My friends organized a picnic on Richmond Park. It happens to be the second to largest park in London, but I strongly believe that it is so far away that it cannot be considered London anymore. We arrive to the station and we made a quick stop in a store to buy provisions: food in their case and beers in my case. After that we only needed to take one of the red buses and we would be on the park, ready for our picnic.
One of my friends asked the bus driver if that route was the one that would take us to the park, and the old man, kindly, gave some directions to my friend and told us to get on the bus. We all mounted the bus and the old man even smiled at us. You can tell that Richmond is not visited by that many outsiders so the driver was even happy to see us there.
There are so many parks in that area that it got a little bit confusing. Anywhere we looked there was a green spot, some of them big and some even bigger, so being confident that we were close to Richmond Park -or any other park- we decided to get off the bus. Maybe we would need to walk a little bit but for sure we were close. We were so far away from central London that the usually busy Thames was now a scenic river with the forest and the deer and the ducks.
Suddenly a man starts shouting at me. I turn around to see that it was the same old guy that was driving the bus. I told you that I would drop you in the park but this is not the park, is it? he screamed. Why did you get off the bus, he yelled at me. I gave you instructions but it was hard for you to follow them!. He was really angry, so angry that when he saw us get off the bus he decided to change the route and go back, just to face us and shout at us. Sorry sir -I tried to interrupt him- but you didn’t give me the instructions. You gave the directions to my friend. Unfortunately we were both wearing similar colors and we both have a foreign accent, so, for this old guy we were both the same person.
Well, it wasn’t you -he replied- but you are not better than the first, are you? I haven’t been scolded like that for decades, not by my mother, not by my teachers, not by anybody. And there I was, being severely yelled by this bus driver that took his work as tour guide too serious, but his work as bus driver, not so much. He was so mad and so red that he shut the door and carry on with his route, and even in his way I could still hear him moaning something. My heart was rushing and my hands were trembling from this old man shouting at me.
We were so far away from London that the usual anonymous driver from the red buses was replaced by this guy. At the station where we dropped off was a group of ladies that witnessed the whole situation and they were actually laughing. Don´t worry dear -one of them told me kindly- you are not in Richmond Park, but the main entrance is only two hundred meters in that direction, she said, pointing down the street.
I couldn’t believe it! The reprimand of my life and only for 200 meters!