus, but was blocked off by a group of old women and infant children – perhaps the two banes of my existence in public – displaying greater blocking abilities and team cohesion than the entire offensive line of the 2013 Miami Dolphins; as a result, I missed the 34 again.

With no other buses to catch to chase the 34, I started to chase it on foot. At Whetstone, there is a series of eternally red traffic lights, leading into a T-junction; as the bus waited at the lights for approximately 1/874th of the time that it waits there when I’m on it, I power-walked around the corner, and to the next stop, that was a hundred metres or so down the road. I had about fifty to go as it turned the corner and, instead of running for it, I put my (admittedly short-sighted) forward-facing, distance-judging eyes to work, and continued to walk briskly without breaking stride, but raising my heart rate, concluding that the small crowd at the stop would delay the bus enough for me to get on.

Note: I lead quite a dull, if productive, life; my final walk to the 34, after two failed attempts, probably raised my heart rate to the extent that most peoples are changed by going sky-diving.

With an appropriate amount of heavy breathing, giving a reasonably convincing impression of an investment banker who’s wearing his second, and slightly large, suit that’s had to jog into the warmth of an April day after delays on the Victoria Line and an inability to find a cab, I then reached the bus, stepped on last of all the boarders, and tried my best not to headbutt the driver through his bulletproof glass as I shoved my Oyster card onto his reader, that managed to sound particularly annoying today.

I then slumped down in the middle of the upper deck, as the back was taken up by a small but ‘I’mma put my bags on these seats’-thinking group of people, and decided not to finish Terry Pratchett’s Unseen Academicals (which is awesome, by the way), or try to beat my score on 2048 (which is 20,408, for those interested), but instead began ruminating on my bus-catching success, to the extent that I could write a blog post about it a full 21 hours later.

This may be my last year of school, but when it comes to chasing buses, I’ve still got it.


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