Regular readers will know that I occasionally like to take life’s seemingly small stresses and frustrations and subvert my response. A recent example was when my bus was late and then delayed by traffic for an hour. There was much grumbling from my fellow passengers and just as I was feeling pulled into this negative space of complaining an alternative to moaning occurred to me and I sent the following email to the bus company;

“Here I sit on one of your number 12 buses, contemplating life’s great mysteries and marvelling at the scents and odours of my fellow passengers, packed in as we are, like sardines in a tin. I left the house this morning at 8.15am to catch the 8:26 to Glos but imagine my distress when it never arrived. Nevermind (as Kurt Cobain once said) I thought to myself the 8:38 will be a long in a jiffy. Alas my alarm was amplified as this bus didn’t arrive until 8.50am.

Don’t worry I expect the driver will apologise or explain the delay, after all I am a passing customer, a consumer of the product that is bus travel. With a heavy heart I received no such report, just the feeling that it was all the passengers fault.

Well I sighed to myself as I sat stock still on Bristol Road at 9.27 over an hour after leaving home for my 3 mile journey, at least I’m not working overtime today. Oh drat I recalled that was indeed the purpose of the day so every second on the bus was money going unpaid. I had paid 3.70 for the pleasure of not getting paid. So far I was £x (my hourly rate) and £3.70 down the drain and not even a sad smile of apology had I received. Well I continue to grin and bear it because it is all part of life’s rich tapestry. Perhaps I’ll start a sing song to cheer everyone up.

So to pass the time I send a satirical email, tongue partly in my cheek, to express my concern about the 4th such delay this week. I’m reminded of HG Wells Time Machine, the weary Traveller wondering what the future will be like. For me I’ll be almost £x poorer, not a lot to some but to my clients it might be devastating but I suppose that doesn’t warrant the merest of explanation of the doyens of wisdom at the Stage Coach.

I hope you enjoyed my tale? Can I ask one question? Shall I invoice you for the loss of earnings? I would accept a weeks free travel in recompense in lieu, see what you can do?

Kind regards

Travelling Matt, also know as John x”

And this was the bus company’s quite wonderful response. I was trying to find and give joy in a situation that could have caused much consternation. I am extremely grateful that the bus company took my “complaint” in the spirit it was intended and it’s one of the highlights of my week.  It made my grumps disappear and doing these sort of things remind me to keep perspective.


Copyright John de Gruyther 2018

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