Of all the many things in this world that I'm glad I'm not, a school bus driver ranks pretty high up there on the list.
I have so many bad memories of riding the bus.
I fear that if for some reason bus driving was my occupation, I would only acquire more bad memories and probably lose more of my hair, forget the steady paycheck.
I always sat in the back of the bus, with my great-aunt So-and-So who rode the bus because a) she didn't have a drivers license and b) she worked in the school lunchroom so why not catch a ride going in the same direction?
Great-aunt So-and-So got off the bus before I did and this proved to be a problem on several occasions--one in particular stands out.
One day we had a substitute driver.
I was in kindergarten and was pretty short at that age (the growth spurt that made all the boys say I was on steroids didn't happen until sixth grade.)
After Great-aunt So-and-So got off the bus that afternoon I just kinda chilled back in my seat.
Being meek and mostly mild in life isn't an overnight development, you start out that way.
When it came time for my stop the substitute bus driver didn't stop.
I didn't jump up and run for the front exit, I just sat there and watched the world go by out of my little rectangle window until the very end of the route when the substitute bus driver (his name was Joe) finally caught sight of my little short self and said, "Hey! Where you 'sposed to get off et?"
I don't remember what I said, but he was probably pretty agitated about having to take me back to my house, where he'd already been.
My mama was running up the drive way with the cordless phone in her hand, crying and upset because she didn't know where her baby had been!
That was pretty funny.
One time this older scary high school girl flicked a lighter in my face and told me she was going to set my hair on fire.
My mama had a fit about that.
That was pretty scary.
The same girl laughed at my baby doll I took for show-and-tell, saying it was "a yellow baby."
Kindergarten was pretty traumatic as far as bus riding goes but it only got worse after that.
Every year somebody would puke.
Every year there'd be a massive fight.
There was the lady who made us late to school every Monday because the bus would go dead over the weekend.
Why she didn't plan accordingly after this turned into a habit, I don't know.
The bus drivers hated their jobs.
They had to have hated their jobs.
They were always in bad moods and probably closer to the ends of their ropes than any of us realized.
The kids were horrible.
I'd like to think that I was pretty compliant.
The buses were always nasty.
Kids sticking their food wrappers between the seats, spilling their drinks on that black floor.
Trash and crumbs everywhere, mold growing on the seats from sitting shut up during the humid summer months.
When I was in the band I had to carry my trombone back and forth to school, via the school bus of course.
We got assigned seats one year and I got stuck sitting on the hump.
On the inside.
That brass beast rode between my fifteen year old knees and ankles, pressed up against my nose while the little third grader that got on after me was oh, so, comfortable.
I wouldn't wish bus driving on my worst enemy and I hope that my kids are fortunate enough to not have to ride the bus.
It might be a gas-saver but dang, its traumatic.