To be scrupulously fair, only half my local trams are shit. The other half are like shiny, silver visitors from the future with a semi-reliable timetable and only a light, mysterious scattering of sunflower seed shells on the floor every time I get on one. But the shit ones, my god, they are sent to smite us, like wheeled scorpions. Lurching, rickety yellow wagons of death, they appear randomly every half hour or so with cavalier disregard for the "timetable". I hate how they're always packed. I hate how they smell. I hate the way, when the traffic is heavy, the drivers delight in accelerating, then braking really heavily, causing my peri-arthritic ankles to buckle, throwing me onto the nearest tramp or supercilious teenage girl. I have become a tram mutterer, fulminating into my sleeve about Youth of Today and the like.
Today, in a beautifully farcical turn of Brussels events, my tram caught fire. It was one of the old, crap ones, decorated in green with the logo of the tram museum to make it look even crapper and older. I had to wait about a half an hour for it to finally show up, packed to the gills with demob happy teenagers celebrating the start of half term. Which was all bad enough, but then the bloody thing caught fire. FIRE, I tell you. I confess I didn't notice, I was too busy glaring at the teenagers like the bitter, furious pensioner I have become. Nor did anyone else, until the back half of it filled up with acrid black smoke.
The teenagers tried to tell the driver.
"Euh, monsieur, monsieur?"
He didn't even look round.
"Monsieur? Le tram? Ca fume".
Stony, eyes forward. A nattily executed sadistic accelerate/brake combo.
"Serieusement, monsieur, il y a de la fumée, là"
Eventually, the doors decided to open by themselves (they had been doing this on and off for ten minutes, which perhaps should have alerted me to the imminent peril) and we all escaped, then stood on the pavement admiring the giant billowing clouds of acrid tram smoke: a combination of rubber, greasy tram seat fabric coated with tramp effluvia, smouldering abandoned Quick frites boxes, and the sloughed off skin of the be-mulleted man who wears the John Galliano vest top in all weathers. The driver stayed, squatting in his cab like a furious, uniformed toad, refusing to react. He's probably still there now, lightly smoked.
To add insult to (near) injury, Place Stéphanie, in the throbbing (or possibly decelerating) heart of Brussels's "uptown" (hahaha) now has a LUSH.
It is right next to Annick Goutal, purveyor of beautiful, subtle scents. If I were Annick Goutal, I would totally sue.
My loathing of Lush is a matter of public record, at least on Facegoop, where despite the blog having been dormant for the best part of a year, fanatical hippies still come and tell us we are mean and unfair and ignorant witches for dissing their favourite purveyor of olfactory WMDs.
I am unrepentant. Indeed, I understand there is an ancient Chinese curse that translates as "May you live next door to Lush for all eternity".
I think what I need is this axe-wielding bird, found via Mimi Smartypants, to sit on my shoulder. He has given me much joy today.
I am going off to mutter in a corner now.