We all love the bus - it's the nation's favourite mode of transport/24-hour stabbing-wagon.
But the bus is more than just a mobile day-care centre for young offenders and the mildly psychotic. It's where the community comes together every day, in a spirit of mutual resentment, anxiety and barely-restrained violence.
So what will you find, the next time that you get on the number 37? Who will be waiting to greet you with a friendly smile and a belligerent demeanour?
See below for a cheering festive list of the chummy characters that can be found on any bus, anywhere in the country, on any given day:
- Helpful young man offering advice to driver on how to speed up the journey, by shouting "Fuck's sake, man!" and "Fucking come on!" whenever bus stops at a traffic light;
- Sharp-elbowed pensioners shoving their way to the front of the bus queue, daring anyone to comment;
- Gentleman being either friendly in a very aggressive way, or aggressive in a very friendly way;
- Disinterested mother gazing vacantly out of window while unattended toddler throws screeching, 15-minute tantrum;
- Driver's state of not-giving-a-shit now so elevated, he's stopped so much as braking for pedestrian crossings;
- Woman entertaining entire deck of passengers with loud phone conversation, listing dietary preferences, personal grudges, alcohol-fuelled misunderstandings and graphically-detailed sexual anecdotes;
- Young offender repeatedly misidentifying driver's race, religion and nationality during heated conversation;
- Furiously angry young man punching driver's booth window, demanding to be let off bus into path of speeding cars;
- Delightful young debutante informing friends of the love rivals that she would like to stab;
- Sinister, muttering gentleman shifting further and further across the seat towards you with hand thrust very deep into pocket;
- Woman trying just to read book in peace, for Christ's sake, while self-styled comic genius regales her with unsolicited tales of whimsy and derring-do;
- Students staring determinedly at iPhones while very drunk man aggressively wishes them a "merry fucking Christmas".