Friday, September 09, 2011

On the Buses

I was driving the #55 the other night when a guy went to get on the bus.
"Sorry mate, you can't bring the beer on the bus"
He turned and placed the open bottle on the seat of the bus shelter then boarded the bus.
On the way into town I noticed him talking quite animatedly but couldn't work out who to.
I thought perhaps he was on the phone via an ear piece.
He was waving his arms around and carrying on a conversation with someone but the only passenger near him clearly wasn't involved.
He got off in town and the other passenger got off a couple of stops later. As she alighted I asked her if the guy had been talking to her or on the phone?
"No, I think he might have been schizophrenic or something cause he was talking to himself or to God or someone but it wasn't me"
An hour later as I came back through town I picked him up on the return trip.
This time he was quiet, and carrying a pizza.
When we got to his bus stop he got off the bus, walked straight over and picked up his beer and headed off into the night!

I pulled up at Deakin where I was due to have a 20 minute lay-over before the return journey to the city.
An anxious looking teacher in charge of a large group of school kids approached me and asked if I had a phone as their bus hadn't arrived to pick them up.
I asked where they were supposed to be going.
"To the ______ college junior campus"
You mean the one just over the bridge?
How about I just take you?
"Could you? That would be great!"
The kids were ushered on board and all thanked me with a definite sense of relief in their voices.
As we neared the destination the grateful teacher called upon the kids to thank me again with three rousing cheers! Needless to say, the first time I've had three cheers for driving a bus!

Slurpees are the bus driver's mortal enemy. When someone gets on with one I know with 95% certainty that not only will they not finish it or take it with them when they get off, but they will leave it on the floor and that the next time I drive round a corner it will tumble over, spilling its sickly sweet contents all over the floor. Said contents will then "slurp" their way down the aisle of the bus, leaving a human fly-trap of stickiness to ensnare unwitting passengers trying to get on or off the bus.
Last night a young family got on the bus, holding fast food bags and a slurpee. In the hands of a small child no less. Sure enough, just moments after taking off there was a familiar thud and looking around I saw the gooey pink mess splattered all over the floor.
I was pleasantly surprised by what followed though.
The Dad started scooping up as much of the icy debris as he could and then wiped up the rest with some sort of cloth furnished by his partner. It wasn't this bus-cleaning that impressed me so much as the cool calm and controlled way he talked to his son about what had happened. There was no yelling or scalding or vindictive reprimand. Instead he explained to his little boy what had caused the accident and what he needed to do next time to avoid it happening again.
"That's why you need to sit down straight away and hold on to your drink tightly" etc
Considering some of the things I hear parents say to their kids this was straight out of "Effective parenting 101".
I was intending to complement the Dad for the way he had handled the incident when they got off. I decided not to though when a couple of minutes later he called out "Hey Driver, slow the %#&* down, you nearly tipped the pram over!"
So much for setting a good example to his children!
(I was driving well within the speed limit at the time by the way.)


Anonymous said...

now those three were nice writing.

Peter said...

3 "Waiter Rant" moments.

Anonymous said...

How about you file these away for your next book - On the Buses ( oops, might need a different title). A collection of whimsical vignettes by Marcus Holt.