I hate public transport, as I’m sure a lot of people do. There’s no privacy, you’re wedged into uncomfortable seats next to people you don’t know and you’re just waiting for that glorious moment where you can be alone again.
Right now, as I type this post out, I’m wedged into an uncomfortable seat on a coach somewhere between Stoke (according to Google maps) and my home, in Liverpool. I attended a party in London last night, and I’m travelling home today hungover and exhausted. Those free mojitos were not free at all. The price was my head and my stomach today.
But anyway, I had a wonderful time and because coach is so much cheaper than train; coach won. And so here I am making this seven hour journey home. Yes, SEVEN HOURS. It was supposed to be 6 and a half, but we’ve been running late because of traffic. And that’s not to mention the other bits of time travelling, apart from this coach ride.
There’s the waiting in the coach station in lines of people waiting to board. There’s the wandering hopelessly around London when I first got there, head deeply absorbed in Google maps, wondering the best way to get to my hotel. There’s the trying to flag a cab down moments and the utter gratitude when one pulls over.
All this is not something we like to do, generally. I know it certainly weren’t the reason I visited London, it was simply the things I had to go through to get me to the thing I wanted. However, as I make my way slowly up that map with a little blue dot hovering above, I can’t help but feel enriched from these experiences. It forced me away from a computer screen, and gave me time to get lost in my own thoughts, which I rarely have time for or allow myself. It allowed me to see some beautiful sights and to interact with people I wouldn’t have otherwise. People I wouldn’t normally be meeting.
On the coach down to London, I got that rare CHA-CHING from Etsy, telling me I’d made a sale. It surprised me so much I let out a little ‘Ooh!’ and then surprised an a lady sat next to me. I laughed quietly and apologised, explaining. She was really interested in my shop and what I do, asking me questions and making a note of the link, to visit later. She told me she would be in touch about a custom piece for her and her daughter, which was lovely! Even if she never does.
In a taxi on my way to the coach station to come home, the driver got chatting when he enquired about my luggage and where I was from. He told me lived in Liverpool for a few months, years ago. He told me how much he loved it, but left because of his wife (Why? Did he move to be with her? Did she hate Liverpool? Did she get a job in London? Who knows.) I also learned he thinks it’s good to keep moving, he thinks I’ll love Plymouth, and he doesn’t trust anyone who likes Theresa May.
And now, as I sit here on this warm, stuffy coach watching the orange sun set into a pink sky; I’m sat next to an old woman holding onto a book with a glittering gold cover, and a title I can’t quite make out. She could put it away, or read it, but she does neither; choosing to hold it preciously for the past 3 hours. I wonder about who she might be or what this book might be about.
So as much as I’ll do a huge sigh of relief when I get home, and get to lie down and kiss Gary and put the kettle on… I’m still sorta grateful for all these little insignificant moments in life that build a bigger picture. I like knowing I could meet anybody and we could spark up a conversation. I like wondering about what strangers are thinking or reading. I like getting out into the world and having experiences, no matter how small.
I don’t like public transport, but I like what it gives me, sometimes.
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