I used to be a bus conductor. Have I told you that before? (He has only been gone for three days and already I am talking to the computer!). This was back in the days of back-loading, open-platform buses. I would balance myself against the pole with my leather change bag slung low around my hip and ring the bell with a practiced hand. It was a job of alternating extremes : on a clear and crisp Spring morning there were few finer feelings than trundling over the moorland roads of West Yorkshire. But on Saturday nights when the majority of your customers were drunk and mildly disorderly, there were few worse jobs. When the weather was poor, I would abandon my open platform and stand inside watching Halifax and its environs pass by. When things were quiet I would go up onto the top deck and take one of the front seats and look down on the world.
I was thinking of all this yesterday as I caught the bus into Huddersfield. I was remembering the days when buses had windows rather than advertising sites. Get on any bus in West Yorkshire nowadays and try to look out of the window and if you are lucky you might catch a glimpse of the world through breaks in advertising placards which, for some reason, the bus company chooses to plaster on all available windows. It is not that the adverts earn revenue or provide any useful information. They are annoying reminders - in 2,000 point cursive font - that the blasted bus runs every 20 minutes or some such nonsense.
So yesterday, when I should have been looking out of the window, I had to compose post-Xan Haiku No. 74 instead. Here it is :
Frosted bus windows
Hide the cold-clamped world outside
And seal me from harm.