this is part of as days pass by, by Stuart Langridge

Any man who rides a bus to work after the age of 26 can count himself a failure in life
Margaret Thatcher

So, in the context of the above quotation, guess how old I am?

And, go on, go on, you'll never get it, how do I get to work?

I keep telling myself, what do I care about what Maggie Thatcher thought? I mean, despite the fact that there are people out there who would disagree with this, I'm not as far to the right as the Iron Lady. I'm not one of her admirers. No doubt she said other things that I'd disagree with, like, ooh, "let's shut down all the coal mines." Or, "let's take free school milk away." But that's not the point.

I mean, it's not even as if I take the bus because I have to. I could drive. But I choose not to. For what I think are reasonably sensible reasons. It means that I don't have to walk for fiteen minutes from the car park to work. (Although I have to walk for ten from home to the bus station.) It means that I can fall asleep without dying, and falling asleep is something I do a lot in the mornings, given that I'm rarely in bed before 2am and I'm up again at 7.30.

So why am I becoming more and more convinced that she's right? What am I doing wrong? Buses are not a very pleasant thing; they're not very comfortable, every single day I get annoyed that they don't give change (I always have the right change, for precisely that reason, but it's still one more pernicious way to rip off the consumer. And they have the bloody gall to claim that it's for my own good, too!); half of my bus rides end with me having a wet arm because the windows leak rainwater onto my coat. Sometimes I get to stand up all the way home. Sometimes I have to stand in the miserable, pouring, freezing rain for half an hour to wait for a bus. But all these things are not why I'm a failure for doing it. Maggie was right. Buses are the way that plebs get around. I shouldn't think like this. Firstly because it's not true, secondly because I shouldn't divide the world into the good people and the riff-raff, and thirdly because I shouldn't automatically qualify myself as not riff-raff. But I do. And so did Margaret Thatcher.

Maybe I've got more in common with her than I thought.

© Aquarius, March 2002