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The Bus Ride Revisited: The First Christmas Batch

THULAGANYO JANKIE
The lady selling bananas claims it is able to help calm the bladder.

One tough customer demands her credentials as a nutritionist or medical officer.It is a tough ask. I look at the vendor with an ill-fitting hat and Mascom bib. She didn’t evoke much confidence. However, she rallies. After only 3 sentences the cockiness was flushed out of the passenger’s system like stameta or a laxative would do to your distressed insides.

Her only weapon was a sharp tongue, a quick wit and a heavy reliance on experiences of other banana sellers. By the time the bus made it out of the terminal his humility was better than that of a man who had lost a gargantuan post in the intelligence department.Farther down the aisle a vertically challenged vendor was involved in a fracas with another passenger over change.

The passenger accused the short man of shortchanging him. The vendor will have none of it. In my experience with dealing with short people I had discovered them to be short in height and short-fused. It looked like we were about to add short change to the template.

After much arguing - and at no point was Mathematics called in to unravel the disagreement - Shorty dug in his heels and started pulling out threats from his nasty bag. The argument was soon over with a ‘iyoo sorry rra’ epilogue from the passenger. I felt no pity for the passenger. Serves him right! Anybody who has been using buses as a mode of transport knows that it is virtually impossible to win an argument against a vendor. It is like flossing a cat’s teeth and trying to find out its favourite mouse dish.

In a bus there are usually all sorts of characters. There’s always a man in a suit who looks like he’s going for an important executive meeting but will always drop off at a place like Leshibitse. City Package descends in the village and upsets some very tight romances in his shiny suit.

Then there’s a guy who fancies himself a comedian

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and tries to make the bus laugh with his dry humour. He is always standing and his comedy career ends before reaching Rasesa. And of course it peters with a great deal of embarrassment

Then there is loverboy. Loverboy is usually smartly dressed but if you sit next to him you will realise he models for those Plaza shops in Block 3. If you are a woman-or even a man sometimes- and you sit next to him by the time you reach your destination you will either have a fiancé or be hugely irritated.
Of course the slay queen is always there and usually acts like she doesn’t usually use buses and we all should be grateful she’s one of us today. Today one is standing next to me hanging on a rail and she looks like she’s about to twerk in my face.

Finally there’s a woman with a baby. All these are here today as we board the north-bound bus.

The bus is swarming with the first batch of people going to the village to celebrate Christmas. These are usually the ones with wobbly, unsteady jobs that end as soon as the company owner disappears with the loot before paying the bewildered, overworked labour.

Going back to the village has nothing to do with checking on relatives. That is, like, number 65748 on the list. Usually scampering off to the village helps them escape the landlord’s Claws of Debt. Landlords are usually no-nonsense, take-no-prisoner species that have a whole stash of ways to make their tenants pay. However, they still haven’t figured out how to thwart errant tenants that run off to the village at around Christmas and come back in January broke, darker and uglier.

This is the lot who by the time the real city slickers arrive in the village have disappeared into the village collage and now looking like true villagers with several decades of ‘villaging’ experience.

(For comments, feedback and insults email inkspills1969@gmail.com)



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