Thursday, 29 March 2012


I keep seeing an unsettling message on the sides of buses – ‘Try Praying’.  What I want to know is, who is this message directed at?  Is it specific to bus users or is it aimed at pedestrians and motorists as well?  Does someone at the advertising agency know something the rest of us don’t know? If so, isn’t it a little unchristian not to share?
Considering these questions made me remember a driver we had not so long ago who seemed a little, shall we say, overcome by events.   He got off the bus and disappeared, apparently to relieve himself.  Of course this is not unreasonable, one has to go sometime and I did occasionally wonder what drivers did for relief, as it were.  However, when he eventually returned his behaviour became somewhat...erratic.  He kept stopping the bus and opening the doors to shout comments at other bus drivers, car drivers or passing pedestrians.  Then he drew up, for no apparent reason, precisely in the middle of the road opposite a bus stop, opening the doors and indicating to the waiting passengers that they should cross the busy lane of traffic to board.  Interestingly enough, they did. 
By this point there seemed to be a fair bit of squawking going on over the radio and I suspected he was being told to stop, but we plunged on at speed, public transport desperados all.  Careering round the curve toward the Dean Bridge it all began to feel a bit like a Thelma and Louise scenario, but without the sunglasses or the good hair.  This of course, brings to mind the other time when you would rather not be exhorted to ‘Try Praying’—on the way to the hairdressers. 
We all know that bad things happen to good hair.  Mercifully good things also happen to bad hair—and my lovely hairdresser sends me out looking  as (temporarily) sleek and shiny as an otter in a fish farm.  I actually enjoy going to this cheerful, chatty place, flicking through shiny magazines  full of all the things we are supposed to think we want (no trashy ‘celeb mags’ here) and eavesdropping on conversations which,  interestingly enough, aren’t all about where people have been/are going to on holiday.
There used to be a terrific junior who made tea and washed hair.  She was very, very young, but all sort of wholesomely buxom and blonde, like a particularly pretty marshmallow.  She was also the most dedicated hypochondriac I have ever met.  As she lathered and rinsed and repeated she would tell me all about her latest maladies, which were many, various  and rather fugitive as far as diagnosis goes.  Rather endearingly, she told me she knew her GP thought she was crazy but she didn’t really blame him.  "I expect he’ll have me locked up as a loony if I keep on," she said cheerfully.  We spent a happy time discussing symptoms and strategies (she was a remarkably un-worried sort of hypochondriac), until she decided the next time she went to her GP she was going to say:  ‘I was washing this woman’s hair and she says you should consider my tonsils.' It will really annoy him and then he’ll have to do something to prove that you and me are wrong.  Then when I do get tonsils, who’s going to be laughing?
Sadly, I never did find out what happened with the tonsils, as she went to work somewhere else.  I feel a bit responsible about encouraging her.  If it happened now I could point her at one of those buses:  ‘Try Praying’. 

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