We caught a bus to Goulburn at 6am last Saturday. The bus had come from Adelaide and was on its way to Sydney, so it was full of sleepy backpackers. I had a window seat but the fog was so thick that there wasn't much to look at outside. Instead we listened to the crazy guy three rows behind us.
He'd boarded the bus with us at Canberra. He had spiky brown mullet and a slightly manic grin. He lumbered up the aisle and found his seat.
"G'day!" He stuck out his hand to the guy beside him. There was a strained English-accented "Hello" in response. We hadn't even made it down Northbourne Avenue before the crazy guy launched into his life stories.
"So, September 11, mate. Can you remember where you were when it happened?" He didn't wait for an answer. "I was in Sydney at the shelter, and there was this crazy guy, you know how there's always a crazy guy. He's standing out the front there looking crazy, he's got an eye patch and everything. I go to walk past and he grabs me and he's slobbering and slurring, The world is gunna end mate, two planes just flew into the towers at New York, there's people jumping out and the worlds gone mad! Whatever, mate, I says. No it's true, I saw it on the telly! Go and look!
"I was gunna go look at the telly just to humour him, but they'd already locked the telly away for the night, they lock it away so noone flogs it during the night. Anyway, he kept going on and on about it, he had this little transistor radio and he was trying to find a station, and he was ranting about planes and burning bodies and shit.
"Anyway, he was crazy. You can never trust a bloke with an eye patch. We were gunna call the doctor and have him hauled off to the hospital. But we went to McDonalds instead. I was standing in the queue goin' Haw haw, planes flying into buildings, what a dickhead, when this huge burly guy pokes me in the back and says, Oi, it's not funny, roight? I said Ahh, fuck off!
"But then I notice they've got the telly on and they're showing that footage over and over again. Jeeeesus chroist, it's for real! I said. The big fella looked like he was fully gunna hit me, so I said Sorry mate, I had no bloody idea!"
I rolled my jacket into a ball and leaned it against the window, snuggled in and tried to sleep. But the windows were cold and slick, my jacket kept sliding down the glass and my head went with it, landing on the window frame with a thunk.
"The other day I was reading a study in Readers Digest about men and the pressures we are under today. Did you realise the pressure we're under, as men? So many boys in high schools are toppin' themselves coz they can't handle all the pressures and the expectations. It's okay for girls, you see, noone really cares what they do with their lives. They are not judged like us men are. If a boy wanted to help his mum bake a cake, he just can't, mate. Because of society. The pressure of society. You can't be a real man and bake a fucking cake."
The bus was sleepy and quiet except for the crazy guy's relentless rambling. Sunlight was starting to seep through the fog. Along the side of the road I could see spiderwebs in the trees. That's something you never notice during the day. But in the morning the light is soft and you see thousands of silvery webs, stretched out between the branches.
Across the aisle, an impossibly tall guy reading a German translation of John Grisham book, tried to stretch his legs out between the seats.
"Pythagoras, mate. Do you know about Pythagoras? He's the one that did the triangles. Do you know how he did the triangles? He was looking up at the sky one night, I think it was around 6000 B.C. He was looking up at the stars and he connected the dots in his head to make the triangles. Pretty amazing, yeah?"
I nodded off for a good twenty minutes. Soon we were near Goulburn so my sister nudged me awake.
The crazy guy was still on Pythagoras."So after the triangles, he later went on to make the Pyramids."
"Wasn't Pythagoras a Greek?" asked his bewlidered companion.
"Yeah mate, but he went over to Egypt. With his knowledge of triangles. He helped the Egyptians build their Pyramids."
He was still talking when the bus finally lurched into the service station. We looked up at the Big Merino and wondered if Pythagoras had a hand in that too.