Confessions of a Bus Driver (part one)
On arrival at the bus stop in the town centre on a busy saturday afternoon, I observed around 30 passengers awaiting my arrival to drive them to their destinations. Each of them flustered and eagerly wanting to get home.
The first passenger to board was an elderly woman easily 80 years old. She looked worn out, bless her, and I noticed tears in her eyes. I wasn't sure if she was upset, suffered from an eye problem or it was due to the brisk south westerly wind but judging by her expression I surmised it to be the former.
"What's the matter, sweetheart"? I asked, "Are you alright"?
"No love, not really, I can't remember where I live"! she exclaimed.
Baring witness to my grandfathers suffering I recognized the early signs of alzheimer's disease and immediately felt deep compassion towards the old dear.
"Take a seat behind my cab love and I will sort you in a moment" I said.
The people behind her in the queue and the added stress coupled with her not wanting to burden anybody or hold them up was not easing the situation, so I took her out of harms way and duly loaded the rest of the passengers. Only when they were seated I got out of the cab and strolled down the bus to find her.
She was as I had advised seated behind my cab and staring forlorn out the window. She looked up at me.
Due to the unusual sight of a driver leaving his post, the passengers stopped talking as I asked her, "Can you remember where you live now sweetheart"?
"I did have it just now" she said " but the names gone again"!
"Can you make a steak and kidney pie"? I asked.
She looked at me, probably thinking I had worse mental problems than her current predicament but answered "Yes, of course"!
"What, a really good one"? I persisted.
"Yeah, bloody sure I can" she laughed.
"That's alright then love" I said "You can come home with me"!
Several passengers laughed and the old dear roared and suddenly stopped laughing and exclaimed "Pennine Way"! "I live in Pennine Way".
Being a "full grown" chap, I am unsure whether the thought of having to feed me shocked her brain into desperation and kick started the old grey cells into working again or what but think perhaps that a little careful thought, kindness and giving her time to think was enough to help ease her trauma.
Sadly, I did see this old lady again several months later and asked her if she remembered me, reminding her of the steak and kidney pie but alas alzheimers had taken hold of her frail mind and she gave me that same expression from months before when I first questioned her culinary expertise. So I just smiled and apologized, blaming myself for confusing her with somebody else. I never made a mistake, not only do I not forget a face, I knew where she would be getting off.