26 March 2020
My memories about bus travel with my Grandma are two-fold. She lived in Wilson and the bus ran down her street and into the city, and as Grandma Gibson didn’t drive, the bus was her main form of transport (apart from waking around the corner to the shop). When I caught the bus with her (I don’t remember where we were going – most likely she was trying to hide me from my parents who were trying to sell me), I have two very vivid memories.
Firstly, as soon as we got on the bus, she would tell me “let’s go sit up the back so we don’t have to stand up when the old people get on”. She was possibly only in her 60’s or early 70’s when she was telling me this, but of course I thought it was hilarious because obviously she was the oldest person I knew and figured there couldn’t be anyone older than her in the world.
Secondly, she would then make up stories about people who got on the bus, telling me all about their lives. I am fairly sure that I knew it was bulldust – but then I’m a trusting innocent sort of person so maybe at the time I just thought Grandma knew everyone. On account of her being alive for so long. Possibly since Noah and the ark, you know? Maybe it’s only as I grew older that I realised she was just keeping me quiet and stop me from trying to get a word in edgeways.
But – funny thing is – I still do this (the stories, not the sitting at the back of the bus). In fact, the group of people I (distantly – at least 2 metres apart) hang out with down at the dog park have had a fascination with the love life of a young girl who lives opposite the dog park. There are a few loose facts that we weave into our deliberations – she’s high school age (evidence – school uniform), he’s old enough to drive a hotted up car (no P plates), he doesn’t appear to be accepted by the family (only meet outside where we can see them and usually up a side street where her family can’t see them, but the entire dog group can). Sometimes, we don’t recognise the young male (he may have not arrived in the aforementioned hotted up car, or he may have had a hair cut, but this leads to the fascination of “is it the same boy?”.
It’s our very own soap opera, carried out between 4-5pm at the dog off lead area near me. Their relationship is sometimes a little fraught (there’s a lot of arguing going on) and while we have absolutely no knowledge of the young couple or their relationship, it does not stop us in any shape, way or form, from speculating intensely and making up stories about their lives.
It’s almost as interesting as when a motorcycle policeman was standing behind a sign on the main road (again, directly opposite the dog group!!! what are these people thinking??? don’t they know there’s a bunch of stickybeaks* just loving the drama???) – watching cars driving past to see who was using a mobile phone. When he saw one, he leapt (in a slow and dignified manner) on his bike, lights flashing and he chased them down. It was fascinating, and we felt within our rights to interrogate him. He obliged and we are now fully informed about his methods of operation. He doesn’t come back as often for some reason.
But again, I digress. Where was I???
Stories. That’s right.
It’s applicable particularly today because now more than ever we need to be aware that people we interact with will be dealing with stories we cannot imagine in their lives. Today I’ve heard of someone who has lost a parent, of someone who has had to delay yet again a much wanted holiday, someone who is hanging on to their job and looking for a second job to try to make ends meet, someone whose job is changing dramatically to deal with the days and months ahead. People on cruise ships trying to get home, people working in other countries wanting to be back in Australia but knowing the relocating could be as or more dangerous than staying put?????
Oh – and the woman whose husband is working from home while socially isolating from rest of the house. Pray for her, won’t you?
*Stickybeaks – cafe in Kings Park will close soon. Go buy an ice cream or a drink. Tell Roy that Heather sent you. Tell Roy I want a free ice cream for the advertising 🙂