Sunday, 9 January 2011

Sarcasm Is The Lowest Form Of Wit: Even In Yet More Snow

"I suspect the roads are shit, where I am driving to, with all this ice and snow," said the newer driver nervously.

Well what do you say? do you act the old soldier/bus driver, know-it-all and risk frightening the living daylights out of the poor fellow? If honesty was the best policy, then I would have said something like:

"Well yes they are. I would go as far as to advise that you go home to bed and not brave it over the tops. It is so icy that you will slip and slide the whole length of your journey. If you are so fortunate as to miss slamming into a wall or have another skidding motorist, driving too fast, embed their car into your rear end, then go ahead and have a nice day."

Instead, I resisted the urge of being a sarcastic brat and simply said:

"No, not really."

Always in the workplace, particularly in the bus depot, what goes around comes around. So if a driver is sarcastic or mean, give it a couple of weeks and something will befall that driver that will bring him/her down to earth with a bang. This is from the voice of experience. I once laughed at a driver's bad luck when he dented the bus he was driving. Ha, ha, what an imbecile I thought and said so in only slightly politer form. Sure enough, the next day I reversed into a pillar and rightly had to suffer weeks of so called witty comments and snide remarks. No sympathy due there though.

I jumped into the Flying Pig for another hairy drive over England's highest bus route. The road had disappeared in places as the wind had blown the snow onto the tarmac. Thank goodness for the black and white marker poles by the side of the road which gave some indication where you were going.

I feel the same as the newer driver. Nervous. It hasn't really changed since the first day I got behind the wheel of a bus. I feel a little shivery, in anticipation of what I might find on some of the notoriously bad hills and corners. But as soon as I venture onto the road, that all changes and the adrenaline starts flowing. At the end of a run through atrocious conditions, there is a sense of achievement and an inner warm glow of pride.

This is the seventh week that snow has been around. There was another good fall last night. The place is a whiteout again. Roll on the Spring. It's been an awfully long Winter. But the signs are looking good. It is definitely lighter in the mornings. For the first time in weeks, the hint of dawn breaking is noticeable as I drive across the frozen moors to the depot. It is lighter for longer in the evenings too. That means, just January, February, March and part of April to get through before the risk of heavy snow lying on the ground in the North Pennines. Of course it did snow one day in June last year and the old folk tell tales of it snowing in every month of the year.

I'm optimistic. Besides the ice in the bowl of the bus driver's lavatory in the depot is thinner. Even the spider seems reluctant to make his alternative winter short cut to the other side and is creeping around the porcelain on the more usual orbital route. Hope springs eternal.

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