I have been 'bussing' to my massage course each week and I have to admit the last time I sat on a bus there were no mobile phones, ipods, or even air conditioning. (yes, I admit it, I'm ancient!)
How time has changed bus travel. I remember buses being happy, noisy places where you rarely sat alone and there was always someone new to talk to. It was like being in a portable community full of smiling happy people - and no, I never travelled on a commuters bus, so I do realise they may have been a tad more formal.
Buses now are quite different now, almost sterile areas where travellers plug in their earphones, send texts, check emails or update their facebook status on their mobiles. If anyone does talk, they speak softly as if its illegal to make noise. All you can hear is the scratching sound of loud music through earphones and the mobile keypad tones of those who don't know how to adjust their settings to stop it. With all those people 'plugged in' or trying not to make eye contact I guess no one makes conversations with random strangers anymore. What wonderful experiences and opportunities we must miss out on in our insular society. I mourned the loss of social interaction and came to the conclusion that change wasn't such a great thing after all.
...and then I saw it.... The sign at the front of the bus.... 'For the comfort & health of your fellow passengers, smoking is prohibited on this bus, as is the consumption of food or drink.'
Hmmm...and then the reality of the good old days came to me....
Travelling in a bus thick with smoke, especially in winter, with the windows closed, was horrific. The floor littered with cigarette butts and ash and rubbish, well that hadn't been much fun either. What about the chewing gum that inevitably stuck to our shoes, making squelchy noises as we stepped off the bus? The windows you didn't want your kids to touch, because you weren't really sure what that was smeared all over them. Or worse still, the time I wore my new skirt, prepared to dazzle the world and instead wore smudged ice cream from off my seat for the rest of the day......(don't even ask what colour it was!)
Ahh, maybe change isn't so bad after all, I sighed as I looked around at the scrupulously keen seats, windows and floors, it's just that sometimes our perception and the reality don't always live in the same place.
Yes, I feel the past is definitely best viewed through a rear view mirror where the good old days appear much bigger and brighter than they really were!