I caught the Orgasmatron to work today. The #12 route is served by only the oldest, noisiest, rattling heap of shit buses. The brakes wheeze and the windows shudder, the seats are cracked and creaky. But after awhile you discover the mechanical shortcomings of these vehicles can lead to a most exquisite side-effect. Especially when one sits on the lower deck during peak-hour, ideally on a Friday afternoon when the bus has to wait at traffic lights for long periods, rumble rumble rumbling. Soon enough you're praying for a three car pile-up so you'll be stuck at this spot for just a little… bit… longer!
But no time for cheap thrills today, this was Friday morning and I was running late. I sat upstairs and squinted into shop windows as the bus inched along. There's squillions of charity shops in Edinburgh, and they all seem to have a copy of Naomi Campbell's Swan on their bookstands.
I worry about the little shops. I look at the dinky hairdresser with photos of Duran Duran-esque hairdos on the wall and wonder just who's going get their hair cut there? And the empty fishmonger, what's going happen to all that unsold fish? Does anyone ever go into that tiny cafe? I've kept a concerned eye on a little gift shop for the past six months. I've never seen a single customer in that whole time. What will become of the gift shop guy? Even if we could get one person to buy one card per hour, how's he going to live off that?
Sometimes you see people preparing to open a new business. They're proud and optimistic as they watch a dude on a ladder paint the shop name above the window. I fret about how much money they've sunk into this, if they'll get any customers. It's depressing near my house — first the ice cream place closed down, then the framing shop, the scooter shop and now the shoe shop that only opened six months ago. If the bagpipe shop goes next I will cry!
The #12 wobbled to a halt near a funeral parlour. Dozens of squealing school kids piled on. I watched a lady swatting a display of headstones with a feather duster. She looked around the shop and checked her watch, then she must have sighed heavily because her bangs drifted up and down. She came to the front of the shop and leaned against the door frame, lips pursed tightly.
Imagine having your livelihood dependent on someone elses deadlihood. She looked so anxious, twirling the duster in her hands, waiting for someone to kick the bucket. It wasn't exactly the biggest or fanciest funeral joint I'd seen, I hope she made enough to get by.
I considered getting up and shoving one of the kiddies down the stairs to boost her profits, but I was just getting comfy in my seat.