Saturday, June 19, 2010
Let us not forget the career choices we make in our lives. My most outstanding choice was becoming a school bus driver. Mind you, my first son was only two, so I had no idea what I was getting into. Can you say "clueless"?
It was a perfect job for a working mom...morning rounds, a kindergarten pick-up at noon, and then afternoon rounds. I would dash home, clean house, grocery shop, and then run back and finish my schedule. I actually got to spend time with my son.
The bummer part was learning. All the seasoned drivers had the big, fancy crown diesels with dual wheels in the back...the buses that held ninety-one screaming children. The new people had to drive the old conventional buses...the ones with power steering in only one direction, and holes in the seats. I guess I should also mention the one with the spring that fell off the accelerator and stuck full throttle. Luckily, I was alone at the time so no one saw me panic. Did you know that even if the engine is running full boar you can still stop by using the brakes. You don't have to run off into a ditch.
When you're a newbie, you have to be a substitute for others when they're out. Boy, that was fun. You found out who had rules and who didn't. Somehow I always got stuck driving for the same driver...the one who evidently wore ear plugs and blinders.
We drivers had just been instructed by the Highway Patrol to make sure we pulled as far to the right as possible when we stopped to cross children. Of course, you have to put on your flashing reds and take you little stop sign and walk the little dears across the street. The high school kids really love that!
The first time I subbed for good ol' twenty-one, I had no idea what I had gotten into. On the first stop, I pulled just as far over as I could, turned on the lights and opened the door. I got up to lead the departees out the door. Ever stood dominos in a line and pushed the tear on forward? Well, to make a long story shorter, everyone was in a hurry. The back of the bus was in the front long before I stopped. So, add in the domino effect, and I went out the door, but not of my own accord. I probably would have been hurt much more if I hadn't pulled close enough to the right, thus allowing me to fall into an irrigation ditch where the water cushioned my landing. I seem to have a thing for ditches. Thank goodness, I had traffic backed up in both directions so I didn't have to share my most embarassing moment alone. So, no one can say I didn't do the hard knocks to earn my own bus.