to be honest i'm not planning on saying good things about bus drivers in this post. specifically, school bus drivers. i should start by mentioning that despite my recent experiences with bus drivers i will give them this: i would rather be a garbage collector than have their job. if it was between collecting welfare and driving a school bus you'd have to work really, really hard to convince me that i should drive a school bus. their job sucks and i am very, very glad they do it so well. they do not get paid enough to drive around in a fairly unsafe vehicle with more screaming children than the rest of us would ever allow ourselves to be alone with. i can barely drive around in traffic in this area and listen to outrageous conservative radio talk shows without driving my car into oncoming traffic. imagine if dr laura's voice became the voice of 100 screaming children. it wouldn't be pretty.
so, i acknowledge that their jobs are difficult, they do not get paid enough, we have a bus driver shortage, and that i respect for them actually having a job because i would seriously be thinking about welfare.
that being said, i have NOT had good run-ins with bus drivers lately.
last week one of my kiddos needed to be escorted to his bus after a bit of time screaming and physically fighting me. originally we thought he would not be safe on the bus but he calmed himself down so with the administrator's OK i took him to the bus. the bus driver, knowing my child, told me exactly where i could take myself and the child. he did not use any words that are unacceptable standing on their own, but when he put all of those g-rated words together he did not have very nice things to say about me or my kiddo. the other bus riders listened with wide eyes at the adults not demonstrating qualities of the character of the month.
so yesterday, my jumpers had a show at a nearby elementary school. nearby being about 10-15 minutes away depending on traffic. it had already been a fairly hectic morning and the head coach and i were enjoying our first real conversation together since october when we realized we'd been on the bus a little more than 30 minutes. something was very wrong.
we asked the bus driver if he knew where we were going and he grunted, waved a map and said, "I live here. I know." so... we thought maybe he knew.
then he pulled into a large middle school in a neighborhing county and started to open the bus door. we gently pointed out this was not where we were headed, to which he replied, "I KNOW, I KNOW, I turn around here, yes? We go back"
so we go back, and before we have entered back into our county's lines he pulls up to an elementary school and puts his blinker on. we try to gently point out that the elementary school begins with the letter G, and the one he is about to pull into begins with the letter C. We have now been saying the name of this school for 35 minutes, and he has been saying, "Yes, yes, I know school G" for about 30. Still, here we are at a school far from our county that starts with a C. C and G look similar; my kindergarteners mix them up. Still.
so, he gives us angry looks, mutters about women and directions, and pulls back onto the main road. about 10 minutes later the bus is beside a large hole in the ground piled with dirt.
"Oh!" he says, and points, "That is it. It was there"
I thought he was joking. "haha, I hope not" and I take the map to try to help him out.
"NO!" he insists, "I think that is it. This is the school. It is gone. See. My directions are right, right here is the school."
yes, because since we left our school this morning the large school of roughly 700 students blew up, became a hole in the ground leaving nothing behind. Yes. that is obviously the logical answer to this problem.
finallly, we convince him that our destination is not a hole in the ground, has not become a hole in the ground in the recent past, and that we should in fact continue driving. we find the school only to realize we have pulled into a neighborhood behind the school. although we can see the school there is no possible way to pull the bus up to the front. looking at the map i realize we're going to have to drive back to main roads, which will take another 10 minutes. our performance is suppose to be starting at that exact moment, so we unload the bus back there and head through the soccer fields, playground, and parking lot to get into the school. on our way off the bus, as our bus driver mutters about women and directions, i give him exactly how to get to the front of the school when it is time to pick us up.
"YES!" he says, obviously annoyed. "I know how. I live here, yes? I know the school."