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Sunday, April 13, 2008

There's always one...

I dedicate this post to Mutley, who gave me the idea, and to Electro-Kevin who has to put up with such people every day...

There is always one weirdo on the same mode of public transport as yourself.

You know what I mean - the man with the crazy eyes (one eye lookin' atcha, one eye lookin' for ya). Or the woman with rats up her sleeve who HAS to, yes simply HAS to sit next to you even though there are 100 seats free in the carriage, or the deaf old lady who feels the need to ask everyone how old she is.

This latter one, coincidentally, was my grandmother, who had a habit of asking random strangers to guess her age.

"Guess how old I am?" she would yell at some long-haired hippy student minding his own business.
"I couldn't possibly"
"Oh, go on, go on. Take a guess."
"I really couldn't"
"Just a little guess" (sorry, that should have read)
"Er... 64"
"Oh you flatterer, you, I'm 82 next year."
"So you're 81 now then?"
(turning to my mother) "We need to get off the bus now, this young man is talking to me and I think he's going to steal my pension book".

Anyway, when Grandmother Merms finally popped her fins, Merms was left facing the uncomfortable prospect of having an Unknown Weirdo on the bus... and realising that I am indeed that weirdo.

I AM THE WEIRDO ON THE BUS. One day I was sitting by myself, enjoying my seat at the front of an EMPTY bus, just listening to the Stones on my iPod, when Merms espies at the approaching bus stop a young lady with several shopping bags.

Merms does not have a crystal ball, but immediately Merms knew that, of all the 82 empty seats on the 133, that Bag Girl would come and sit right next to her. Now Bag Girl was not a weirdo, let me get that straight. But Merms was not happy. Puffer jackets should be banned in the interests of public safety. Bag Girl also put her shopping up on the shelf in front so that Merms could not look out of the window. Bag Girl also took out a newspaper too big for her to manoeuvre and flicked it in the Merms' face.

So I decided to be THE ONE. I decided to be the Weirdo on the Bus. I texted three friends to ask their opinion; they all told me to go for it. So I thought of my options:

1) The Alexi Sayle "Do you like sponge? I am only allowed Sponge. They won't let me have anything sharper than SPONGE" approach, which was not just Weird, but possibly dangerously creepy
2) The "I like dogs, but not brown ones" approach, which is weird, but also has the endearing effect of her perhaps thinking I am autistic, which might make her feel the need to stay next to me and talk to me out of the milk of human kindness
3) Chickening out

I decided on a mix of 2 and 3. Turning towards her suddenly and staring not at her, but at her jugular vein, I adopted a Yorkshire accent and said:

"Do you like Streatham?"

She turned to look at me. "S.................?"

I froze.

"You're S.............. aren't you? You went to school with me. You were a couple of years below me."

She eyed me strangely as if to say: "You always were weird and I guess nothing has changed."

I had no idea who she was. I guess she recognised my tail. I was mortified.

I have decided that I will never again try to be weird. My life is strange enough without trying. Anyway I have to go now and milk the hippo.


The Beast Of Clerkenwell said...

Lets face it Merms
At your age You are running out of options
1, Barkiss
2,The loon in the lycra
3, Me!
I would suggest that Barkiss is your best chance.
He owns his own Bible, likes God , and buys Werthers mints in bulk.
Every girls dream date.
I say you jump im both boots first and marry him.

Gorilla Bananas said...

So you didn't recognise her? In your position, the Iron Duke would have said: "You've grown damned fat, by God!".

The Old Tarf said...
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Mermaid of Moorgate said...

Hullo Beast,

I guess barkiss is the best offer I've had for a couple of months, but I am not ready to go down without a fight. I still have Monty The Cat for company and I may be down, but I'm not desperate!

Gorilla - a pleasure to see you again, sir. Perhaps I should have said something to her. But I was afraid of being smothered to death in her oversized white puffa jacket

fingers said...

There IS always one weirdo on every bus !!!
And if you look around and can't work out who that weirdo is...

Lilith said...

Bag Girl IS a weirdo Merms, or why else would she have passed up on all those empty seats? It's not like she recognised her old friend and thought "There's Merms! I will go and sit next to her!"

You may be singular, but Bag Girl is WEIRD.

Daisy said...

i agree with lilith...and just for a note...being the weird one on the bus can be fun...but you have to commit to it...even if recognized...then if someone does recognize you and says something to a just look at them and say "are you nuts, or were you just doing too many drugs that day" and laugh at them...they will be taken off guard and not know what to daisy...and it is fun...

Daisy said...
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The Beast Of Clerkenwell said...

Let me know when you are desperate, some of my most successful relationships have been with desperate women.
Be warned, I am alergeic to both cats and God.

idle said...

For a moment I thought you were telling us that your name was Streatham.

Surely not Sharon. You don't sound like a Serena or a Saskia to me. Sarah is too dull, unless you are a Sally.

Of course Bag Girl might have been referring to your surname. Smith is too obvious, St John-Stevas unlikely, for obvious reasons.

Got it! You are the love child of the Archbish of York, Miss Sentamu, and I claim the £5 WH Smith voucher.

Lilith said...

Beast, surely allergic to cats and elegeic to god?

Anonymous said...

I always wanted to be called Stephanie when I was a child.

The mad smelly people always come and sit next to me- ALWAYS. And I am always sweet to them cos they talk more sense than most of my students and usually smell better too!

Glad you are back. And no, never declare a state of desperation!

idle said...

lil, you clever old thing. A remark that Stephen Fry himself would have been proud of.

Scout said...

How is it that you get to have these interesting encounters with people. I hardly ever get to do that. Maybe if my town had a bus.

mrshifty said...

isn't the front of the bus where you get the most engine vibration? explains a lot.

electro-kevin said...

"I'd like a return ticket, please."

"Where to, Sir ?"

"Why - back HERE of course !"

I don't sell tickets - just the sort of thing I hear regularly from my esteemed colleagues. One of the conductors was making his way through a carriage when a very posh and aged lady's voice piped up, "Close that window, you grrrotty little man." Mad - stark raving bonkers.

In fact the whole of the British travelling public are bonkers and that's why I've dedicated my life to inconveniencing them - be it as a police officer or a train driver. I've worked it out that the more time they spend stuck on trains or in traffic, the less damage they can do to the country elsewhere...

'snot worked, has it !

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

Fingers: It usually is me being the weirdo. I guess being weird is only the one who is different. I am not referring to tramps or people who have mental disabilities, as they can't help it, but the weirdos are the anti-social people who just don't seem to know what constitutes appropriate behaviour in public.

Which, again, is usually me...

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

Lilith & Daisy...

Thank you for the comments; in Bag Girl's defence, however, I must say that the top seats on the bus at the front are always the best ones - best view, more leg room and space for putting shopping. And there was an older guy in the top front bus seat across the aisle, so she was probably just making for her favourite seat.

I like to sit in those seats because I like to pretend to drive the bus. It is great to sit there next to a friend and then suddenly, as the bus starts to veer round the corner, grabbing the metal bar in front of me with both hands, leaning over to one side or the other and screeching out:


Pulling up at a bus stop/traffic lights:

Pretend to slam on the brakes and pull back on the bar:


At a stop sign:

Hold the bar lightly with both hands, pretend you are on a motorbike and loudly rev the engine.

"Rrrggghhh Rrrrrggghhh"

My friends really really love me doing this.

I am 30.

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

Idle, nice to see you again, hope all is well with His Lordship? My name is none of the above - I quote elecro-Kevin:

"I would never have had you down as a S************"

Indeed. but if you had the parents I did, you would be called after a bad scrabble hand too.

Incidentally, Grace Sentamu was a couple of years above me at my school and she used to look after me when I first joined there. She was a lovely lass & I am so pleased her father has done well.

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

Scout - you don't have a bus?

I will buy you one and leave it outside your door. I am sure you will find it remarkably useful for big shopping trips and taking the kids to school. Lots of kids to school.

Mermaid of Moorgate said...


then I have to apologise to you on behalf of all customers, commuters and irritating passengers everywhere...

"We're sorry!"

EmmaK said...

Never try and outwierd a wierdo! Best thing to do in these situations is be blatantly rude. If a nutter sits next to you on a bus, simply get up and move to another seat or go onto the top deck or if it's a train simply get off and get into next carriage. Manners aren't always a good idea Mermaid.

Trubes said...

The last time I travelled on a bus (Dolmus) was in central Turkey, whilst holiday.
The passenger next to me was a Nanny Goat. I kid you not!

(Oooh I've just cracked a funny "I kid you not") Gedddit ??

She was tethered to a hand rail and wasn't at all abusive in her speech, although didn't smell too grand!
We christened her Baaaarbara.
After a couple of miles she was led of the Dolmus by the driver and released in a field along the way.
I didn't notice her paying. Maybe she had a Bus pass, she did look rather old!

Oooh! Merms: you've just given me an idea for my next post...

Hope you are enjoying your hol. and 'Chillin'.
Chloe will e-mail Monty later.
At present she's lying under the Duvet on our bed.
It's a bit too cold for her today !!


Trubes said...

Typo Alert:
Led 'off' even!

fred said...

Why don't you drive a car like any normal person?

Mermaid of Moorgate said...


1) I am not a normal person
2) I don't need to drive in London

do you lick metal poles?

Then don't judge my normality.

fred said...

You're right, you can be completely abnormal and still drive in London even if you don't need to.

"do you lick metal poles?"

This seems like a leading question, but who am I to judge?

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

Dear Fred,

Matthew 7 v 1

I prefer to be abnormal and Not drive. That's safer for a whole lot of people.

Mermaid of Moorgate said...
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Mermaid of Moorgate said...
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Fat Controller said...

Ah, my favourite Alexei Sayle quote. But no mention of Jasper Carrott's 'Nutter on the bus'?:
"Please don't let the nutter sit next to me. I bought a 'Watchtower'"