Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bus 18

Oh friends in the Pacific Northwest, or Fiji, (you pick) yesterday was a day full of trials and hardship and a complete lack of sedatives but for a rum drink The Man thoughtfully made for me after bedtime at the Casa.

Princess, my super "I want A+s ONLY Mommy! Anything else is STUPID!" achiever child, got in trouble with the bus driver. I interrogated my own hostile witness; I learned that it began with some sort of grade school kerfuffle, and ended with Princess back-sassing the bus driver because she was angry because she wasn't at fault but thought that he thought she was. SIGH. Of course, after she was all junior bella mafia on him, then she was in trouble. We (and by we I mean me, while she alternately cried, threatened dire retribution and cried some more) discussed cause and effect and that words can, in fact, get you in deep shite. As I've known for...awhile.

This brought recollections of my own childhood issues with my old bus driver. Her name was Norma, or as I like to think of her, Satan Incarnate. Norma was probably 180 years old when she started driving a bus, and I'm pretty sure that was her lifelong job. She enjoyed the sights and sounds of children's terror. Maybe I'm projecting. Probably not.

Have I mentioned I have a freakish memory? Ask The Man. Our stats are pretty much Sam = 5,908 to The Man = 1 for correct remembrance of a situation. And the 1 is sort of a gimme because I told him. Honestly, my memory is a major reason I did well in school. I could cram five minutes before a test, and then press the flush button in my head after I finished and be good to go. It's genetic. My mom has a slight edge with her mad memory skills - but only slight.

I mention all this because (you will lose if we play Memory the card game - classic OR animal version) I remember that bus like I stepped off it yesterday.

Bus number 18. She came from down the hill, usually; once we all tried to place rocks in the road that might puncture the bus tires. It didn't work. Probably because they weren't very big or very sharp. By "we" I mean the dirty boys at our bus stop. K. Jo and I were probably busy doing something ridiculous and laughing hysterically. (Sort of like what happens when we get together these days.)

Of course, she and I didn't get to sit together on the bus. Oh no, Norma wasn't having that. What did we do, you ask? This is a direct partial quote: we "laughed too much." We didn't throw anything, or fight, or yell, or stand up - we sat in the same seat and laughed. Too much, apparently for Satan Incarnate's taste.

Because I was majoring in elementary school People Pleasing, I took my lumps like a...moody little bookworm. I complained bitterly (bitterly!) to my parents, but they gave me the ol' "rules are rules" thing and I read a book (probably Stephen King. No lie. I read him when I was young enough to need a sitter and currently still have a clown phobia thanks to It.) on the bus to soothe my inner burning righteous fury. Outwardly, I determined to win Norma's favor. I took an apple to her one morning, and K. Jo and I were so polite and wonderful, how could she refuse us? Easily.

"Thanks for the apple, but you're still not sitting together."

OUCH. Denied.

One day, Norma decided that the branches from one of  my parents' trees were scraping her bus. She sawed them off. I am not making this up. You can ask my mom. What kind of whacko bus driver carries a saw on the bus to lop off branches of someone else's tree?! Norma, that's who.

My parents were not happy. I mean, really not happy. That evening I was treated to one of my dad's infamous fiery condemnation speeches. He called the school, he called the transportation people, and I'm pretty sure he called the marines. You could separate his straight-A student daughter from her best friend for laughing, but you did not jack with my dad's trees. Seriously. He's like the tree whisperer. He would tape bent or broken branches and nurse them back to health. 

I'll have to actually ask my mom or dad (probably mom) what the result was of Norma's random psycho tree pruning, but I know she was my bus driver for several more painful years. Then we got Lisa. Lisa was cool; she was nice, I got to sit with K. Jo and she played the radio stations we liked instead of Norma's hideous country stations. Sorry, my dislike for country music runs very, very deep. Except for that song about going home and loading her shotgun (because she has to shoot her boyfriend/husband for hitting her). THAT one is okay. And anything by Willie Nelson because he's righteous. Or Johny Cash. This concludes my exceptions.

So you see, Princess has no idea how bad a truly bad bus driver can be. Changing assigned seats? Normal. Chopping branches off trees you don't own with a saw you carry on your bus? NOT normal.
No that's NormA. See what I did there?

Now I'm off to the store, Readers in Japan, so until tomorrow! Play it safe and drive yourself - avoid the bus!

Comments, questions, did you have a bad bus driver?