A recurring problem that we’ve had this half of the school year is the baby’s school bus. At least once a week, we’ve had to deal with it being extremely late or not showing up at all. I’ll call the bus company. They’ll apologize. Things will be fine for a few days with a new bus driver…until that bus driver disappears into the ether, taking my son’s ride to school with him or her.
I have no idea what it’s like to be a bus driver. It seems like one of those jobs that’s probably very stressful and woefully underpaid, because that’s how we tend to treat difficult but essential jobs in our society. And I imagine that for my son’s bus route, which is made up of a very small group of kids from our area going to their magnet school, a low-seniority bus driver is usually stuck on that route. It has seemed like the drivers that we’ve had were kind of young and maybe just starting out.
All of this is to say that I understand where the problems might come in. That doesn’t make it okay, though, and it really doesn’t make the 40 minutes that I waste on the corner any more worthwhile.
Yesterday, after the bus was again absent, I called the bus company and was told, “Oh! We’ll send someone!” What the? Do I need to prompt them now? Did they morph into a cab company? The deal is, at the beginning of the school year, they say, “We’ll be picking up your child and transporting him to school at this time, Monday through Friday,” and I say, “Great! See you then!” and place the one and only fruit of my loins into their care as they navigate potholes, construction, and *gulp* Pittsburgh drivers. There’s no, “Hey! Guess what, bus company? I’m sending my kid to school again today! I know! Two days in a row lulz!”
Yesterday’s flub was particularly bad because the husband had to go to the airport and having to take both the baby and me to school and work wasn’t really on the agenda. Also, the longer I stand at the bus stop, the better chance I have of encountering some of our neighborhood’s, er, characters. Like the under-toothed woman who, a few months ago during a similar incident, alerted me to a used condom lying on the ground nearby. But, like, in an insane way. Like, she got all in my face with her Newport breath and lisped, “There’sh a yewshed condom over there. A yewshed condom. What should we do?” and I wondered when, exactly, my life turned into a David Lynch movie. Yesterday, I heard her yelling, “MA’AM! MA’AM!” as I was finishing up ordering a school bus and she approached me and said, “The poleesh are looking for a light-shkinned fella who broke into a lady’sh houshe. An 80-year-old lady. And he had a gun. I’m sho glad you have a shell phone. If you shee him, call 911 becaushe he’s light-shkinned and hash a gun.”
Got it. Neighborhood block watch in effect but seriously NOT RIGHT NOW, OKAY?
Anyway, we eventually got to school and work and the airport and no light-shkinned armed fellas or yewshed condomsh were encountered. I put in several stern phone calls to my son’s school and the Pittsburgh Public Schools’ transportation department and today, the bus arrived, manned by a very professional older gentleman who gave me his card and introduced himself.
I managed to saunter over to my bus stop in plenty of time because apparently the earlier PAT bus never showed up, which sucked for the people who had been standing there for 30 minutes in the 90 degree heat. Of course, I was then in the direct line of my enemy, the sun, and tried to avoid getting a sunburn first thing in the morning by positioning myself behind a five-inch wide utility pole.
Survival skills. I have them.
Alas, the bus came and I boarded without incident…until I found an ant crawling on my face.