Written by Anne Edmonds

Misc

Eavesdropping: On The Bus

Anne Edmonds spends her time lurking in cafes, airports, libraries, public spas (bit weird) listening for that magical drop from the eave – a few overheard words that tell you everything. These are the stories of the people you pass everyday in the street. Honest.

bus

Illustration by Laura Swaddle

The bus, Surry Hills, Sydney, 11.40am, 7 September 2014

A girl in her 30s struggles onto the bus with a bag in one hand and dripping umbrella in the other. The bus jolts forward as she’s sitting down, throwing her into the chair and she yells out involuntarily. Then looking down towards her feet she says: “Oh no,” her face turning red with embarrassment.

I make eye contact with her but wish I hadn’t. She looks like she might cry.

Clearly the attention on the bus is burning through Sam; and then last night’s incident comes back to her in another horrible wave.

Yesterday over lunch she’d told her friend Jasmin about Simon from work who’d been flirting with her for months. After a thorough analysis of his behaviour, Jasmin had worked Sam into a frenzy about calling him; something she’d never normally do.

There’d been a lot of “Take risks!”; “He likes you but needs you to make the first move”; and “I would!” from Jasmin who’d been in her current relationship for four years and the one before that for six.

So that night Sam called Simon who sounded agitated when he answered. When she blurted out: “Want to come to the pub?” mid-conversation he’d said abruptly, “No. Kate and I are going out for dinner”. Kate? Obviously the girlfriend. Never mentioned once at work but Sam was somehow supposed to know she existed and had dinner plans with Simon.

It was the worst possible shoe. A white Birkenstock, so comfortable but so gross. When she’d put it on that morning she’d never dreamt a bus load of people would be looking into her dirty sole.

She hung up, burst into tears and then called Jasmin who said “Yeah, some people just flirt. It’s how they relate,” as if the whole lunchtime conversation had been forgotten.

“Doesn’t seem fair,” said Sam, to which Jasmin replied “Life isn’t fair,” before saying she had to go because Michael was starting the movie.

Back on the bus, Sam leaned forward to the man in front of her and whispered, “Sorry, my shoe’s come off. Is it under your seat?” holding her foot aloft of the bus filth.

He didn’t hear her so she had to say it again, louder.

It wasn’t under his seat so he asked the person in front of him, who asked the next person, and so on until the whole bus was involved. It was eventually retrieved by an enthusiastic English man on all fours at the front, and then made the long journey back via everyone on the bus.

At one point a confused elderly woman held on to it like a baby and had to have it pried away. It was the worst possible shoe. A white Birkenstock, so comfortable but so gross. When she’d put it on that morning she’d never dreamt a bus load of people would be looking into her dirty sole.

When she finally got the shoe back, she looked out the window and muttered “Thanks a lot”. To Simon.

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Written by Anne Edmonds

Anne Edmonds is one of Australian's most exciting new stand up, character and banjo-playing comedians.