Coming home from a trip to the impossibly well-organised and lovely Netherlands, I’m immediately irritated by everything I see in Scotland.
Seeking out the correct bus stop at the airport, a man in a high-vis gilet is standing in front of the time tables. “Can I help you sir?”
“Home to Glasgow,” I say, “I just want to know the time.”
He checks his watch and tells me the time.
“No,” I say, “the time the bus arrives.”
He moves aside and jabs at a filthy laminated notice. “55 and 25 past the hour.”
“Thanks,” I say, though all he’d done was get in the way of this information.
There’s ten minutes to wait, so I nip into the M&S for a sandwich. There are no self-service machines so I stand behind an older woman talking to the only server. She’s taking ages because buying a sandwich with a contactless card in an airport terminal requires plenty of chat. Another server walks purposely to a second cash desk, looks directly at me and nods. I go up to her and she says “I can’t serve you at this one because blah-blah-bloopty-bloop” so I turn on my heels and rejoin the “queue,” mindful of the time. She eventually calls me to a third cash desk. She can tell I’m irritated and we conduct the transaction in silence until I break it with a “thank you” she doesn’t respond to.
I eat my sandwich while waiting for the bus but have to leave the queue to bin the packaging. Why is there no bin near to the stance?
A sign at the stance says almost boastfully that the journey will cost £13, which seems expensive. For £24 this week, I travelled by rail for six hours and crossed three international borders from Rotterdam to Luxembourg.
I board, pay, sit and watch the other passengers, many of them tourists or new arrivals, boarding. A young Black guy comes along with his small wheeled case and his phone out.
“Come forward with the bag sir,” says the gilet officiously, indicating the luggage hold. “Put the phone down and bring the luggage forward.”
Put the phone down? I’d have shoved it up his arse. Gammon fuck.
The passenger politely asks about the ticket on his phone. “Ask the driver,” says the gilet, hefting the luggage into the hold even though the passenger doesn’t yet know if his ticket’s good for this bus.
The next passenger is a white Scottish woman who has a ticket, she says, for the Megabus (which isn’t this service and could have cost as little as £4) and the driver lets her board.
A digital screen in front of me reads “please take care on the stairs.” But anyone who can read the message has already passed the stairs.
I glance at the receipt the driver gave me and it says “£14.80,” even more than advertised.
We cruise home through the rain, the driver simultaneously playing loud local pop radio and whistling. Not to the melody but to the lyrics.
Anyone got an EU residency permit they’re not using?