Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Bus to Bromley

Despite the plexiglass wall and roof, the bus stop "shelter" was windswept and seemed to preserve the damp cold.  It seeped through each of the four layers of clothing I was wearing as I waited, uncertain if I was on the right side of the street to catch the #358 to Bromley.  With cars parked on both sides of the road pointed both ways, it was confusing.  Perhap my indecision was due to fatigue from last night's short episodes of sleep, interupted by "commercials" formed by questions such as, "Where am I?  What time is it?  Shouldn't I be somewhere soon?"  Even at noon, today seemed to start too soon.  Maybe the cold had something to do with the cognitive lethargy.

It was after a brisk and, thankfully, short walk for two cafe au laits from the cornerr 'Cucina de Cafe' that I realized I had seriously over-estimated the warmth of southern England in late March.  It was warmer at home in Canada, the supposed "Frozen North".  So when the time came to take the bus to Bromley to pick up the things 'we' had forgotten (items not to be mentioned here for fear of retribution) I bundled up as best I could.  I could have used a parka.  I looked as out of place among the other Sunday shoppers as a Speedo-clad swimmer at an icefishing contest.  The bus was late.  And by the time I boarded my teeth were chattering and my walk resembled the admittedly hungover man ahead of me.  His excuse he had told me was running out of Foster's last night and being foced to imbibe White Lightning, or something that sounded like that, only slurred.  My excuse remained unnamed, thinking that despite Dr. Parkinson being British, the disease with his name seemed strangely foreign in his homeland. 

The bus driver reasured me of the correctness of my choice of direction and I sat down next to the other shaky bus rider ahead of me.  He asked lots of questions, but had some difficulty answering mine like, "Where do I get off for shops that sell _________?"  I guessed instead and found myself near an appropriate array of stores. Ducking into one I soon found the missing bits "we" left behind at home and went searching for the bus stop to wait with a long line of Sunday #358 bus riders headed home.

The trip, door-to-door, took 3 hours.  15 minutes to shop, 30 minutes total on the bus, and over two hours wondering whether people with Parkinson's all drive cars to avoid the amplification of tremours due to the cold weather zones surrounding bus stops.

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