This morning I was loudly berated by a white-haired bus driver, at a guess I’d say he was in his early sixties. “Oi, you!” he called after me as I walked past holding up my season ticket. “Whoa, whoa, whoa – no, no, no – there’s strict regs on that, it’s got to go in the bin!”
I glanced around my person in case I’d inadvertently left the house carrying a sidearm or crossbow, but I then realised that the danger to which he was referring was the tall latte in my left hand. Actually, I’d finished my coffee as the bus arrived and was clutching an empty reusable plastic Starbucks cup. I figured I was just doing my bit for the environment; I didn’t realise my cup was actually a weapon of mass-destruction, capable of spraying boiling-hot litigation across the British public.
“It’s okay, it’s empty, it’s just a reusable cup” I explained. The driver asked, in the patronising manner that a primary school teacher scolds a child, “So you’re saying if you tipped that up no hot drink would come out?” Now – if you know me at all, you’ll appreciate that the best way to antagonise me is to address me as you would a naughty five-year old. I calmly told him I’d finished my coffee, I just didn’t want the dregs dripping in my bag. “BIN!” he said with a raised voice, pointing his finger towards the rubbish bin on the pavement. “No way mate. I bought this, it’s reusable. Coffee shops sell them, you wash them and use them again.” This was clearly something he’d never heard of. I’ll forgive him his confusion, I’m pretty sure Starbucks wasn’t around in the nineteenth century. Believing that I was bullshitting him his blood pressure rose and his face began going rather purple, “It’s still a drink, they don’t come on here!” I started getting angry, “NO, it’s an empty cup, that is NOT the same as a drink, is it?” Sensing that I wasn’t going to back down he took a deep breath and said, “Well, I guess if you say it’s empty I’m just going to have to believe you.” Asshole.
I don’t have any grievances with health and safety at all. It’s good to be safety conscious, it’s good to avoid needless accidents. However – it’s not good to be an unreasonable bastard who enjoys wielding powers you don’t possess, fretting about dangers that simply don’t exist. Yes, I’m sure ‘elf and safety regs’ stipulate that hot drinks aren’t allowed on buses – but really, who actually gives a fuck? I’m responsible for my own actions, and you’re responsible for yours, neither one of is a five-year old running with scissors. I’ll see you again tomorrow you bastard – and I’ll have my bloody big cup with me!