Thursday, September 29, 2005

Bendy Bus Hero

A lot of Londoners don't like the new "bendy" buses, as they call them, which are gradually replacing a lot of the old double-deckers. They are one floor, instead of two, but really long and divided into 3 parts which are connected with rubbery bendable sections that help the bus manouevre corners and such. You can board the buses from any of 3 entrances, only one requiring you to pass (and thus, pay!) the bus driver. The other ones operate on an honor system, basically. Unless... the London Transport officials randomly happen to board the bus you're on, to check for violators. A one-way bus pass is 1 pound twenty pence. If you're fined for not having a ticket, the cost is 20 pounds -- that's nearly 40 US dollars.

Tonight, I was on a bendy bus that had been overtaken by the officials (and fortunately, I happened to have a ticket, though, they didn't check me, for whatever reason.) They were doing one last check when an old drunk piped up from the middle section of the bus:

"Ey! Ya don't haf te call meh 'Ser'!"

The main official replied back: "I wouldn't worry about it, Sir."

"Ya don't need te cuz am yor hero! Thas right -- am yor hero!"

...and then, out of nowhere, the old drunk broke out with --

"Ah can bee yor heeeroo bay-beh!"

-- the Enrique Iglesias song. The entire bus cracked up! I couldn't stop laughing for the next few blocks! What a character -- he certainly cut some of the tension on that was actually a welcome release. It's still so amazing to me how far reaching popular American culture can be.