- GO BACK TO CHINA
said an old man on the bus today, his eyes glittering.
The only time I've been to China was changing planes: Osaka, Beijing, Beijing, London.
- Osaka? Okay, GO BACK TO JAPAN.
Although I lived in Japan, I'm not Japanese. Please don't feel you have to sit any closer, but I'm actually Caucasian, which is why I look so confused right now.
- We're on the bus in LA. Everyone's confused. Where do you come from?
Are you demanding zat I show you my papers? I did just move here from Germany. But I'm British.
- What are you, some kind of international hobo?
When I met my husband, a decade ago, he won my heart by declaring his ambition to be a bearded drifter. Mind you, at the time he was clean-shaven, I was very drunk, and we were in the university bar.
- So the pair of you wander the world with your life in a bindle?
We've pared it down to ten boxes, two large suitcases, and wearing all our clothes to the airport. Oh, and a couple of crates marked LIVE ANIMAL.
- How the hell did you get into the USA?
We had visas. My husband, Dr Strangename, is an academic.
- But you don't have a work permit?
Not yet. My current visa authorizes me to be here for ornamental purposes only.
- Are you a rich housewife of Beverly Hills?
Yes. I just enjoy taking the bus with lunatics.
No. We don't have enough money for a car, and we don't live in Beverly Hills. We live close enough to the 405 Freeway that the back wall of our bedroom vibrates.
- So what do you do all day?
Ride the Blue Bus, ponder what to microwave for dinner, and pretend that I'm only pretending to be a housewife.
- And who is Ped Xing? Sure sounds Chinese to me.
Ped Xing is invisible to the populace of Los Angeles, judging by the number of times she's nearly been mown down by Escalades turning right on a red light. In her mission to traverse the City of Angels safely and at a reasonable cost, she becomes... the Blue Busrider.
- I wish I'd never started this conversation now.
I'm sorry. Please go back to clipping your toenails and shouting about the albatross.