I will admit to a certain tension in the stomach and sweaty palms as I swung the 52 seater coach through the barbed wire topped rusty gates and out onto the dual carriageway. These are big machines. In recent years I must confess that I have hung out with mainly middle class English folk, none of whom hold large vehicle licenses. I do not know anyone socially who can back up an articulated lorry with a 45 foot trailer (I believe that is a rig and semi-trailer for you guys out there). I’m not a tom-boy – it’s just that I had the chance to get the licenses and improve my chances of work a few years ago. Now, I have some lovely middle class friends who are good people and far kinder and sweeter than I am. However, there is a huge gulf between social classes in the UK. AND THE MAIN DIFFERENCE IS MONEY. These days I swan off to the opera, serve foie gras at dinner parties, gabble in a couple of foreign languages, write (and parody) romance fiction and indulge my love of art at any exhibition I want to see. And it is all because there is enough money to give me the resources and time to do it. Left to myself as a bus driver I would be poor and exhausted. I would be buying the out of date stuff at the discount store and maybe dreaming of a take-out pizza as a treat. If you go to the opera or the ballet – take a look around and tell me there that we do not have social,cultural and income apartheid.
Now, why is this? If I need a lawyer he/she will cost me about £200 per hour. By driving a bus I will get £5.93p an hour. You can argue that the lawyer had to do more training and is more intelligent. I can assure you that an incompetent lawyer will kill fewer people than an incompetent heavy goods vehicle driver. It is far from certain that a lot of the professional classes could handle heavy trucks and buses. The fact is that the controlling classes have skewed all of the systems to maximize their own take and to minimize wages for the working classes.The Trades Unions have lost both their power and, equally importantly, have lost their articulacy and leadership. Maybe this is the natural law of the Universe and that the poor will always be with us. And they will always have souls just like the rich.
So, I survived the check run and I start Monday morning. I know it is gonna be a bit of a challenge because I’m rather a soft old posh trollop these days. I’ve spotted a greasy spoon burger caravan on the industrial estate so perhaps I can take one home for Gilles as a special treat. I’m not sure where I’ll be driving or in what vehicle. I’m gonna take Sat Naff as my friend. (I know it sounds daft but Sat Naff really seems like a friend when I feel a bit lost and alone.)
We’ve got some dear friends for dinner tonight – hence all this moules and foie gras discussion. Now that I’ve got a horny handed job and can bang on about the struggle of the proletariat I’ll have to shut up. There’s nothing as tedious as the bloody righteous- particularly when it’s only essentially a posture.(I mean if I didn’t go to work next week there wouldn’t be debt collectors kicking the door).I wouldn’t die on the barricades or go without proper harissa paste or a decent cut of lamb in my authentic tagine dish.
How far away my home seems now. I wonder if there are any late figs and if the neighbours are harvesting them and the apples. As I cycled back through the industrial estate, past the KFC into the swirl of traffic and the fumes of container trucks I had a quick flash back to my other life. A taxi driver gave me the finger for slowing him down in the bus lane. I quickly snapped out of my dream and gave him a gesture concerning his solitary sex life. I’m re-finding my roots.
Still no car. The garage thinks it might be a semi emotional or electrical problem. Gilles keeps telling everyone that it is the torque converter. They say they’ll phone back. They don’t.
Emma thinx: Is wrongeous or lefteous the opposite of righteous?