I don’t like to confirm the negative stereotypes about Glasgow and Glaswegians, but sometimes while travelling on the local busses I encounter people who live up to that image. Glasgow and the surrounding area has a good network of bus, underground and train lines, so for getting to work and while out and about visiting clients and attending meetings I tend to use public transport rather than drive. It also avoids sitting in traffic, parking fees and allows me to do some work on the move. And it lets me meet lots of people who have very colourful and interesting lives. My colleagues and I often joke that we could write a book, certainly I imagine that the writers of Chewin’ The Fat spent a lot of time on Glasgow busses cos there’s a wealth of material out there. Until I get a book deal or commissioned by the BBC to write their next sketch show I’ll make do with recounting some tales here.
The best place to see this spectacle of human existance is the Monday morning court run. All the people who have been picked up by the police over the weekend and are travelling in to make their appearance in court. A while back I was sitting opposite one guy who was speaking on the phone to his Social Worker, explaining a dilemma he had:
“I’ve been summoned to appear in court in Manchester, but I can’t go, I don’t think I can face it, it’s all too much”
Pause while Social Worker speaks….
“I can’t afford the train fare, I’ve got no-where to stay, I’ll have to sleep on the streets, and it’s all gonna be too stressful, I can’t do it”
“No, there’s no way, I can’t go through with it. The only way I could do it is if I take loads of drugs first. But I’ve got no money for drugs. I’ll have to find a way to get some drugs”
“No, that’ll never work, the only way is if I take loads of drugs. Or maybe I’ll just kill myself, that’ll be easier, then I won’t have to go.”
“No, that’s the only way, I’ll just kill myself, then it’ll all be over”
“Yes, you’re right. I’ll go into rehab. I’ll get clean. No more drugs for me. No more booze either. It’s the only way. I’ll get clean, I’ll go to Manchester and I’ll impress the court and it’ll all be fine. That’s the only way. I’m gonna go into rehab and sort my life out.”
He hangs up.
Now either the man habitually goes through such extremes of position, or he has the best social worker in the world. To go from wanting to end it all to commiting to a life of purity within the space of a bus ride from Clydebank to Glasgow is a turnaround indeed.
I love Glasgow.