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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

I have mused on transportation in my middle age cursing that I don't own the STEVE MCQUEEN MUSTANG FROM BULLET, but most likely the car would have caused me to get loads of speeding tickets and having a mid-life crisis where I end up dating a girl half my age. Both of those things could kill me, but least I would have gone out in a flash or WITH A SMILE ON MY FACE.
I see this Yellow beast almost everyday and gets me to flash back to the day that it almost got me killed.

Submitted: October 13, 2014

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 13, 2014






 I have mused on transportation in my middle age cursing that I don't own the STEVE MCQUEEN MUSTANG FROM BULLET, but most likely the car would have caused me to get loads of speeding tickets and having a mid-life crisis where I end up dating a girl half my age. Both of those things could kill me, but least I would have been cool dying and imagine myself being buried in the wrecked mustang.



Actually, I am very safe driver and girls half my age call me SIR! But, one can day dream can't we? Early in my life, I did have a near-death experience, but it wasn't in a cool car, but in a deathtrap known as an SCHOOL BUS. Ironically, those outdated POS are still being used in 2014. You would think kids would be flying to school on jet packs or hovercraft skate boards. Hell, no kids are still stuck in old steel and fiberglass seats. It is big and Yellow, maybe signifying peeing in one's pants from fright or learning that you are now being taunted by a Bully, who will later go one to be featured on a show called Lock UP.  

I am assuming that it would be better for future generation, with all the progress in transportation, with the Telsa fully electric high end cars one could hope for something superior way than a giant Yellow bus with fiberglass seats, no seat belts. However, no marks or changes seem made to school buses. The other problem is the ode to capitalism meaning hiring drivers not for their skill, but their cheapness. This seems to indicate that America really doesn't care about their kids, we only care for the fetus after that all bets are off.

School Buses have not improved and the one from my generation is presently being used as a home for man seemed to have escaped from the looney bin. However, this gentleman has fixed the bus up nicely, since it is currently his home, and ironically most people can't afford a real home, so a school bus is starting to look like a very good option, as long as you don't go to the bank for a loan on that bus. My memories were that the inside had fiberglass seats, no heat, no safety belts and windows that didn't go up or down. This man might have discovered how to avoid the pitfalls of that thirty-year-old mortgage hanging over your head like the sword of Damocles. The upside is that you can drive your house around and hopefully the bus now has seat belts and air-conditioning and heat. It also needs to have a trained driver, which seemed to be something that was not necessary when I was a child. Since this man has a dog, and dog is man's best friend I hope he is acquainted with the rules of the road. 



Hopefully, no kids endured the ride from hell that I endured one day in junior high. Now, it is somewhat weird, but I did feel sorry for the drivers of those giant pieces of metal and underpowered engines, as kids are loud and obnoxious. However, they should hire drivers who are aware that kids are a pain in the ass and focused on driving. Most of the drivers who encountered should have not been given a drivers license to begin with. It started when I entered junior high that horrid age of pimples and raging hormones at least for me. The bus ride was not first encounter with this mode of transport. My Mother didn't drive since she had the eyesight of Mr. Magoo and a nervous condition that would cause her to freak out and run the car into a tree if angry with my Dad. She took the bus everywhere, and even though we lived in the burbs they still had bus routes. However, the Bus driver grumbled to my Mother that it was only poor people and damn immigrants who rode the bus and then  he spit on the floor. He on a bad day would start to punishing his riders. The old people were struggling to walk down the aisle for a seat, when he would stomp on the gas and lurch the bus forward then slam on the brake. A cruel joke that sadistic son of a bitch loved, causing old people tumbling everywhere like the flying Wallendas. Therefore, I knew bus travel really sucked. I cursed that my Mother didn't drive. It was the second day of riding on the school bus when I noticed we may be in danger.

My Junior high was across town on the rich side of town, and I along with my other fellow peasant lived in the middle to lower-middle class section of town; therefore, we waited on the corner and got on the big yellow machine. Our bus driver was a new lady driver, who seemed to be very new to the job after she missed gears, and the bus moved rather slowly down the street. Pre-teens being naturally surly, decided to start taunting the lady, “HEY, Lady I COULD WALK FASTER TO SCHOOL.” 

I watched as the poor lady grimaced and wanted to start crying. More laughter from our peanut gallery. “Lady, your engine must have fallen out.” 

More guffaws and the lady missed another gear, and we heard it the horrid metallic shudder. “HEY, Lady did you get your license from a cracker jack box.”

The poor bus driver surely wanted to quit, but most likely she was desperate for work. Some nights I wait in cold sweats thinking that I ended up with her job.

Maybe that explains what happened next: We finally, we head across the railroad tracks to the rich side of town. Our main street had a curve that was sharp and made drivers reduce speed to thirty-five, and it was a four-lane road which ended at a stoplight. This very curve was known to me, as my Mother had the unfortunate to ride with our neighbor lady who was new to driving and under the influence of Mother's little helper Valium and coffee. Rose Stulz, was the type of driver who let her mind wander and her need to watch things like the speedometer was foreign to her. My Mother had come home shaken saying that at the curve at our main street route 83, Rose had been going so rapidly the car, a Ford falcon, tipped over and was riding on two wheels, until Rose slowed down and the falcon fell back onto all four wheels. The bus driver never got the bus fast enough to tip it over, but she drove in a scary manner. When the curve turned sharp, she moved the bus to far over and clipped the speed limit sign, and then the sign warning of the curve was clipped with a bang.

Hey, lady you just smacked two signs." The kids grew louder, and the driver was a nervous wreck. It sounded like the inside of zoo at feeding time, with the mooing, belching and farting. As a kid, you think this is a normal means of communication, but to a rational adult the sounds are grating and annoying as an orchestra conducted from hell. 

Most kids couldn't fathom that this could be a dangerous drive. The driver finally broke down “SHUT UP FOR ONCE!” The kids currently stopped for one moment, and the bus did arrive in front of Lincoln junior high. Now the explosion of noise started over again while the driver slumped back into her seat. In a way, I felt sorry for her, but I had my own personal hell, Junior high, the first step into the cliche that is based on looks and hipness. I being an only child found that kids can be extremely cruel and form their tribes. The driver sadly was not a member of this tribe, nor was I. As Rush sang to be cool or be cast off. I was one of the cast offs with the wrong haircut, the short haircut versus the Pete Frampton style of long flowing locks, the corduroy pants instead of the skin-tight levis, size husky. The worst one yet was those damn bell-bottoms which made you look even fatter. Oh the shame!

The poor lady was given our route and we as pre-teens made her life a noisy hell. Suburban teenagers thought at the time that the world revolved around them, and therefore, we acted as if we were movie-stars or pop-stars, this predates reality TV, but was a clue about the future of the Bravo network. We were marketed by everybody to sell records, clothes, pimple cures and anything that deemed us the new consumers. Our music was louder, and our style was loud at times garish and sometimes our behavior bordered on monkeys who had been smoking crack. It was about two weeks later when the lady finally had enough. It was a specially wild day, the boys bothering the girls looking forward to seeing who was more slutty and girls screaming at each other over little things that pissed them off. Being a cast off, I just watched like observing things at the monkey house. I tried that day to engage in a conversation with another kid who started talking down about Emerson, Lake and Palmer, as I was a drummer. This guy shot me a look of disgust, since I did look cool enough and then mocked my speech pattern, plus my bad haircut. I could have bet a hundred bucks that I was a better drummer than that schmuck, but I kept my shut, while it hit me that the world is made up of ass holes. Junior high drove me to enjoy booze after school, as the place was a precursor to the values of the shallow and vacuous teenager, who seemed to be model on the Lord of the flies. For non readers it was sort of like being stuck with Kahasdian's mixed with a hostile comedian, who considers you a heckler. I would go to the basement turn on my stereo and fix myself a drink of the booze my father never touched, mainly gin or even moonshine he got from one of his hillbilly drivers. The booze gave you a warm feeling and took the pain away. An awful side effect was you just lost motivation and wanted to sleep. It hit me, that my father was a drunk, one who would go to work, but then developed anger issues and mood swings. I decided to give up the booze, and since I wasn't totally hooked, I focused on drums and art. Ironically, I could never catch a break with a real mentor in junior high, as my art work exceeded most students. I taught myself perspective and some techniques from practicing using drawing of the Masters.

My first day in art class of junior was a big let down and indicated how life can be one major disappointment. I had recreated a Renior pastel and left it for the art teacher to see. Mr. D was his moniker. He was a full-blown hippie with black hair down his shoulders and a beard. Holy Woodstock a real hippie, unlike my Hippie image from TV, he was not a nice guy, nor was he full of peace, love and insight. Wait that was a miss-statement, Mr. D. was full of love, for a hot English TEACHER, named Jane Curtain. Lucky for him, she was the sexiest teacher you ever wanted to see. She could have been the model to Van Halen's classic, hot for Teacher. The only comment on my art work, I got from the Mr. D. was “that I didn't draw that." The Hippie teacher caused me not to trust hippies, as Mr. D. basically went back to his main goal as a teacher, being with Jane the hot teacher. Jane, had the shortest mini skirts and lovely blonde hair, a very nice rack and killer legs. Therefore, Mr. D would start the class with a still-life and leave with that Hottie. Most likely, they were not discussing the meaning of Renaissance paintings versus the importance of Shakespeare. I may have been a kid, but I knew they were most likely playing hide the salami in his VW van. If I had been a guitar player, I could have written, “IF THE VAN IS ROCKIN DON'T BOTHER KNOCKIN.”

Even when I tried the junior high band, I was thwarted by my lack of confidence, although I got only one to be complimented about my playing from the teacher, he was known to have anger issues, exploding temper and rages. It sort of worked on my nerves, plus the fact that I had to get there early for the class. My father and I both were not morning people, so I dropped the class. Most of my junior life was boring until the eighth grade when I hooked up with some guys and started a band, but until then it was boring until that ride home on the bus. My favorite memories of a pretty girl named Patty Green being nice to me in the lunch room and hating a book called a Separate Peace by John Knowles. Ironically, the book is a supposed masterpiece, which I my give a second look.

It was getting to be the end of the school year, and we kids were now even more unhinged. The Bus driver hadn't gotten much better as a driver, and the constant noise from the kids was really starting to cause her to show signs of a breakdown. Most kids didn't realize it, but currently in middle-age; I saw her signs of a mind in decay with the pain and strain of life. The day was warm, that June sunlight enters the bus and the kids now were shouting and screaming about trivial crap, and guys were grasping girl's halter tops and pulling on the strings. Then there were anti-catholic screams, as we went by St Raymond's Catholic school. There was still a lot of Lutheran hate or Protestant bigotry being taught around the town, mainly by parents and some church officials. Violent threats were made against the Catholic kids walking home. I had already dropped religion from my life and didn't understand all this nonsense of hating somebody else religious choice. “SHUT UP NOW!” The driver was losing it. She looked in her rear for mirror, “all of you SHUT UP!”

Of course, this just made the kids get louder, and louder. “JUST KEEP DRIVING LADY, THAT'S YOUR JOB.” “MAYBE YOU CAN DRIVE WITHOUT HITTING A SIGN.” Laughter, and howls now made everything seem like the kids were drunken assholes from the Bluebird Tavern or Ye Old Tavern were the mice lived among the passed out drunks on the bar. 

The driver made a grimace, as the kids got now into swearing and making farting sounds. It was the taunts from the bullies against the nerds with even the girls being loud and obnoxious. We were halfway home and heading for the railroad track in the middle of town. The gate was open, and the bus was rolling forward slowly. “HEY, YOU DUMB POLLOCK, GIVE ME MY NOTEBOOK BACK” “SHUT UP YOU DAGO, BASTARD.” Now even the girls started little fights that seemed to mirror the boy's routine. SOMEBODY HAD A TRANSISTOR RADIO BLASTING.

“You little bitch, why did you ask my boyfriend to the dance.” These girls who had been modest on the first day now started talking to each other like hookers having a bad day.

“Just go fuck yourself.” Girls started grasping each other hair and the bus driver made it onto the tracks of the railroad and yelled once more. “SHUT UP OR I AM NOT MOVING THIS VEHICLE!” I looked out the window and noticed that we were on the middle of the tracks, one going into our town and into Chicago and the other track heading toward Wisconsin. OH, this wasn't good. The kids didn't shut up but got worse. “LADY YOU ARE CRAZY, GET OFF THE TRACK.” “COME ON LADY, MOVE IT.” The bus driver kept the bus still, and the traffic behind was honking and going around with curses and the finger given to the driver. I looked and saw the distance red light of the track signal. Meaning a train from Arlington Heights was on its way down the track. I normally just kept my mouth shut, but seeing the train now left me no other options. 


I am not sure, but the lady seemed to have a death-wish and didn't mind taking us little bastards with her. “I AM NOT MOVING UNTIL YOU ALL SHUT UP, AND THEN I AM DRIVING YOU BACK TO THE SCHOOL TO REPORT YOU ALL.” The gate now went down, and we were alone on the track. The train whistle got louder.  Instead of shutting up, the kids were screaming. “THE TRAIN, THE TRAIN.”


Jesus I was half-way home and wanted to leap off the bus. The bus currently made a sharp left turn at the light, and she was trying to make a U-turn which shocked all the other drivers as the big yellow machine was now moving like a Panzer tank. Honking and swearing enveloped the bus. The kids finally did shut up, as we were stunned that she was driving us back to Lincoln Junior high. Ironically, the kids now were muttering. After spending a whole day in school, especially in June one wants to avoid the place like it housed the plague. “ THIS IS BULLSHIT!” It would now take about twenty to thirty minutes to get back to Lincoln, as we were fighting rush-hour traffic. Kids were now wondering would there be repercussions for their loutish behavior. Next thing we all wondered what punishment would be doled out. The bus driver didn't know our names?

Once we got to the school, she announced that she was going inside to get the Principal, and we would be screwed. It hit me and some others that all we had to do was get off the bus and walk home. It would be a long walk, but it would be worth it. “HEY, WE CAN JUST LEAVE BEFORE SHE GETS BACK.” I was sitting back by the emergency exit door, the door in the back of the bus. I flipped it open and watched as others opened the front door of the bus. Many kids now sprang out of the bus like prisoners on the show the fugitive. We started running so to clear the school grounds. I turned around and notice that nobody was around and went back to a walk. It was a long way home, so I just kept on trucking down the road. I finally made it home, while granny waited in the living room. My Dad was at work, and my Mother was out with a friend. 

“Why were you so late?” Granny was my caregiver, more like a Mother than my Mother. “Well, Granny the bus broke down and I had to walk.” I normally wouldn't have lied to her but saying that we had a crazy bus-driver leave the bus on railroad tracks would have made her upset and nervous.”

Okay and now a musical interlude from the 1960-1970's. First the Guess WHO, who wrote in ode to the working class hero that went to work on a damn bus day after day.






















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