Wednesday, September 10, 2008

No Pavarotti

The bus driver sang, my neighbour told us, all the way into the city. He was no Pavarotti, in fact he was completely tuneless, she said. He sang the most banal ditties imaginable. He sang about stopping at the lights and about how he was not going to start off until the woman and the baby had sat down; he sang about how much he liked to sing and about the way the rain ran in patterns down the windscreen – anything seemed to get him going. Anything at all.

Each time someone new got on the bus, my neighbour would look to see whether they were discomforted by the singing. People are such very good actors, she said. They would walk to their seats as if everything was ordinary.

Most of the passengers would smile now and then, but all the same, when they did, they would avoid each other’s eyes and would smile, instead, at the rain. My neighbour said that there were some that gave no reaction at all but stared fixedly ahead.


mward said...

Hi Jen, just dropped by to read your latest enticement, and i had to smile. I have to say, your scene is such a common feeling ... this exquisite sense of embarrassment we Australians have about a social display of emotion. Or maybe i should re-phrase that ... a sense of embarrassment we Anglo-Australians have. Or is this a skewed impression i have, and other cultures have it as well? i wonder? In the end, i bet the driver had a great day as a result of his "tunelessness", and maybe even the commuters had something to remember of the trip ... something different from the day before?

JAAC said...

No I think your impression is not skewed at all (unless mine is also skewed). Here's to tunelessness then and all its joys.