….we’re homeless and…..

Filling, the bus is half filled and that’ll be it. Those aboard seated singularly, staring vacantly out of windows decidedly clean.

It’s time to leave but the driver can’t. Loitering at the stop and in the stairwell off the bus are two blokes. One wearing an orange tee and rumpled baggy cargo pants closest to the driver. The other grasps the entrances door rail with feet on terra firma whilst his more forward mate says  to the driver,

“…… um  we’re homeless and we got no money but can get some at Rosney and then we’ll be able to pay the fare back here to the city where we’re sleeping.”

There’s a strange logic to this argument I think.

The second of the two has darker hair and has seen the hairdresser less and is all in black, down to his cargo pants. He moves up a step higher edging  orange tee shirt to one side, possibly to let the driver know there are two of them.

“If they’d not said they were homeless, how would anyone have known”, I find myself thinking.

The driver’s caught in a dilemma. It’s time to go and he’s got to decide what to do!

 “We’re homeless and need to get to Rosny so we can get back to the city where we’re sleeping.” Orange tee says again as if repeating this will improve his chance of a charity ride.

The boarded passengers aren’t restless yet. They will be given a few more minutes delay though.

“So you need to get to Rosny mate?” says the driver, looking Orange tee up and down and Black tee down.

With a backward wave of his left hand the driver signals them into the centre aisle at the front of the bus, and then activates the door close with his right.

The bus swings into the Mall. Orange and Black tee grip the vertical chromed rails as the bus lurches through the peak hour traffic. Whilst looking like other Hobartians, the other Hobartians seems to know they’re not. On the right hand arc up onto the Tasman Bridge the centrifugal force causes Orange tee to grab at the strap hanger for steadying. It’s a telling moment. The bus slowly fills with the acrid odour of unwashed armpits and unlaundered clothes. Four seats back the waves sweep over me.

“How far to Rosny” I hear myself thinking.

The driver is oblivious, tied up with negotiating the thickening traffic at the East Derwent interchange.

Those folk who were secretly hoping the driver would let these guys on for free aren’t so sure now. Their tolerance is lower the closer they are to the front of the bus.

I wonder at these non paying passengers plight. How’d they arrive at where they are now? Whilst we see them as a couple, perhaps they are only tied by their circumstances.  How soon could any of us find ourselves in like situation?

I try hard to rationalise these ideas but the air affects my thinking. It’s the air of desperation carried on the odour. They chat about nothing and about everything and there I am trying to listen in while pretending not to.

Rosny bus station is a change of traffic light away before we are hove to at the stop.  The alighting passengers are strangely reticent to adopt their usual push and shove to the exit, until the homeless go. Then I watch the uniformed  school kids, miss representative of the commission home folk in her trackies and too short gym top, a matron from an age past, and several well heeled looking clerks or maybe like me public servants. But unlike Orange tee and his mate who I know are homeless I’ve no idea of what the living arrangements of any of these folk is.



The wedding

Modern affairs, a fashion slowly failing yet gripping by the fingernails to the sentimentality of the iAge. An eclectic gathering of family and friends. No different to be sure from any other like function attended this day. Though different in style and location, fundamentally the same.  So why do we go, to stand uneasily as here, under the translucent plastic sheeting intensifying the sun’s rays in the waning afternoon.

Looking around, what an assortment, not an assortment like Forrest Gump’s chocolate box, They’re more like the comfy white shoes which Forrest remarks to his bus stop bench companion

“I’ll bet you could walk all day in them and not feel a thing.”

Most guests here could do the same I suspect.

Many of the guests are dressed for comfort. For comfort I scan around for jandals, those New Zealand equivalents of Australian thongs. Although I’m sure there’s more than a fair share of the sexy, brief, pantie type thong thronging  around me the jandal is not. Some footwear though is skirmishingly close though.

“Look over there”, says Anne.

I look and see nothing of note.

“What” I say, “What am I looking at?”

The air is heating up. The music/ak filling the space is sentimental, boring and trite. All love and devotion I sense, anthems of some time past twixt the present now and back when I gave up any real interest in music.

“See on the sole of her left shoe,” Anne says.

And there in all its glory is not a squished dog/cat/any animal turd but a price tag! So here’s someone who’s gone to a little more trouble than just turn up. They’ve bought a left shoe to celebrate the nuptials. I squint to see the price but at five metre  distance, I’m well beyond the limits of my aging vision, spectacle enhanced or not. I try sidle closer to see what she paid for this strappy beige left shoe with a mid height heel, but Anne tugs me back.

“Don’t be so stupid.” she softly says under her breath, being aware of how my mind works on occasions like this.

I unsidle, and look about. There’s all manner of  dress. The sheilas seem to have made slightly more effort than the men. In this menagerie the males don’t preen and flaunt as in other parts of the natural world. The sense of occasion and cultural symbolism is reduced to its barest elements. Some vows [what a funi word, vows] some signing like for an extended warranty or centreline declarations then some walking around amongst the throng and its all over. Some words lingered but they were few. Words about public declaration and sumut about sharing.

And we do share, we pay for our own drinks at the local pub, eat pub nibblies till its ok to go. Ok to go is apparently after the cake is cut, though a fair few scamper before hand to catch the game which starts about now. Those not so sporting inclined take the

“Gotta get the kids to bed option”.

We drift off, to wonder what it was all about.