Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Bus Journey

Bored with moral grandstanding about the dangers of food market speculation, I decide to turn my gun of truth on myself. For reasons which are largely irrelevant, I found myself on a coach journey of a trifling 8 hours. As I am wont to do in such scenarios, I found myself drifting into a position whereupon my legs were against the window as I sprawled out across the extra chair beside me. Scarcely had I gotten into this position, than I promptly fell asleep. I awoke, mere minutes later. As I struggled to get back into a normal seated position, I realised that the woman in front of me had, presumably with painstaking accuracy, put her chair back in the position that would be hardest to complain about, realistically ("It's only a couple of inches back!" I could envision her saying to me) but also the position that would JUST trap me. My legs didn't have space to get in the gap she had left from the position they were in. I was going to die, trapped by the user-operated chair-lean function. I had always secretly known it would be this way, but I'd rather hoped it'd be the much more glamorous "Oh, his plane went down and he was trapped by someone who didn't want to sit up straight. Such a shame, he was flying out to Africa to do charity work." sort of death than "Somewhere outside Newcastle, he starved to death, trapped by his own incompetence and that of the chair user in front of him.". Still, I was panicked. Unsettled. A bystander, were they so callous as to laugh at my misfortune rather than offer assistance, would possibly go so far as to I looked deeply perturbed. Just as I had come to grips with the fact that I would rather die than ask a stranger to move their seat, the gods of fate took pity on me, and stole her away into the night to urinate. In this moment, the chair righted itself and I gratefully swivelled into a position more normally regarded as ideal for bus travel.

I hope we've all learnt something from my mishap, whether it's to ban chairs that lean back (I've been lobbying this idea at governments worldwide for nearly a decade, with little or no real response from them), to condemn people who would willingly annoy another stranger for the benefit of ever so slightly leaning back to death, or whether the only lesson to be learnt here is that overnight bus journeys are the worst thing in the world, it's clear that we have all taken something special away from my little mishap.

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