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

Sustainability Assessor

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Sustainability Assessor...

Music Teacher

£110 - £150 per day + Mileage and Expenses: Randstad Education Leeds: We are l...

A Level Chemistry Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Part-time A Level Chemist...

Teaching Assistant

£12000 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Secondary Teaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

August catch-up: second languages, the secret of love and is it all right to call someone stupid?

John Rentoul
High and mighty: Edinburgh Castle and city skyline  

i Editor's Letter: We're coming to Edinburgh

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?