Yesterday morning my bus driver played what must have been his favourite romantic mix tape on repeat, loudly. The highlight for me was Dan Hill’s maudlin meanderings repeated THREE times on the way into town.
Allow me to treat you to the pearls that are the lyrics.
“Sometimes when we touch, the honesty’s too much, and I have to close my eyes and hide. I want to hold you till I die, till we both break down and cry. I want to hold you till the fear in me subsides. “
I’m tearing up here. But wait there’s more.
“At times I’d like to break you and drive you to your knees…”
That’s romance for you right there folks. But my torture did not end when I fled the bus, as this cheery little ditty is also a mind worm on a truly epic level. I sang it walking down the street, I hummed it in the loo, I whistled it doing my work, the little horror got stuck in my head with a bulldog like grip and I’ve been alone in a dark place with it ever since.
But it’s not all bad music out there on the buses.
Last week I took the fractious toddler, who was fighting yet another cold, into town. On the way home she fell asleep on me, and as I supported her head and dreamily watched the growing patch of drool on my shirt, I tuned into the conversation the bus driver was having with the front seat passenger.
When I started listening, he was talking about the challenges immigrants to New Zealand who don’t speak English as a first language can have getting jobs that match their qualifications and experience. He was a qualified teacher and a sports coach, as far as I could gather, but had had difficulty getting anything more than short term relief contracts, hence here he was driving a bus. It was a bit of a sad story and I think talking about it made our driver feel pangs of old frustrations because he started instead to talk about Serbia, whence he originally came, telling my fellow passenger about the places worth visiting there, the fine old cities and the beautiful fertile countryside.
He was an interesting man, full of enthusiasm for life and his stories made a pleasant diversion as we trundled through Heathcote. The weather was warm, the sun falling directly onto us through the window and Seraphine was getting overheated being so close to me, grumbling and twitching in her sleep. As we passed through the tunnel, I fumbled our things together one handed, and shifted my protesting sweaty daughter onto my shoulder, where she grizzled as we scrambled, ungainly and over laden, down from the bus.
We plodded up the hill, with the small person protesting the iniquities of life in my left ear. We’d just rounded chicken corner and I was mentally girding my loins for the long steep hill ahead when I heard the sound of running feet and an out of breath male voice shouted “hey!”. It was the bus driver, brandishing Seraphine’s sun hat in his hand. I had unwittingly dropped it as I got off the bus, but instead of just turning it in at lost property, this very nice man had sacrificed his break between bus trips to run after us, up a total bitch of a hill. That’s above and beyond the call of duty by several miles. So yay for the heroic bus driver from Serbia. May he find his dream job, inspiring young Kiwis to be as nice as he is. And I must track him down through the labyrinthine bureaucratic networks of Metro admin and send him a bottle of wine as a thank you.