Names and Places

Sometimes the smallest things make me content. I don’t know why, I can’t explain it.  It’s Friday morning here, about 11am and I just got home from uni. I stayed in class a little longer because the rest of the students have further classes, but it’s always good to hang around and get extra help. Help sought, I had forgotten my power adapter, hadn’t had a chance to have breakfast and (still do) needed sleep. Leaving the main building, James Graham Building, the fresh winter air hit me. It’s not quite cold here yet; for those at home it would be so but I think I’m adjusting to these temperatures. It’s about 5 degrees at the moment, not quite cold enough for snow but I’d be happy to sacrifice a few degrees for some fluffy white ice.  Making my way over to the bus stop, which is just next to the building, one bus driver pulls up and lets students off. This bus driver is Alan. He’s got white hair and almost resembles a better looking Steve Martin; rounder face, friendly smile.  I ask if he’s going “home” (back to the Brewery) or just dropping off.

These details seem insignificant to write about but I want to remember this happy feeling, I really appreciate getting to know people and people being consistent in my life.  He informs me it’s time for his break but the bus waiting a couple of hundred meters back will be ready to pick up in a few minutes. I have seen him in the cafeteria before, as you would expect, just grabbing lunch. It’s funny seeing people out of context sometimes, like seeing a teacher out of school. The bus drivers are good friends because well, they’re usually the only two who do our run. I waited around listening to the wind howl for a bit while a few other buses approached and left before mine pulled up. I hadn’t known this man’s name yet, though he is the most talkative usually of the two. He’s possibly a little older, with short brown hair, crooked teeth and such a friendly manner.  He’s always joking to the students, being smart with them but always lovely.  I was the only one to hop on the bus, as there’s one every 40 minutes and it was only 10 to 11 in the morning; I don’t imagine many students actually do go home then unless you’re lucky enough (like me) to finish early. I had a little chat when I got on as we waited to see if there were more people approaching, about when the buses were running over Christmas (they stop same time uni does and resume again, 3 weeks later when uni does) and as I said “Oh good, you do come back!” he adds “Of course! Got to see you don’t I?” (classic example of his comments). I go on to tell him that I leave Kirkstall on the 23rd of January and how fast these few months have gone. He asked, jokingly, to come to Australia too haha. I added well yes it’s warmer that’s for sure. We then left and before leaving campus collected another lady.

This is what I find quite endearing about our bus drivers, even when you’re running late and trying to catch up to the bus, they won’t just drive by and ignore you. They won’t leave you behind, they’ll (usually) stop anywhere just for any one of us! Often, if on my way home at about 1:30pm on Wednesday’s, Alan will ask if I need to get dropped off at Morrisons (grocery store about 7 minute walk down the road). The bus doesn’t go directly past it, but if I ask, if anyone asks, they will take the slight detour to drop us as close as possible. Simple tiny things that I don’t know if other people bother to appreciate. As we arrived home twenty minutes later, I had planned in my head what I had to ask the other bus driver. “What’s your name?” “Pete.” “Pete?” (just to clarify I heard properly through his accent :P) He nods and I add that I had overheard that the other man was Alan, and he confirmed that. I wished him a good weekend and was on my way, as he made his way around the complex to in turn pick up more people waiting in our complex to go to uni.
There’s something special about things like that. You might think it’s ridiculous I read so much into simple things. It’s every day things that I really have learned to value. I haven’t had the same bus drivers since school, and even then some of them weren’t very nice.  I had Jim, in Primary School, from when I was about 5 to 10 years old. I have such memories of him, and actually I think he was Scottish… wait… I think? Anyway he was always joking and being smart with us, and everyone loved him. Now, at home going to uni it’s the Brisbane Transport drivers. It’s never the same drivers, and half the time they really don’t care. Over here though a lot of people don’t say thank you when getting off public transport. Students seem to do so to our drivers sometimes, but on public no. We always do at home, I’m sure we all do it. Different I guess here. I remember when I was going to Woolloongabba once at the end of last year.  It’s a 15 minute bus journey but took a lot longer, I think the cricket was on and it was madness in traffic. I ended up chatting to the driver as my stop was approaching, albeit slowly, and I remembered him. Not what we said, just that he was young, with shoulder length red hair, and was quite friendly. He wore a cap too, both times I saw him. Why I remember little things who knows.  Then about 3 months later I was catching the bus to Jess’ house, which is an entirely different route, different bus stops, everything. There was that man again.  That’s the only time I have ever seen a bus driver twice in Brisbane on public transport.

My Dad’s name is Peter. First thought that struck my mind when our bus driver, who I now know as Pete, told me his name. Even now every time I write Pete I have to correct myself as I type Peter to naturally. I think he was a little bit curious as to why the hell I wanted to know his name but honestly, it’s probably just for the memory.

And now I know their names, I’m going to make them a Christmas card.

Time for a nap, though I’ll probably Skype Mum & Dad first… They’re online now haha.
Love, Rach.xo


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