Obviously there was a distinct lack of a post yesterday, but the fault this time lies at the door of WordPress, who were having a bit of a Fail Whale moment yesterday and were in Read-Only mode until well past midnight, foiling my Lenten good intentions.
So, the intention for yesterday was to answer the Daily Post question: what’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you on public transport?
I felt this was a good one for me to answer, since I am a bit of a public transport nut, spending great chunks of my life on buses, trains and planes. However, as it happens, aside from the slightly odd recent incident with the man with the prawns, generally my public transport experiences have been decidedly un-odd of late.
Clearly this calls for a hark back to life in South Africa.
Jo’burg is probably not famed for it’s excellent transport system. There are taxis – which are somewhat confusing (I never even slightly understood the hand-signal system) and a little scary (particularly those being held together with tape and string) – and there are buses, which are irregular, and during my time in the city were on strike more often than not. So I mostly relied on the kindness of friends with cars, or the power of my own two legs.
Nevertheless, I did get the bus sometimes, and have two instances of weirdness to share, both of which happened at the bus stop outside of Wits Uni:
1. The tale of the homeless man who wanted a shower.
I chatted to a homeless man from Zimbabwe (although it’s perhaps more accurate to say that he chatted to me). He explained that he’d been in South Africa for a while, and much preferred being homeless in Cape Town and Durban to Jozi, because it had been much easier to get a shower where there was a beach. I gave him some money (mostly in the hope that he would leave me and move on to talk to others) but whilst he did go visiting other people who were waiting, he always found his way back to me. Eventually the bus arrived and he followed me on board, trying to persuade me to pay his fare and bring him home with me. Unsurprisingly, I said no.
2. The mugging that wasn’t.
A man approached me whilst I was waiting for the bus, and after assuring me that he had no desire to kill me, asked for my phone. I asked if I would be allowed to keep the SIM (since I really didn’t want to deal with the hassle of having no numbers) and he, amiable criminal that he was, agreed that I could. I took my phone out to remove the SIM, and on recognising my phone as the most basic model available (worth about £15 and generally fairly rubbish) informed me that in fact he didn’t want my phone after all, and would prefer cash. I, offended by the thought that a thief considered my possessions too rubbish to steal, said no, and whilst in hindsight that probably wasn’t the most sensible approach to take with a man who may or may not have had a knife, apparently it worked out well enough. He wandered away, bamboozled by my unwillingness to play ball, and I was left, still possessing my rubbish phone (and the £100-worth of cash I happened to have on me at the time).
March 22nd reading: Romans 4-6
Ch.4: Abraham was justified by God years and years before he was circumcised. Circumcision was a sign of the covenant, not the thing that made him right with the LORD.
Ch.5: While we were weak, ungodly enemies, God saved us, so now we’re his friends we can be confident that he’ll keep us.
Ch.6: Sin has ‘no dominion’ over us! I heart Uncle John’s explanation of how v.11 (‘You also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.’) works:
“‘Don’t you know these things? Don’t you know who you are?’ We must go on pressing ourselves with such questions, until we reply to ourselves: ‘Yes I do know who I am, a new person in Christ, and by the grace of God I shall live accordingly.'” – ‘The Message of Romans’ by John Stott (IVP)
In summary: appreciating the scarcity of weird stories from public transport in the UK.