The National Express


Well, I’m writing this post on a National Express coach. I don’t have a laptop, I’m writing this down on paper. I thought anything that encourages my brain to think about something other than the smell I can smell, must be a good thing. And it really does smell bad. I’m starting to think people save their most disgusting, potent smells for when they travel on the coach. Either that or everyone just really smells.

I can’t really do anything on here. I have a book with me, but the text is so small it’s just giving me a headache. I can’t even sleep because there’s nowhere to rest my head and I can’t prop my head up with my hands because I can’t rest my elbows on anything.There’s nothing this coach can offer me other than a half eaten square bar someone’s left in the magazine pouch in front of me, but I’m not quite that desperate – although I might be soon if my legs have to stay like this for much longer. I have really long legs. And I’m serious. I’m about 6ft4, but if I lost my legs I’d be about 2ft tall. They’re seriously long.

I fear I’m going mad here. Thoughts pop into my head until I debate them so much they appear to just dissolve and I find myself literally thinking about nothing. It’s bizarre. I’ve just had some interesting ideas about milk bottles. I’m confused why milk bottle designers haven’t done something about their flawed “oh, God! Do not lie it on its side!” bottles. Other bottles don’t seem to leak when you lie them on their side, so why do milk bottles? Just sort it out. Although I suppose it did give me something to think about, so I guess it’s not so bad.

Luckily there’s no crazy people on board this time. Everyone seems like fairly nice people. I try and suss everyone out when I travel on the National Express. I often find myself thinking, “wow, they’re just like me!” when I hear someone on a phone telling their friend about how their trips going. I’m always oddly impressed that, like me, they too hate Birmingham station and it’s always nice to know that they have a headache as well! What are the odds?

I’m actually just about to stop in Birmingham station, possibly the most depressing place in the country. It’s full of people halfway through their journeys; annoyed at how long they still have to go. They buy a coffee, sit down, and stare into their cups, wondering if it’s possible to drown themselves in the hot amber liquid. I always see a very intimidating toilet attendant who stares around the room trying to make eye contact with people who might have to pee. If I need the toilet, I just try and hold it in. I’d rather pee myself than be stared down by that devil woman. Come to think of it, I do need to go. Perhaps I can get away with it… Maybe not.

As I was saying, the people on this coach mostly seem like nice people. There is a small boy/girl shouting the word “tram!” over and over and over again, but I won’t hold that against them – give me an hour.

The last time I travelled, I was sat next to a man with a tattoo that read “nothing’s more dangerous than a bad boy with charm.” I spent the whole flight trying in vain to read the cruddy type face off of his bloated bicep without looking like I wanted to squeeze it. Obviously I did, I also wanted to ask him why he’d chosen to write such a ridiculous sentence on his arm, but I didn’t want him to punch me.

There’s a guy sat a few rows down from me with one of those bizarre budget David Beckham circa ’02 haircuts. One that’s disjointed and spiky, with a small patch of peroxide blonde on the right side of the head, for some reason. I am glad we live in a country where it’s acceptable for someone to sport that haircut, but I’m confused why someone would choose to. I mean, what inspired this man to ask for it? I can only assume someone asked their mother to give them a David Beckham circa ’02 and their mother slipped and made that instead, and then someone thought it was cool and asked for one, and then someone else thought theirs looked cool and asked for one, and it all spread like a peroxide plague.

This all reminds me of going to the barbers as a child. In my local barbers, the customer communicated what cut they wanted by mentioning a then popular football player’s name. For example: “Alright, Bill? What will it be today, the usual?” “Not today, Brian. Just a Poborsk√Ĺ. Maybe throw in a touch of Beardsley around the sides.” That’s was pretty much the typical customer/barber relationship. These days, however, things are a little different. It’s not just football players now.

The velveteen rabbit - Poborsky!

The velveteen rabbit - Poborsky!

A year or two ago, I was unfortunate enough to recieve “a Weller”. I went into for a trim and worrying I might just receive a Gerrard or an Owen (the same thing really), I told the barber I didn’t want it too short. This proved to be a big mistake. Minutes later I found myself walking home looking like I belonged in a bad, middle-of-the-road, Jam influenced indie band. Needless to say, I let my girlfriend cut my hair now. And when I say girlfriend, I mean I hack away at my hair and hope it grows back soon. Still, at least it’s not “a Weller”.

"A Weller"

"A Weller"

I feel I’ve drifted from the point, although I’m not sure there was one. Time seems to have passed, at least. I guess that’s the point.

Anyway, wish me luck, only another 4 hours left!

2 thoughts on “The National Express

  1. Beckham back to Manchester
    Great news that David Beckham is going back to Manchester United to play against his old club. Personally, I can’t wait to see Becks on the field in an AC Milan shirt scoring a goal against Fergie’s team. Some of the online sports sites listed at say that if Becks plays he will be booed by some, but I think he is still one of the best players England has ever produced.

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