Sunday, 20 March 2011

Top Deck N31

The bus stop crowd sighs as an empty 31 rattles past on the Camden High Road. When the next arrives, the people-mass is twice as large as it would've otherwise been. I wait for everyone to board before eying up the top deck and taking my own chances. At the last minute upstairs a seat up-front becomes available. I sit down. How privileged I am to get this view of the throng of red car lights illuminated against the black night. To see the the people outside the clubs having a good time from this height.
Then the guy across from me pipes up. A big, bald Jamaican guy with a leather jacket and fingerless biker gloves.
"Artificial intelligence. All of you young people with your internet and your mobile phones. You're not human, you're artificial intelligence," he repeats over and over again to the window in front of him.
The man beside him widens his eyes and shrinks against the window.
The bus slowly progresses to the end of the High Road, at which point our biker says, "come out, come out, wherever you are. Who stole my youth? Who stole my youth? Be it on tube, bus, plane or train, come out, come out." He repeats this line over and over before a few more choruses about artificial intelligence.
The shrunken man catches my eye in the window reflection. He looks a bit scared. I shoot him a sympathetic glance.
At last we pull into a bus stop and with the entire top deck now watching, the biker stands up and, as he turns to leave, mutters, "Fucking two-legged wankers."