Thursday, August 23, 2007

Of Bruises and Buses

K reminds me that I have been somewhat postless in recent times, a charge to which I plead guiltier than I feel.

I have, thus, been racking my brains to come up with witty but insightful posts to entertain my legions of reader.

Should I wax lyrical on my ability to injure myself without – as far as I can tell, unless I am a sleepwalker of Olympic standard – actually making contact with anything potentially injurious?

This generally manifests as mysterious bruises on random parts of my body and the occasional deep gash across the hand. Generally I am oblivious to whatever current wound I'm sporting until the husband catches sight of me undressing for bed and exclaims in horror. And then I say something like, you are not supposed to exclaim in horror upon sighting your unclothed wife, you know. And he says yes yes, but what on earth is that bruise, and I shrug in confusion, and we move on.

I put this (the bruises, not the conversations) down to a combination of a) the fact that I am a Delicate Flower and bruise if you look at me too hard but b) have a high pain threshold and also c) bad motor skills. Just in case you were wondering.

Last night, however, I woke up somewhere in the wee hours with the vague awareness that one of my fingers was hurting. Slightly more awake, I established that it was hurting because I couldn't bend it properly, and that I couldn't bend it properly because – somehow, somewhere – I have sprained it.

How do you sprain a finger without noticing or being able to retrospectively identify the incident? I have no idea, so I've just switched my rings to the right hand and carried on.

But it's not really a topic with much meat to it, so I continued thinking. Would anyone be interested in hearing about our recent car accident? On consequence of a combination of fog, speed and a tailgating van, our poor little car is now in a crash repairs undergoing major surgery. On last inquiring, I was told that it was 'fully stripped', leaving me with a vague impression of a naked and shivering Astra and no clearer an idea of when it'll return.

Apart from the obvious fallout: paperwork, a stiff neck, the barely concealed glee of lawyer friends who can smell a CTP claim in the air and the fact that we are now hauling around quite the grubbiest loan car I have ever had the experience of sitting in, it's safe to say it could have been much worse. On the other hand, it's also reintroduced me to the pleasures of public transport.

Ah, public transport, how I have missed thee. I should specify here: I am well acquainted with the late evening bus on which I have sat lo these many years, somewhat the worse for wine and pretending to read a book. I am not unfamiliar with the early evening buses which I catch on those days when I end up working 12 hours and the husband elects to drive home without me. And I have a passing acquaintance with the Sunday bus, which takes me to the local library and back on those weeks when an hour in a hardware store ('it's on the way!') seems too high a price to pay for a lift.

What I had forgotten about were those early morning bus rides. Ah, early morning bus rides.

I'm not sure what my favourite part is. There's the way that the bus either comes early, requiring me to arrive at the stop panting and winded, or late, by which time my toes are numb. Or there's the need to negotiate schoolbags left in the aisle by teenagers too intent on discussing at unbelievable length just how much they detest Art History and Viticultural Studies and Taxation Mathematics and when the hell did they start teaching these sorts of things in high school anyway? In my day we did English and Science and Mathematics, and if you wanted to get fancy you took French or Art. God.

And then there's the one-sided mobile phone calls. This morning the man in front of me spent twenty five minutes on the phone to FedEx in America explaining why they needed to reimburse him for a package that had been sent to Sydney and then privately couriered to Adelaide because, no, let him explain please, FedEx doesn't deliver to Adelaide, which is a city that isn't Sydney, no, not a suburb of Sydney, a whole different city in a different State, and part of the deal with the cost was that it would cover the courier if it came within 21 days and it didn't arrive for…yes, he realises that Australia is a long way from the States but if he could just finish, and was their manager available because – oh, look, okay, he'll explain the saga one more time but that's it, he lives in Adelaide and FedEx only delivers to Sydney…

Twenty five minutes. I kid you not.

But none of that is too much of an issue these days. It's why the iPod was invented, after all. Well, it might not have been, but it should have been as far as I'm concerned. Gorgeous little things that they are, providing sweet oblivion from the company of others.

Unfortunately, I'm yet to come across any technology that saves me from dealing with my very favourite part about the early bus. Sleeping Commuter Guy. The one who – inevitably – sits next to me in the first place, gets comfortable and relaxes. And by relax, I mean snoozes. And by get comfortable, I mean uses my shoulder as a pillow. And by 'reacting with icy politeness' (which I realise I haven't said yet, but it seemed like the time to bring in the phrase) I mean 'jerking my shoulder sharply so as to dislodge his face'. You'd think that would make a difference, but man, Sleeping Commuter Guy was persistent. Three times, I had to do it, and we were only saved from a fourth by the fact that my stop was reached.

Next time, I'm taking knitting needles.


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