No photos for this one, because you’ve guessed it, I ended up getting OldMan’s bus.
It’s a disappointing thing because Spaceship was around in the morning so I expected it to be around in the late afternoon as well. But oh well, I’ve come to accept that life is unpredictable in so many ways, and this is one of the unpredictability I have to get used to.
I climbed on board without waiting any longer because OldMan was already on his seat and the bus was already quite full. I paid my fare right away, got my ticket, and marched to the back without really looking into the faces of the people in front. Just a glance was enough to tell me that the front part was full.
With that, I had passed by Uncle Zack and a classmate from secondary school. I think Uncle Zack was expecting me to acknowledge the fact that he’s there, because I could feel his stare. As for the ex-classmate, I’m not really sure whether she recognised me.
I was greeted by quite a pleasant surprise at the back. A young man had an empty seat next to him and he wasn’t putting any stuff on it, reserving it for his selected candidates. As I looked at him I went eh, because he’s a friend of a friend. Now the problem is, I wasn’t sure which friend is his friend, because I seem to have confused him someone else who is also a friend of a friend. This also unfortunately meant that I have no idea on what’s his name. I may know his name, but I wasn’t sure which name in my brain belongs to him.
We greeted each other and he asked me a question, but I became clueless about which language was he using. Was he speaking in the Sarawak Malay dialect, or did he just speak in my native language? What’s his name again? And which guy is this? And which friend is he friends with? It was a pretty confusing moment for me.
I asked him where was he heading to, and surprisingly he answered me with the very same stop I was heading to. Wait a minute, I told myself, so all these while I didn’t know he’s living in the same neighbourhood as mine??
I wasn’t so happy that I couldn’t recall who he is, so I used some tricks to find the answer. “Ah, you’re…a friend of…” I said, purposely delaying my words and making huge gaps between them, expecting him to complete my sentence. Then the trick to finding out which name belonged to him? I just simply asked, “And your name..what is it again?”
It was pretty awkward, I have to say. I was curious, but I knew if I asked too many questions he was going to suffocate. He then scrolled through his phone, and I had nothing to do because there’s nothing to scroll on my phone. I wanted to read, but that would make me look weird, and I wanted to just listen to my music, but wouldn’t that make me appear rude? It was tough.
The guy told me he sometimes takes the bus too, but strangely I’ve never seen him walking to Jalan Masjid before. I’ve also never seen him wait at the bus stop near our neighbourhood, although he claimed that he had done that several times.
We didn’t have anything else to talk about though, and he made several remarks about why on earth the driver wasn’t leaving yet, because the bus was already full with people standing, and the air cond wasn’t functioning well, and worse, it was really sunny and hot outside. It was sort of a disastrous kind of ride, the classic ride you’ll get when the good old Spaceship isn’t around.
When the bus finally moved, I finally had the ability to relax and just plug in my earphones, and sat there pretending that I was having a grand ride. The young ladies standing beside me couldn’t stop talking. Earlier on, when they boarded, they made themselves pretty obvious that they had never boarded buses before because they didn’t pay as they walked to the back. OldMan would of course never scold pretty young ladies. If I were one of them I guess OldMan would shout at me the way Woi-man gave me a Woi Woi. Life can be pretty unfair, but as a seasoned passenger, I have no complaints. Nothing shocks me anymore.
Uncle Zack talked to a lady in the Bukar dialect, which was the first time I hear him speak a language other than Malay, English, and Mandarin. It made me wonder whether he is of mixed ethnicity or he’s just good at multiple language because that’s normally how it is for talkative people—they just have the ability to converse in any language because they love talking to just anyone.
Cody the Conductor hopped on board to check the tickets, and an old man who is a regular passenger touched Cody’s bulging stomach, saying it’s growing bigger. Cody jumped and said, “Jangan pegang, nanti baby di dalam terkejut,” (Don’t touch, the baby inside will be shocked) which was, I have to admit, quite a comical response.
He then started writing down stuffs on a paper with columns and ticket numbers, together with random names of drivers. He did this just above my head, so it was pretty easy for me to see what’s on the sheet. Some names were scribbled with horrible handwritings, while some was as clear as the sun (Is this even a legit simile?). I saw a name which I believe is a common name in my ethnic group, and I saw another which is English name not quite common for locals over the age of, let’s say, 45. If the driver with that name is any older than 45, I’d be quite surprised. Hell, I’d be even surprised if he’s any older than 40. That would probably just mean that his parents were ahead of their times.
Passengers came and went, some of them the regulars, Mak Cik Amoi, the old men who I never really pay much attention to, complete strangers carrying stuffs, just people, people I don’t really care about.
Even as we approached my stop, it was still a pretty full bus. It was hard for me to take a way to the door. The guy next to me, that friend of a friend, also got up and hopped off together. Cody told the ladies at the door to give me way because “Amoi mau lalu.” It’s a rather flattering thing to be called an amoi.
And that was my one hundred and forty ninth ride of 2017.
Seat: Before the backmost seat, right side.
Weather: Really sunny.