Massively out of it this last while, barely awake, so that is where recent blogging has gone. Here’s a story about today.
Today on the bus I am reading The Tempest
– here is my favourite bit so far: “Hell is empty,/And all the devils are here!” I want to use it for a piece of social justice writing, but there’s no piece that works for it yet. And then there’s this:
Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
I love Shakespeare. I’ve never read The Tempest in full before. I am enjoying myself very much, and thinking how much easier early modern English is than the middle English I’ve been assigned for class lately –
and a man speaks loudly, moves backwards to where I am sitting, and bumps into my arm. And then bumps my elbow with his knee, and stays there. And bump bump bump. Soon I am wondering why he doesn’t move away, there is more space to stand where he could not be leaning into me. He turns and now his bag is on top of me. He moves again and I hunch over, leaning far towards the seat in front of me to avoid it. In the process, I bump the lady next to me. He gets off the bus. I apologise to the lady. ‘It’s not your fault. He was practically sitting on top of you, wasn’t he?’
Another man stands next to my seat. He bumps me. He pushes me forward like the last guy. The lady next to me says, ‘You’re not having a very good day, are you?’ She gets off the bus; ‘enjoy reading The Tempest!’ I wonder why I moved and let those men take up that space where I could have told them what’s what. Or, better, they could have moved aside, not treated me like a piece of furniture, been conscious of the space they take up like women are supposed to do. Why can’t. I just. Just like I can’t stomach asking people to stand up for me.
Hours later, waiting for my last piece of public transport for the day – I’d been on four buses and two trains before that, long day – there are people walking along the train station platform. On one side of me, many are walking along in front of the yellow line, even though there aren’t people in the way behind it. Maybe they like the danger. On the other side of me, people are lined up just behind the yellow line, meaning other people necessarily must walk beyond it to keep going. How selfish, just wanting to get a good seat on the train, risking people’s lives. Remembering now trying to find my ticket on the second bus, spending ages looking around my bag, stumbling around the front of the bus with open bag looking for it, no one says anything or offers to help. I found it where I’d left it as a bookmark in The Tempest, eventually.
Anyway. I am at the train station now, not too much longer before I can get home. ‘Please remain behind the yellow line,’ says the mysterious train station voice, and people keep crossing the boundary. One of the people stops and stands too close to me. He doesn’t seem to realise, or maybe he thinks I should move away so he can get precisely the spot he wants. I don’t think so, buddy. I stand exactly there until the train arrives and I can stare blankly in front of myself for a bit in exhaustion and then get The Tempest out again.