Trying to get to work these days is getting progressively more repulsive and terrifying. Waiting at a bus stop’s like a scratchcard – only, you’ve a far better chance of winning when the odds are only a million or so to one against you.
Essentially, while I still have a job, I have a couple of choices facing me: either I leave with plenty of time to get to work (and arrive half an hour late), or I leave thirty-to-sixty minutes earlier. Either way, I have to spend a lengthy period of time sitting like Robinson fucking Crusoe at the brand new Halbeath park ‘n’ ride.
Halbeath park ‘n’ ride is truly one of the seven wonders of Fife. Quaint tearooms, second hand bookshops and some of the finest restaurants known to man. By night, the sky is ablaze with the most expensive laser lightshow in Scotland awhile top European DJs vie for the attention of the swarms of tourists from all over the globe. I’ve personally had the best sex in my life in a few of the many cheap ‘n’ cheerful hotels dotted around the area.
The above, as regular visitors to this top-flight entertainment complex will know, refers to a parallel universe. One where I’m not stuck in the middle of nowhere, day after day, praying a bus will one day come for me – and burning leaves and newspaper as I attempt to keep myself above the ambient temperature.
In the reality you and I inhabit, Halbeath park ‘n’ ride is a bit like Las Vegas – as it was before Moe Green turned it from an army truck stop into something the Corleone family might want.
Stagecoach East Scotland have managed to perfect a timetable that works on the principle that the bus you need to complete your journey should *just* be leaving as you pull in. They’re not perfect and on occasion, I’ve been obliged to dart from one bus straight into the maw of another and complete my journey home without a Ballardian imprisonment in concrete nothingness. But the service is so good that this is a problem I’m rarely faced with.
The entertainment consists of a snacks machine and a television, hard-wired to mind-crushing rubbish, presented by people no jury on earth would convict someone for killing. There are staff on hand, but they are, as I’ve learned, purely for decoration.
Bored? Then why not sit below the overhead board, where your bus will slowly move up the list until it winks out, never to be seen again. When pressed, the staff will insist it never existed, that perhaps wolves have carried it off and that Eurasia are our friends and we have always been at war with Oceana.
Coming home after a day at the coalface, while exhausted, rather than staring into the face of unemployment, sanctions and extinction, feels equally like not actually moving.
Sitting (if you can call it that) on their so-called chairs, eyes buried in a book and with my headphones on, for long periods, dreaming of my bed and the warmth of a human hand. It’s enough to make you misty-eyed. Or to go on a killing spree.
Still, I suppose this is what I get for living indoors AND trying to have a job.

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