“Does this go to Glasgow?” I asked. “Near a station?”
I had stressed the second part like a typical briton on a foreign holiday, trying to make a local understand them by talking louder. It wasn’t really necessary in the event, as the driver had replied in such a thick Glasweigan accent that Rab C Nesbit himself would have struggled to pick it up.
“Aye – goestae Central – Glasgae Central!” He spat, stressing the last part in case I was a foreigner.
“Thanks – I’ll just have a single then.”
I blinked once to see if he was taking the smeg, but he wasn’t so I told him “Glasgae Centrul” in the best scottish accent I could muster. It came out like a bad impression of the driver.
Why is that? I wish I could understand why my scottish accent is crap whenever I’m trying to put on a scottish accent. I know I spent three years in Cornwall, but that was fourteen years ago now and I’m well aware that I have a scottish accent of sorts.
Anyway, I sit on this bus after quite a surreal adventure involving crossing a field in what appeared to be the middle on nowhere, but turned out to be right beside a dual carriageway. I had turned up at the bus stop, via the field, clutching a recently burned copy of Windows 98 with absolutely no idea where I was or in which part of Glasgow.
An hour and a half before I had struck up a conversation with a stranger in a computer shop in the city. I had told him that my developers copy of Windows 98 had expired and he offered to drive me to his place and give me a copy, which was nice.
I didn’t realise at the time that the 30 minute drive was a one way trip and that Mr Helpful would bid me goodbye with a brief wave in the direction of civilisation and one of those head-tilt-wink things that scottish people do when they say “Seeyie”
Anyway, this was all in the past at this point. I had taken my seat on the bus behind a mother and daughter and watched as the journey back to Glasgow unfolded before me. In these type of situations (not that I’ve been chased across a field by a herd of cows while clutching a pirate copy of a MicroSoft product since then) you tend to become hyper aware of everything.
You take in every little detail… road splits in two up ahead… okay, I can see a cathedral… so we must be… oh, no, that’s just a big church… – that kind of thing. Well it suddenly dawned on me that the mother and daughter sitting in front of me had been laughing with each other for a good few minutes without actually saying a word.
Cool, I thought – I wonder what gives here. I watched closely in the reflection of that window they always put behind the driver – you know the one that always has a blind pulled down and the driver never uses it at all. I always wondered why they put those there, and why the driver pulls the blind down. It’s not as if we don’t know what he’s doing and it’s not as if he can skive behind it either – I’m sure someone would get up and have a word if he just swung into a car park for a quick tea break.
It took me not very long at all to realise that the mother and daugher were signing to each other. Cool-er, I thought – this was really great… why-ever the daugher was without her hearing didn’t seem to matter, as they were “talking” and laughing with one another for the rest of the journey.
I don’t know why this sticks in my head, but it does – I can just remember it so vividly. Maybe it’s due to the aforementioned “hyper-aware” bollocks, I don’t know, but I still think to this day that it’s wonderful that they were having a conversation without barriers.
The bus turned up at Glasgow central as expected. This was indicated by the driver leaning out of his cabin and saying “Hey – pal – that’s Glasgae centrul over thaer!”, hastening my departure from the bus somewhat.
I stood on the kerb watching the bus pull away, thinking how sweet the wee girl had been. Across the road was a DX Communications shop with all sorts of special offer posters on display. Communications without barriers, I said to myself. With that thought in mind, I went inside and bought my first mobile phone.