Wednesday, 1 August 2007

I met one of those people with heavy souls today.

Glasgow has been enjoyed a spell of gorgeous weather so, as karma for tells, it was time we encountered a downpour. By the time I got on the bus I was soaked to the skin. Most of the windows had been opened so I shut the one closest to me to prevent me getting a draft. At which point the gent who had been muttering to himself at the back of the bus apologised for opening those windows.

Now the gent had been read a book so I assumed he was one of those people who quietly reads out loud. He made a comment about the weather and we batted casual conversation back and forwards. Previously such conversations have been interesting. Once I spent three hours talking to an Israeli in the Pret in Sauchiehall Street. This time perhaps I should have read the signs when he made a comment about Jimi Hendrix and the price that gifted individuals may pay in return for having such delights. He was reading a book about Alexander the Great and the conversation (well, monologue on his part) turned to the gold standard and how we're getting screwed out of 2 grams every 10 grams or so. Suddenly, he asks me "Do you know what it's like to see a man starve to death?"

Alarm bells start ringing and are briefly drowned out by the thought 'Not recently, no.' I went for shaking my head in case my tongue slipped that comment out. He then precedes to tell me about a friend in India who starved to death. Bus Man had been stealing food but his friend refused to take it due to religious reasons i.e. God might be pissed. When he went to get some money to give to him instead, he came back to see his friend covered with a white sheet. By this point, tears were pouring down his face. I didn't know what else to do. I did the only thing I could do - I gave him a crumpled tissue from my pocket. All of a sudden he leapt to his feet and kept talking as he walked down the bus and got off at what I presume was his stop.

An interesting after affect was watching the reactions of the passengers. When Bus Man initially started his monologue, an elderly man got up and moved further down the bus. A woman stared at the window at him and shared a glance with the same elderly man, strangers before this moment. Myself? I sat there, a little shell shocked from what had happened. Touching a shell that heavy leaves you dazed for a while.

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