Aucklanditioning

After work I got on the bus. In the worst traffic I have experienced in this city yet I patiently willed the bus onward so I could get home in time to stream the last few overs of the cricket. I’d been following a surprising performance throughout the day on my incredibly useless phone which force closed my browser every few overs. The bus driver skilfully negotiated a traffic jam doing his best in a teeming mess of entangled cars, buses, bikes and j-walkers. A giant child had been left to its own torturous devices in a scale replica lounge of Auckland city and must have disappeared for a nap. It was only a matter of time before it returned to throw a TV remote through a plasma screen. The driver overtook several other 277s and 274s on the same route. This is my guy, I thought. He knows. 

In the back seat was a super-high 20 something year old who’d been partially quarantined by the passengers and managed to keep the entire bench to himself as no-one wanted to sit near the swaying, faltering high dude who’d been banging signs and accosting civilians before getting on the bus, he’d finally put headphones on and quietened down. 

Within a few blocks from my stop there was a thud and I turned to see he’d collapsed on the floor and a lady and a man were looking on quizzically. The two young guys behind me began discussing his prior antisocial behaviour and how it didn’t look like he was getting off the bus until the last stop now. 

He was breathing. After some discussion we decided to try and wake him but instead he started vomiting up yellow chunks of something disagreeable under their seat. I yelled from where I was a few seats up for someone to roll him on his side as he was partially on his back and the ginger young man (both in nature and hair colour) said he was ok, he didn’t see any get in his mouth.

The bus was extremely full, people were filling the congested aisle like toothpaste waiting to be squeezed and at that point the people by the door began getting off the bus as they couldn’t foresee the bus leaving anytime soon after this disturbance. The lady navigated her way through the puzzled onlookers and advised the driver that he needed to call it in.

As I started negotiating my way down to try and get him on to his side myself a large lady pushed past and blocked up the aisle. I thought, “great she must be a nurse or something”, instead she started praying over him. I screamed from inside to myself “that’s not going to do any good fucking turn him on his side” but I just couldn’t override my social conditioning and allow the words to spill out of me. I scrounged under the seats to try and see what was going on and I couldn’t see round her giant ass.

I gave up and pushed my way down to talk to the driver who was talking on the phone saying “there’s a drunk guy or something”. The meerkats looked on troubled but not sure if they should scrabble to their warrens. I wished the young boys luck and exited the bus in exasperation leaving it for the born again to deal with and faded back into anonymity in a city the smell of it. Swallowing the guilt with one final apathetic glance over my shoulder I strode the final blocks home reflecting and processing. As I checked my phone and the ball-by-ball commentary called stumps for the day I wondered……  ’My God man! Is this adaptation?’