At the mercy of the PKS Myślenice bus company over the Easter break I spent more time than I might otherwise have chosen at Myślenice bus station. Once I had exhausted the entertainment possibilities of counting dead flies in an empty kiosk I turned in desperation to a close reading of the bus timetable. I wish I’d looked sooner. Stapled to the outside of a locked and shuttered ticket office it was a document of rare surrealistic quality.
The Polish alphabet has 32 characters. Every single one of these had been used to add footnotes to the schedules. The compiler, not satisfied with this surely more-than-adequate level of annotation, had in fact gone on to use several of these letters in both upper and lower case as well as numerals, hashes, dots, exclamation marks, asterisks and a range of other obscure symbols that lurk at the periphery of keyboards. The list of footnotes was longer than the schedule itself and included nuggets of information along the lines of:
This bus stops at Gryfice except on Tuesdays in February or if Bartek is driving because he doesn’t like turning left.
This bus doesn’t run on holidays or on June 17th (for no apparent reason).
A truly mind-boggling set of footnotes from A to y³ and beyond.
I was about to allow myself a satisfying outburst of exasperation when I spotted the following astonishing entry concerning buses to Hrubieszów:
Twenty-two points, plus triple-word-score, plus fifty points for using all my letters. Game’s over. I’m outta here. Scrabble addict on the lose in southern Poland.
I don’t know if this strange insertion was joke on the part of the compiler himself or a remark from the poor devil who had to type it up. Either way, I’ll never look at a bus timetable again without a smile.