Saturday, May 31, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Random Thoughts of a New Bus Driver
By Errol Bagley Seniority # 562 *
At the end of 2007 I entered semi retirement. It was kind of interesting for about five weeks and then I abruptly realized I needed something to do each day and someone to report to. For some years I had noticed the signs on school buses parked at schools advertising for new drivers and they even pay you to train.
As I looked into it I found that this was a job with low pay, high turnover, and a chance to drive an unairconditioned forty-foot bus full of kids twice a day in rush hour traffic. I'm thinking, this could be the job for me . I began training. Had I known all the things you would be expected to know and how long the training was I might have reconsidered? I thought several times that I should have tried being an airline pilot instead. They after all don't even have to sit with their passengers and they get in-flight meals.
As I began ride alongs at the "Broadway yard" it was still dark in the mornings. It was quite a revelation to see all the red and amber lights flashing in the dark as the drivers were pre-checking dozens of buses at a time. At the time I didn't even know what the strange "woofing" sound the brake test was. The sound of big diesel engines has always been music to my ears. It was even cold outside. This is something I will try to remember this August as school starts again.
A "drivers lounge" might bring to mind images that would be different than what one sees at the Broadway yard. This lounge I can only guess began its life as a doublewide classroom. Perhaps after it was deemed unsafe for children or otherwise condemned it was turned into a bus driver's lounge. I try to time my check-ins and outs as to spend the minimum amount of time there. I have enjoyed getting to know more of the drivers each week and that is the only thing that persuades me to linger in this place.
The "dispatchers" are amazing. They sit barely visible inside two small windows like friendly pit bosses that know everything. They seem to know all the drivers, all the buses, all the schools and all the roads. During the day they choreograph a delicate dance of drivers moving thousands of students on hundreds of buses through out the city never knowing what challenge is just seconds away on the radio.
"The Start Up". In days of yesterfar* the bringing to life of a big diesel engine in the morning used to be a well-guarded male ritual so powerful it has been known to raise testosterone levels right on the spot. It meant that you were about to ascend to your seat behind a twenty-inch steering wheel. You will look down on most other drivers. They will not harm you in this forty-foot fortress. You will stop traffic in both directions with the flip of a switch. You will protect your young passengers against all comers . No one will enter your bus without your permission. You are the captain of your yellow and black ship. You are Suddenly this male fantasy is interrupted as you notice the captain of the ship next to you has just boarded her vessel. She is a twenty two year old who took time to do her make up before reporting to her battle station this morning. O the bastions of male superiority. How many more will fall??
* Mr. "B" is a 64 year old mostly retired painting contractor , father of five sons, three daughters, grandfather of twenty two grandchildren and married to his dear wife Elaine for forty two years.
* Yesterfar is a word invented by a local boy Randy LeSueur to be used in a national advertising campaign for Old Spice featuring Will Ferrell and produced by my son Jason Bagley.
Friday, May 16, 2008
There is a long history of locked cuboards in our family. Mom told me that her mother had one and the kids learned to take the hinges off when she was gone and get into the treats without unlocking it. "Treats "were real special in those days as they were scarce.My cousin Eugene was an only child. In their home there were candy dishes out with candy in them all the time. This was amazing to me when I went to visit.I think the answer is a home vending machine where the kids could put in there allowance money to get treats. Extra money could be earned for extra chores to get more treats. The kids might then start a new business by puting vending machines into their friends houses and servicing them. Dad
Thursday, May 15, 2008
best of luck to you all. i'm not having children,
Heidi-if you're about to write me and tell me that your kids would only learn to break into the machine, then it's probably time to bring back the arabian nights style of government...tell them that you love them, but you're going to have to cut off their hands.
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> Subject: locked cuboards
> Date: Thu, 15 May 2008 21:04:48 -0700
> There is a long history of locked cuboards in our family. Mom told me that her mother had one and the kids learned to take the hinges off when she was gone and get into the treats without unlocking it. "Treats "were real special in those days as they were scarce.
> My cousin Eugene was an only child. In their home there were candy dishes out with candy in them all the time. This was amazing to me when I went to visit.
> I think the answer is a home vending machine where the kids could put in there allowance money to get treats. Extra money could be earned for extra chores to get more treats. The kids might then start a new business by puting vending machines into their friends houses and servicing them. Dad
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