Moments of Rural Humiliation

Me: Single to Bigtown*

Bus Driver: Pardon

Me: Bigtown

Bus Driver: Pardon?

Me: (slowly and clearly) Single to Bigtown

Bus Driver: Pardon?

Standoff. I mean, this bus only really goes to Bigtown. How much more scottishly do I have to try and say it?

Bus Driver: You mean, “single to Bigtown, please”

Me: Aargh, sorry. I used to live in London, that’s the problem

Bus Driver: That’s nae excuse.

I was even more mortified because I now can’t remember whether I’ve said ‘please’ or not in the past; he’s never mentioned it before. Possibly it’s been bugging him for the last few months and he’s only cracked now. Or possibly it’s because I’ve now taken the bus enough times – about half-a-dozen trips – that I’m sufficiently familiar to be teased about my London ways.

Still, I wasn’t the only one getting grief on this trip. The bus was in the process of sailing through Intervening Village when he slammed on his brakes, backed up to the crossroads and sat waiting while an old biddy came not-particularly hurrying up the side road to the stop. He then reminded her briskly of the timetable before letting her on so we could all set off again.  I’d like to see that happen in a bus in London. But then, in London there’d be another bus along in a minute, as opposed to in a couple of hours as happens here…

*Obviously I didn’t actually say ‘Bigtown’.

15 Responses to Moments of Rural Humiliation

  1. I’m with the bus driver, why would you not say ‘please’ any where in the world?
    I wonder if he does the school bus, could be entertaining 🙂

  2. Dom says:

    Ouch. I’d be mortified if that happened to me. How many people were witness to the cutting put down?

  3. disgruntled says:

    UHDD – I know, I know. I felt terrible. In my defence I was fretting because I had to connect with another bus and the whole journey was a bit fraught. But really, it’s no excuse
    Dom – well, fortunately this was a rural bus, so, er two.

  4. Jo says:

    *Obviously I didn’t actually say ‘Bigtown’.

    I dare you…

  5. Ruaraidh says:

    Do people not say please in London then? Tsk…

    That’ll be why people give me funny looks when I occasionally venture up to “BigCapaitaltown”…

  6. rhona says:

    PLEASE see Bigtown the next time. Please.

  7. WOL says:

    I had manners “instilled” into me as a child — and the force of habit is so strong that even though I am now “of a certain age”, not only do I still say “please” and “thank-you,” but I “sir” and “ma’m” too — and if you don’t think that gets looks when I ma’m some little dumpling half my age!

  8. emma c says:

    Ha ha! Goodness, sounds hilarious. Country busses are weird here in Middle Europe too. On several occasions on trying to pay my fare, the driver has irritatedly waved me onto the bus, without explanation. On timidly asking, I got, ‘Ze maschine iss not verking!’ Travelling without a ticket at the behest of the driver makes me think, will he stick up for me if we get checked? I think you just have to go with the flow..

  9. disgruntled says:

    Rhona and Jo – are you trying to get me thrown out?

    Manners are a tricky one. I always (and it’s a London habit too) thank the driver when getting off a bus, but I hadn’t thought too much about saying please when getting on. Probably because I just used to use an oyster card so you don’t really interact with the driver at all.

  10. Remember to get down on your hands and knees next time…..

    I grew up believing that the manners were in the tone of the request rather than the words used.

    If only there were buses around here…

  11. disgruntled says:

    Have you none at all?

  12. Ross Angus says:

    Surely you were both equally rude, but he did it deliberately. So he’s also malicious. And self-righteous.

  13. disgruntled says:

    Ah, but he can say what he likes – I’m hardly going to wait for the next bus…

  14. […] so I thought. But as I handed over my 2 quid – and remembered to say please and thank you – I asked the driver if the ring’n'ride service had been […]

  15. anthony wong says:

    to the question, do nobody say please anymore in london i would like to answer that by saying we dont say anything to the driver anymore as it is a flat rate now. so u either silently show your freedom pass, or daily bus pass, or press your oyster card to the reader or just hand in your £2.

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