Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I Won't Stand for It

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I Won't Stand for It

Article excerpt

Byline: gary BAINBRIDGE One man's struggle with the 21st century Follow Gary on Twitter: @Gary_Bainbridge or email him at

T WAS relatively early in the new year that I broke my resolution to be more tolerant of my fellow human beings.

It is unfair to say that I broke the resolution. If anything it was my fellow human beings who left it strewn over my carpet, like so many Christmas tree needles.

It began, as so many stories do, at a bus shelter. Some consider bus shelters to be unrelentingly grim places, populated by miserable people who wish they had their own cars and were not at the mercy of lightly-regulated bus operators. But they are actually far worse than that.

There was just one man at the bus shelter when I arrived. The wind and rain had laughed at my umbrella during the short walk from my home to the bus stop.

"Oh, you think that will stop us?" they had said, as they saturated my coat right through to my suit and beyond, testing even the waterproof qualities of my skin. I had not merely been soaked by rain, I had in many ways become rain.

Only the very top of my head had remained dry, like the roof of one of those submerged cars we saw during the recent floods.

It is a measure of how thoroughly miserable my situation was that I was looking forward to sitting on a bus and feeling a blast of air warm enough to cook a rare steak up my left trouser leg. But when was it coming? I did not know, because Bus Shelter Man was standing in front of the timetable, looking at his phone and with earphones in, the hiss-hiss-hiss of a song somehow audible over the sound of the rain battering the roof.

I started at level one: staring at him, the international signal for "Move away from the timetable, you clot", but he could not see me because he was looking at his phone.

I moved up to level two: saying, "Excuse me, could I just...?" But he could not hear me because he was listening to his phone. It was entirely possible he had no idea I was there.

I moved up to level three: standing right in front of his face. He jumped a little. …

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