Rhodri Marsden: A backseat bus driver and the meek authority of a saggy trouser

Life on Marsden

Share

There was an altercation on the 131 bus the other night that was mildly interesting, although ultimately you'll be the judge of that. A man, deep in conversation on his mobile, sauntered on to the bus and held up his hand to the driver. God knows how the driver was meant to interpret this; it transpired that the gesture meant "do not drive this bus away", but bus drivers don't usually pay attention to backseat drivers – not least because there are often 50 or more of us. Consensus is a bad way to operate a bus route. The deal we make, in return for our fare, is that the bus driver will drive and we'll sit obediently. But this chap wasn't yet ready to be transported to Kingston bus depot.

The driver pulled out regardless, the man's hand still raised in a "halt" gesture as he yammered into his phone about cars, or girls, or toolbelts, or whatever it is men talk about. He looked at the driver with incredulity, his hand still in the air. "Er, what are you doing?" he asked the driver, who kept driving. "Hello?" he continued. "Did I say you could go?" The driver said nothing, so the guy turned to operate the emergency exit, at which point we braked sharply. "I say when you can go," he said, as the doors opened and he swaggered off into the night. This would have been an prime example of alpha-male braggadocio, but his waistband was 6in above his knees and I could see his underwear.

Much has been written about the fashion of "sagging"; those who don't have sagging trousers think it's ridiculous, those who do believe it's symbolic of some kind of hard-won freedom – in this case, presumably, from the tyranny of the 131 bus driver. I try not to judge – after all, I walk around wearing a trilby and plimsolls, which in many ways is equally absurd. But there's no doubt that people being able to see your pants undermines your authority. In addition, your exit from scenes of confrontation will lack the intended drama if your stride can only extend to 65cm because of a restrictive waistband.

"Your trousers are falling down," I mumbled, making sure he was out of earshot, because while visible underwear might stop someone from looking authoritative, it doesn't stop them from punching you in the face.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

1st Line Service Desk Analyst

£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Norovirus the food poisoning bug that causes violent stomach flu  

A flu pandemic could decide next year’s election

Matthew Norman
J. Jayalalithaa gestures to her party supporters while standing on the balcony of her residence in Chennai. Former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is one of India's most colourful and controversial politicians  

The jailing of former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is a drama even Bollywood couldn’t produce

Andrew Buncombe
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy