Ding Ding, round one, the bus.
I’ve never been a fan of public transport, especially not the bus anyway. I grew up in the English countryside. You could wait an hour for a bus, but it still wouldn’t be going where you wanted to go. So I learnt to drive within 6 months of my 17th birthday, when I first got my provisional license. (In the UK you can practise under supervision, at the age of 17. When you pass both your theory and practical test you upgrade to a Full driver’s licence.) But sometimes it can be unavoidable in large towns and cities, and you need public transport.
The problem with the bus is you have to recognise your stop, and then try to navigate from where you got dropped off, to your destination.
When you have a brain injury both of those key actions can be an utter nightmare. And what if you miss your stop, then how to you work your way back? Or what if due to road works the bus takes a different route form it’s usual journey. That’s really confusing! No I’m sorry, for me the bus is not a good option.
Ding ding, round two, trains.
Each destination is kind enough to tell you it’s name and you can count how many stops away it is to where you need to get off. So for me that’s a step up from the bus. But you still have that awkward moment when the train is packed, your balance is rubbish at the best of times so you need to sit down, but a rather passive aggressive looking person has their bag on the only available seat. Then you have to ask, “Can I sit there please?” to make them reluctantly move it like they’ve just done you a favour. This is supposed to be public transport, not bag transport.
If I had a walking stick or crutch, I probably would get a better response, but just because I can walk, their bag is more important than me. GRRRRR!!! And then I’m angry and feeling awkward, and my emotions are going mental making my head spin.
Ding ding, round three, underground train.
In London you know if you get the tube, you are going to have to stand with your nose wedged in some smelly blokes arm pit as he braises himself whilst stood in the aisle. That is almost a given, but even if you can get over that (which is a challenge at the best on times) there’s all the nonsense that happens even before you get to that delicious icing of the cake.
There’s platforms that you have to walk miles to get to (OK that’s an exaggeration) , and it’s so hot down there. It might be freezing outside, but the heat in the tunnels hits you as you make your way down. Not great when you struggle to control your temperature at the best of times. And everyone is so focused on getting where they want to go, they just knock you over. (Sending me flying isn’t the sort of public transport I am looking for.)
One day a elderly lady tripped and fell at the end of an escalator and if it hadn’t been for my partner James holding the crowds back, she would have been crushed.
This rant could go on but I have to go and DRIVE to the other side of the country to see my Dad. It will take 2.5 – 3 hours, but that would more like 4 hours on public transport. Life’s too short for that.