The Fit Man on the Bus: my continuing ignorance

Bloody men are like bloody buses –
You wait for about a year
And as soon as one approaches your stop
Two or three others appear.

You look at them flashing their indicators,
Offering you a ride.
You’re trying to read the destinations,
You haven’t much time to decide.

If you make a mistake, there is no turning back.
Jump off, and you’ll stand there and gaze
While the cars and the taxis and lorries go by
And the minutes, the hours, the days.

Wendy Cope

I’ve been a bus traveller for many years now, and if there’s one thing that can be said for buses, if you miss one, there’s always another. If you can apply the same principle to men, then the fact that I’d not spoken to the Fit Man on the Bus wouldn’t matter – I’d be sure to see him on the bus again. The only question was, which bus and when?

The Monday after our silence, I didn’t catch the bus because I had a meeting in Vauxhall.
On Tuesday and Wednesday I didn’t catch the bus because I had to drive a car to a shoot in Greenwich.
On Thursday, I caught the bus.

Scanning the top deck as I climbed the stairs, I didn’t spot him, so shrugged my shoulders and settled myself down with my book. A few minutes later, I saw him, sitting in front of the stairs, baby blue pullover, aviator shades, stubble… Sigh.

‘O well,’ I thought. ‘I’ll go over and say hello just before I get off, so I don’t have to have an awkwardly long conversation.’

Fifteen minutes later I looked up and he’d GONE!

I travelled the rest of the way to Elephant and Castle trying to work out if he’d seen me as he got off the bus, and ignored me because I’d been so rude the week before. I hopped off the bus into the glorious spring sunshine and turning round as the bus pulled away, noticed him standing RIGHT NEXT TO THE EXIT downstairs. Why he’d moved downstairs is anybody’s guess but I had walked right past him without noticing or acknowledging him.

The hole I was digging for myself just got a lot bigger and threatened to swallow me up with levels of self-mortification not felt since I was a teenager.

The question was, would there be another opportunity for me to redeem myself, another bus journey with the Fit Man on the Bus? Or had I missed my destiny?


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