The Ingratiating Folly of Corporate Puzzlement


Here’s the story of buses, the olden days, and Poppins.

Who among you can honestly say you’ve never warmed your ears up on a radiator? It is unusual? Because it’s the first thing that comes to mind when I need to warm up my ears. But then again, it’s been said many times before that my brain isn’t wired up properly. If you do take up my recommendation for warming your ears on a radiator, do be aware that it can lead to terrible neck strain. Also be aware that if others are present, it will lead to a look on their faces best described as exhaustive puzzlement. Although not as puzzled as the look on their faces when it’s a cold winter morning and they discover you warming your underwear in a microwave. Which is certainly something I’ve never done. Ahem…

As I sit here writing this, I’m in a hooded cardigan with the hood up because my ears are frozen, my nose drippy and my head thumping. No, I don’t have a cold (although it wouldn’t surprise me if this turned in to one), I’ve been let down by the bus company. HALF A BLOODY HOUR I WAITED FOR A BUS THAT NEVER CAME! I decided to get another one. Guess what? That came late too! I can’t begin to describe to you the weather conditions. I mean, we’re talking about winds akin to those on top of the tallest mountain in the depths of winter. And that’s an understatement. Not to mention the fact we’re talking about subzero temperatures, here. I’m only nine stone! I nearly blew away like Mary frickin’ Poppins…

I really don’t feel too good. And it’s not funny. I ended up getting a different bus and there were mothers who got on that had babies with them with the brightest red cheeks and runniest noses. That’s not right. Did we get an explanation? No. Just, “Ah, I’m sorry” from the driver. “Can you radio control to ask them? You have a missing bus.” “Ah, well, no, I’m already running late, I can’t afford any more delays, can you just please get on?” I still don’t know what happened to my bus! There might be a Bermuda Triangle of northeast England! The Greggs Triangle!

It’s ludicrous! And that driver who wouldn’t offer an explanation, wasn’t the worst driver I’ve ever experienced. There was an elderly man once who didn’t know you were supposed to hold your hand out to stop the bus and the bus drove right passed him. The driver only realised at the last minute and slammed his brakes on. He opened the door and out of that driver’s mouth came vile and angry swearing and shouting at that poor old man. And we just accept this. That crap public service is a way of modern life. And it shouldn’t be!

You know I love the olden days. I live there. In my head. I don’t have a time machine. In my very town, we used to have lovely old wooden and decorative Victorian trams. And there was a conductor and a driver, all smartly dressed with the hat and brass buttons on their uniforms. And sure, the wooden seats made your arse feel like it’s been paddled for 10 hours straight, but it was a better time. The conductor called you ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’. Any problems? They’d listen and refund you if it couldn’t be fixed. They were always on time, as well, and if one broke down, within ten minutes, they brought on a replacement.

They even let you sit in the broken down one to keep warm. Not nowadays. Oh, no. “Ah, sorry, under Health and Safety legislation I’m really not allowed to let people stay onboard – if a car goes into the bus, you might be seriously hurt whereas you would’ve been fine if I made you wait in the freezing snow.” A CAR COULD CRASH INTO ME WHEN I’M CROSSING THE ROAD! IT COULD CRASH INTO ME WHEN I’M ON THE BLOODY PAVEMENT! A meteor could hit me! I could literally die at any moment! Stop nannying us! We’re not stupid!

You know, it was really hot a few years ago. Hottest summer since records began. The government spent a bucket load of cash on advertisements and the like to say, and I kid you not, ‘Please remember to drink water when it’s hot to keep oneself hydrated.’ Oh, thank you. I had no idea. I was going to drink lava and wear one hundred cardigans, but thank you. Water! I had no idea! Oh my word, who would’ve thought it! Water cools you down! Well, talk about learning something new every day…

At what point in the history of England did we turn into this? Is a little sensibility too much to ask? Is letting people make their own choices a little too much to ask? Is a bit of respect too much to ask? You can say it’s just a late bus all you want, but it’s not. It’s more than that.

Did nobody think to tell all the drivers in the fleet what was going on? Did nobody think to put on a replacement service? Did nobody think to train these drivers to be less arrogant and rude? Did nobody think to include ‘using your own judgment’ in their training? “I’m terribly sorry, but I can’t spend five minutes radioing control because I’m running ten minutes late.” So? Nobody cares! The passenger simply wants a bit of information. They’ve been in the cold for God knows how long and you’re being a dick to them.

But they have orders, don’t they? Don’t use your own judgment, do what the management says. Meet your schedules and targets. We are a company and we need money. Money, money, money. That’s all that matters to us fat cats.

There’s no conspiracy here. The system isn’t broke it’s just misguided. There are many wonderful bus drivers out there who would’ve given the information. Who don’t shout or drive like idiots. It’s not what management wants but screw management! That’s the philosophy of these good drivers. Screw the system, I am my own person and the passenger comes first. Hell yeah! Why aren’t there more people like that in the world? Is it really too much to ask?

I do not feel well. My head is banging, my nose is running and my hair is just a disaster. And I’m not the only one. Tens of other passengers got on the bus I got on and complained. Most elderly and some with babies. Yet we can’t do a lot about the way the world works, sadly, but maybe the perception can be changed.

There are great drivers out there and companies that at least try to take us back to the Victorian sensibilities. And that’s wonderful. They’re in a minority, but they are there. And it’s not just bus companies, it’s train and plane companies too, and others like that. As I was standing in that bus shelter, exposed to the elements and getting increasingly ridiculously angry, I thought up this entire post. But I lost perspective.

When we’re in difficult situations, we get angry. But for every bad thing in the world, there are a million good things. I often try to think of those good things when I’m being pissed off. You can be happy without ignoring problems that make you angry. I can’t do anything about something like a crappy bus service, but I cannot let it get to me. And that’s the message.

Life is a bastard. So for the love of God, don’t let that bastard grind you down.

American writer, Jarod Kintz (b. 1982), once said, “Ah, the good ol’ days. I remember those days. That was before your time. It was before my time too, because I didn’t have a watch, and I hadn’t been born yet.”

Peace Out :|:

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You can leave a comment and/or like this post below, or by clicking the title on the top of this post if you are on the archives page. Likes and follows greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other two blogs:

To Contrive & Jive
New Posts Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post

Hark Around the Words
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