I think it has been said over and over and over that I don't have children. I do, however, remember having a childhood. I also remember the trauma of the school bus. I vowed that if I ever did have children (God help them), that I would never make them ride the school bus. I've talked to others who were not nearly as disturbed by the school bus as I was and they think I'm nuts. My kids still won't ride one. Kids are cruel as everyone is aware and I think the school bus brings out the beasts within like nothing else in adolescence.
This isn't the purpose for my ranting. I now drive quite a distance to work and I try to time it such that I don't get stuck behind school buses. I was talking to my sister about this just to have someone else corroborate my memory. She confirmed at least half of it which makes it close to almost true (just ask Oprah's book club buddy).
When I rode the school bus:
-We had to be at the end of the driveway in order for the school bus to even stop. We couldn't wait keeping warm in our house until the bus showed up. Are you kidding me? If we weren't at the end of the driveway, the bus kept right on moving.
-We barely got up the steps of the bus before it started moving again. And to say that it started moving is an understatement. Started going from zero to sixty in one second is more like it.
-When we got off the bus on the ride home, we didn't stop, look at the driver, wait to be waved on in an all clear fashion, and then cross the road. We got off and sprinted across the road. If we got hit, oh well. One less stop for the driver the next day.
-Buses didn't hold up traffic. They would pull over after nearly every stop to let cars go by.
-Buses didn't stop at every damn house in a one block radius. If that many kids lived that close together, they gathered at the end of one person's driveway. That was the end of it. Kids walked. It was good for them.
What I have noticed today:
-Kids are snug safely and warmly in their homes until the bus stops. Then those of us commuting must wait while the parent ushers them out the door, hugs them, checks their bookbags to make sure they have everything, walks them to the bus, waves to the driver and then has a conversation with said driver likely about where Bubba plans to get his next fish fry
that weekend, and then we wait until the kiddies are safely seated before we start the damn bus up again and move on. At this point, I could have styled my hair, put on my makeup and shaved my legs.
-Kids get off the bus in the afternoon, pause at the front, wait for the all clear wave from the driver, then walk in an orderly manner across the street to the waiting parent who gives said child a hug and has a conversation with the child likely about whether he/she refused drugs and/or cigarettes in the school lavatory that day.
The older I get the more I realize that I am destined to be the old lady who sits on her front porch screaming at the neighborhood kids to shut the hell up and telling them they don't know how good they have it because we waited in the snow, wind, wrath of god for the damn school bus and then damn near fell on our asses trying to get a seat and almost got hit by a car (or the bus itself) while trying to run across the street to no waiting parent because all we wanted to do was get in the house to play Atari.
And so it goes.