Friday, 9 July 2010

Day 4 - Friday, 9th July 2010

Wow, I'm actually updating the Blog on the day the journey took place. Either I'm addicted to blogging already or I lead a sad and lonely life where my only diversion is talking to invisible people about my daily commute.

Still, at least I'm not writing it in Elvish. Or Klingon. Yet.

This morning's journey was, again, uneventful. It being Friday and International Dress Down Day (TM) I decided that jeans and a t-shirt coupled with baby pink Chucks would be in order. And why not?

One thing that I've not yet mentioned about the bike part of the journey is that in the morning I travel sort of east south east, as Hornblower might put it. Which means that at 06:45am (what does the "0" stand for? Yep - "Oh my God it's early!" I know, I know. But the old ones really are the best.) Anyway, at 06:45am as I slalom my way along our narrow village street (there is no off road parking in that part of the village and sensible people are still abed with their cars sensibly parked outside) er... stop with the diversions already. As I slalom my way along our village street, between cars which actually start when you turn the ignition key and trundle along nicely, the sun is nicely angled to go over the top of my sunglasses and right into my eyeballs.

I only really wear them in the first place to protect my eyes against little insects and pollen. Usually it works pretty well, if only the sun didn't blind me and render me incapable of seeing most of the parked cars. Usually I bounce from one to another like some human pinball. Thank goodness there's only a few hundred metres of that before I get to what Gruesome #2 calls "the never ending road". Which is, in reality of course, about 700 metres of tarmac between our village and the next.

Actually it's quite a nice stretch of straight, smooth tarmac with hardly any traffic - if I am passed by three cars the whole time I'm on it I would consider that very heavy congestion.

But I'm saving the scintillating description of the bike journey for a slow brain day. Today it's all about the bus stop names. Really I only want to mention two of them, because this afternoon I tried the two bus journey to Mönchengladbach again. Not out of choice.

On Friday we can finish work at 15:15. That's a nice theory and usually most of us are there for a lot longer than that. Last week was a bit horrible, hours wise, so I thought that today if I made sure my PC was all shut down, and my bag ready to go, if I left Extremely Promptly I'd make the 15:17 bus.

I thought wrong, of course, and missed the bus completely. A quick consultation of my oracle, or printed pages from the Deutsche Bahn website, showed me that I could do the short bus, long bus, short train via Mönchengladback combination. A pity since I wanted to be back early-ish to take Gruesome #1 to a party. But never mind. The carless family have to be flexible and show solidarity.

You might recall that this bus combination starts with a short bus journey, followed by a 20 minute wait for the longer journey (and I was really hoping for some more first class entertainment again). However, my first bus arrived one minute early and I managed to get another bus right away. Great.

Not very entertaining though because the only other passengers were a trio of German fifteen-year old girls listening to dire German rap. Really. I usually go to lunch with someone I work with who has a tendency to have really loud metal music on the car hi-fi which makes my ears bleed (yes, Marlies, that's you). But I'll take any amount of that over Dire German Rap. Yuk.

But let's go back to Bus number one because I completely forgot to mention the stops. Usually I give the bus driver a cheery "Guten Tag" as I swish past him waving my season ticket. Sometimes they grunt "tag" back at me, sometimes they just ignore me and often they look like rabbits caught in the headlights. I must consult the Unwritten Rules of Commuting to see if that is a huge Faux Pas. Anyway, today's driver was a grumpy old git who just glared at me as though he'd just brushed all the seats putting pretty patterns in the pile and I was some kind of fiendish interloper who would sit on several of them and ruin his handiwork.

As if.

So, in this opressive atmosphere off we toodled. As it's a short journey I just looked out of the window wondering how annoyed the car drivers were getting at us moving so slowly when the automated announcement for the next stop made me choke on my own saliva.

"Nächste Halt: Donk" (next stop: Donk)

There are a few places round here called Something-donk. Wachtendonk is a particular favourite of mine. Hülsdonk. But Donk on it's own spoke to my inner seven year old and I let out a huge snort of a laugh. Which was cut off in its prime when I caught the fierce glance the driver gave me via the rear-view mirror. Blimey. So when the nächste Halt turned out to be Am Schwarzen Pfuhl (By the Black Puddle) I had to pretend to blow my nose. For about 3 minutes.

I tried to give Lord Volde-driver a cheery "Tchüss" as I stepped off his vehicle but it stuck in my throat and I just settled for a quick nod in his general direction. The stop, Schloß Neersen, is the end of the line for that bus, and the driver whizzes off to a point about 200 metres away and parks up, nose to the road for about 10 minutes before he comes out and does the route in reverse. I was so glad the next bus turned up so quickly because I was really worried what those malevolent eyes might do to me as he drove past.

Luckily the rest of the journey was completely normal, or my poor ol' heart probably wouldn't have coped with the excitement!


GateGipsy said...

More place names! I am loving Donk and By the Black Puddle. Really really loving that second one!

Sho said...

Did I ever mention that I used to live in Waldfeucht? Literal translation: Damp Forest.

GateGipsy said...

ROFL! Was it next to the slightly wet marsh?

Sho said...

I didn't notice one. But it was very close to a Dutch village called Echt. Which in German means real. I always wanted to know if we crossed the border at midnight on the summer solsice (for example) if it tuned into the pretend village...

Feli said...

Stop harrassing the bus drivers by greeting them nicely! That's not the done thing in Germany ;-)

Sho said...

Maybe for you big city folk - for us it seems to be normal to be his best friend and stand chatting to the driver for the whole journey...

Feli said...

"Big city folk"? Just goes to show that it's high time you visited me again...!

Sho said...

haha! but it's stil a sophisticated big city compared to round here!