or, How to drive a bus (part 15) 
Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5 
Part 6     Part 7     Part 8     Part 9     Part 10
 Part 11     Part 12     Part 13     Part 14     Part 15

When I went to sleep Thursday night, my plan was to come to work the next day, and drive the bus, maybe for the last time.

When I woke up on Friday morning, though, it felt like… why bother? I don't think it's possible for me to pass my "final exam" as a bus driver, not with Vivian as my teacher. She'd fail me, even if I drove smooth as Scarlett Johansson's butt.

Of course, after my near-miss with a Metro bus yesterday — which Vivian didn't even see — maybe I deserve to be flunked.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

I could fight it, sure. I could complain to Vivian's boss, but he's a man I've met only once and only briefly, and she's been working for him for years. There's no point in me talking to the boss.

Maybe I could ask for a trade. "I want to drive with Juan today, or Sienna," I could say. Rookies don't draw up the schedule, though, and don't make demands.

If they did switch me to Juan or Sienna as my instructor, there'd have to be long conversations about why. I ain't got the gumption for all the drama that would entail, not this morning. Not at my age.

Or I could drive to the bus barn and punch the clock like today's an ordinary day. Simply ride and drive with Vivian again, swallowing lots of aspirin and self-respect.

♦ ♦ ♦

It's all very Hamlet. To drive, or not to drive?

If I drive the bus today, and do whatever Vivian tells me to do (Turn right from the left lane? Sure!) maybe I'll pass, maybe I'll fail, but either way my time with Vivian would be over.

Yeah, but my time with Vivian could be over even sooner, if I simply go back to sleep.

If I go to work today, it would only be for my satisfaction. If I drove well, I'd be happy with myself, even if Vivian flunked me and made me unemployed again.

Then again, if I drive a bus all day, maybe I'd curb it again — or make a much worse mistake, like almost happened yesterday.

Thinking it over in the early morning darkness, the most compelling argument for going to work this morning is, I'm curious to see whether Mitch passes, and becomes a bus driver. 

I have Jo-Jo's number, though. Maybe I'll call him next week and ask about Mitch's fate.

♦ ♦ ♦

Vivian would disagree, but in my opinion I've passed the course.

I can drive a bus.

I can safely and smoothly brake, accelerate, turn, and stop, all without hitting anything or knocking passengers out of their seats.

I can handle the bus on the freeway, or on itsy bitsy back streets, and I can drive it in reverse, so I've done what I set out to do.

♦ ♦ ♦

Don't ever say one person can't make a difference. Right up until I was assigned to Vivian's bus, I was doing pretty good, and thinking I'd be a bus driver.

♦ ♦ ♦

I'll walk away from this as a better driver — of my own ancient Chevy — than I was a month ago. I'm much more safety-conscious now, following at a longer distance on the freeway, driving slower in the rain, more clearly anticipating dangerous things that other drivers might do, and calculating what I'd do in response.

Always I've been interested in public transit, so buses fascinate me, and I've enjoyed my month behind the scenes in a world of buses. They put me behind the wheel, man, and it was a blast! I got to drive a bus in traffic, and they paid me to do it.

♦ ♦ ♦

I am out $160 worth of bus driver stuff that's been arriving box-by-box from Amazon over the weekend, though.

♦ ♦ ♦

And yet, the argument in my head continues.

To get to the bus barn on time today, I'd need to shower and get dressed, and be in my car within the next 45 minutes.

It isn't wise to drive a bus in a bad mood, though. I shouldn't have driven a bus yesterday, and I ain't doing it today.

Heck, I don't even like driving my car. What was I smoking, to imagine me driving a bus 40 hours a week?

"This is Dispatch."

"Howdy. My name's Doug Holland. I'm a trainee driver, and I'm calling out for today."

I'm probably also calling out for the rest of my life, but I'll take a three-day weekend to continue arguing it in my head.


Addendum, Sunday evening: I was mistaken, thinking I'd be thinking about all this, all weekend. Gave it very nearly no thought at all, other than editing and posting the week's bus chronicles.

Instead I kicked back, rode the city bus, went to the library, and came home to watch old movies. It was my most relaxed weekend in a month.

Now it's late in the afternoon on Sunday, and with no clean clothes to wear to work tomorrow, I should be doing a load of laundry, but... I'm not doing laundry today.

I need a job, this one pays OK, and I've almost completed my training. I also need the health coverage that comes with the job, so there's no doubting that a responsible adult would do the laundry, and then be at the bus barn on Monday morning.

I've never been a responsible adult, though, so I'm not doing any of that. It's back to sleeping in, and lazily looking for work.

Not this week, though. I'm taking some time off.

How to drive a bus
Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5 
Part 6     Part 7     Part 8     Part 9     Part 10
 Part 11     Part 12     Part 13     Part 14     Part 15

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  1. Fuck Vivian. There's a clueless, officious, wrong-headed authoritarian cunt (pardon my French) like her in every institution or job, and they need to be disdained and weeded out. There should have been audio/video recordings of all training so evidence of her ineptitude could be proven.

    1. Yeah, except for working in the tiniest of tiny offices, every job I've ever had always came with a clueless, officious, wrong-headed authoritarian cunt or dick. It's my experience fighting the COWHAC/D's that decided me not to waste my time fighting this one.

      > There should have been audio/video recordings of all training...

      It would be nice, but too expensive, was my first thought, but no -- it wouldn't cost a dime. The buses are all equipped with forward-facing dash cams *and* interior cameras, and it might be enlightening for management to see how not-very-often Vivian is actually watching someone drive the bus.

      Ah well, I'm letting it go, slowly.

  2. Huh. That did not turn out like I expected.

    1. Nor as I expected.

      Even when Vivian was getting on my nerves, I thought that was all it was, just another damned human getting on my nerves.

  3. This is so sad Doug. You wanted to be the bus driver, and that weird woman took it away, but why?

    1. Why is the question, yeah. I think it mostly comes down to me not doing what she said, in traffic. It occurs to me now, all the other students did what they were told, when given very late, too late directions to turn at the intersection. I was the only one who ever said no, and that's what done me in.

    2. All drivers must be yes-people? That seems so dumb.

      I wouldve thought it was a test, the teacher telling drivers to do something that's unsafe, and the way you PASS it is by saying no. Saying no got you failed instead.

    3. If anyone asks, I'll always say that I passed. Because, I passed.

  4. I come here for the movie tips mostly but the bus stories have been fun too, and /I know you wanted it. Why did she have it in for you? Anyway, I am sorry for your loss... and I hope you're watching more movies to write about.

    1. Only Vivian knows the answer to that, but my best guess is in my reply to Amy, above. And yeah, I'm watching more movies again, so there will soon be more movie reviews.

      Can't pay the rent with movie reviews, though.

  5. Man, fuck Vivian!

    Sorry, just got to the end of the bus-driving stories. That sucks that it worked out that way. You seemed to really enjoy driving a bus, and seemed to be doing it well, until she broke your spirit. No one can blame you for not giving her the satisfaction of officially failing you.

    I've obviously got a lot more reading to do, so I'm not sure if you ever bring it up again, but did you ever find out if Mitch passed? Just wanted to know if I should avoid the Seattle area or not! 😆

    Happy new year, Doug!

    1. Every time I see one of those buses for disabled passengers on the street — there are lots of those buses — I look to see if Mitch is driving, but no, I never called what's-his-name and asked whether they hired Mitch.

      The job probably wouldn't have lasted long anyway, for me. I liked driving the bus, but I *hate* driving my car, and it's broken down often, and the bus barn (believe it or not) is not really accessible by bus, so I would've had to drive every day.

      Plus I've dealt with enough bullshit at enough jobs, I don't want to work for a place that puts someone like Vivian in a position of authority.

      I do miss the paychecks though. And I'm still unemployed. Ha! Guess I showed them!


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